The Ashes, the historic name with a strong legacy, ironically got its nomenclature from a satirical obituary published by The Sporting Times, an English newspaper on August 29, 1882, after the Australian cricket team won on the English soil. The now infamous obituary read, “RIP. NB. The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”
It was the first time the word Ashes had been mentioned in connection with this cricketing rivalry. Captain Ivo Bligh rolled his sleeves in vengeance to bring back the ‘Ashes of English cricket’ and slashed the media by emerging as the winner of the series, restoring the lost pride during England’s tour to Australia in 1882-83.
The Ashes Urn
The 11cm terracotta trophy, which had the fortune to witness unmatched action of cricket from the stalwarts of the pitch, today, stands tall on the shelves at the MCC Museum at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. This miniature trophy, which holds enormous significance, was rumoured to resemble a ‘perfume bottle’, holding the ashes of the burnt cricket bail from the 1882 game.
However, due to the unavailability of the real Urn, a crystal replica of the same called ‘The MCC Waterford Crystal Trophy’ is given to the winning team which is then transported to the host country before the start of each Ashes series.
After being trounced 4-nil in the last Ashes series in Australia, England has a lot to prove as it sets out to avenge that defeat and fight hard to get the urn back.