Ok, I’m not going to go on and on about the Ashes. Just two things.
1. I got an email from the son of one of my dad’s friends the other day, saying he had heard that I knew how to watch cricket on tv in the US (he lives in DC —he also said he thought he last saw me on April 13th 1985, but that’s quite wrong, it was July 13th 1992, but there you go). YES. You can watch cricket for free on ESPN if you have apple tv, and at espncricinfo on the computer. It is wonderful—all the Ashes, lots of T20s and List A’s, from around the world—last fall, between classes, I could even watch much of the county championship match in which Lancashire narrowly failed to avoid relegation. And everything is archived for a while on ESPN through Apple TV, so you can watch hundreds of hours of cricket in a row if you want. (I had to pay $100 for the whole World Cup, and refrained from paying the $59 they were asking for the IPL only because I care too much about the quality of my teaching to risk getting sucked into the IPL near the end of a busy semester).
2. BUT! Last year ESPN carried women’s international cricket. The camera work was nowhere near as good, so it was sometimes a strain to watch it; but still, often worthwhile. But none of this year’s Ashes has been shown. Why? Am I missing something? Anyway, because of this, I cannot thoroughly evaluate Andy Zaltzman’s assessment that the single Test match was well worth watching. I can, though, say that Zaltzman, whom I find to be merely somewhat amusing comic, always manages to be thoroughly interesting and compelling when writing about cricket, and that whatever those of you lucky enough to have been able to watch that Test thought of it, his argument against getting rid of Tests for women is utterly compelling. (Just to add: I know Ian Healy’s comments about the wives and girlfriends was, maybe, unfortunate, but in mitigation he robustly defended continuing Tests for women in the recent TMS podcast). Anyway, why no women’s cricket on ESPN any more? How much can it cost?