Since 1882, the Ashes have been one of the biggest rivalries in world cricket. The term Ashes was first used after England lost to Australia – for the first time on home soil – at The Oval on 29th August 1882. A day later, the Sporting Times carried a mock obituary of English cricket which concluded that: “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.
The term Ashes quickly caught on and the next time the two teams met in Australia, in 1884/85, the English players presented their Australian counterparts with urn containing some ashes. The urn is thought to be from a pottery factory in Melbourne and is inscribed with the words ‘From the Ashes of English Cricket, The Australian Team’.
The urn has been at the centre of a number of controversies over the years. In 1986, it was stolen from the Lord’s Museum but was later recovered. And in 2005, it went missing again but was found in a toilet at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Despite these controversies, the Ashes urn remains one of the most iconic symbols in world cricket and is viewed as a symbol of the rivalry between England and Australia.
So there you have it – the story behind cricket’s most prestigious prize, the Ashes! I hope you enjoyed learning about it. As for who will take home the trophy this year, only time will tell…but one thing’s for sure – it’s going to be one heck of a urnful!