The 2013 Ashes best and fairest award: “The Dar”

The gut-churning drama of Trent Bridge proved again that the Ashes concept rolls on unabated as the perpetual pressure-cooker of sporting rivalries. It is the contest that truly has it all.

However, for all of the grand old girl’s commonplace controversy, tension and hysteria, there is one thing lacking other than decent umpiring, and that’s a time-honoured footy-style best and fairest award for the most consistent individual of the series.

Test cricket still lives in the bad old days of disrespecting overkill for these types of things.

The contemporary Demetriou touch for ceremony has not been embraced, and exhausted players who have thoroughly streaked their opponents deserve better.

They want to be ranked by a ballot system. They also want a boozy ceremony with WAGS too, if it can be arranged.

How have those crusty highfalutin sods who sit high up in the Lords offices, sipping Earl Grey and cogitating over Tweed, managed to overlook this for so long? How can they tie their Windsor knots knowing the cream of cricket’s oldest contest isn’t being officially recognised in polling form? How have they let the opportunity slip to generate extra interest amongst the public as well as create another betting market for shady bookmakers?

It’s always had me perplexed, and especially moreso after the events of the first Test.

If there was ever a time that cricket showed robust parallels to contact sports, then it was in all of the rip-snorting glory of the events at Trent Bridge.

Two sets of blokes steadfastly locked in a bruising and exhilarating fracas gorged with gruelling tests of character, and without a shoulder charge in sight.

Recognising this opportunity to fill a gap in the Ashes canvas, plus the possibility of landing a bulging commercial deal, I’ve taken the initiative by striking an eye-catching winner’s medal to be presented at series end to the highest vote-getter.

The award shall simply be known as “The Dar” in honour of the notorious head-shaking Aleem.

With his ability to influence a game, yet struggling to operate at his best and fairest, the name chose itself based on suitability and irony.

Watch now as players consider resorting to cheating to lock up this piece of coveted hardware.

The voting system will be on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis and determined by a select one-man expert panel consisting of a specially convened DRS system. Scientists and robot enthusiasts ensure me that it is emotionally-devoid and bias-free provided it has no financial interest in the match it judges.

Gentleman Jim makes history as the first man to be awarded 5 votes in Dar history.

Gentleman Jim makes history as the first man to be awarded 5 votes in Dar history.

Then at series end, the votes will be tallied and “The Dar” will be presented to the winner in a glossy ceremony hopefully convened via Skype, pending the payment of my internet bill.

Will the highest individual honour in Ashes cricket take off?

The bottom line is, whether or not it does, I’ll still be drinkin’.

Here are the top five best on ground from the first Test.

5 – James Anderson

Kicked a bag of 10 and was a constant menace in and around the centre square. Demonstrated once again that he is peerless when it comes to the knack of check-siding a ball both ways with exquisite accuracy. Darren Lehmann may need to assign the entire top six to tagging roles to choke his impact at Lords.

4 – Ian Bell

The diminutive Pom wrestled control of the contact zone as it reached its greatest temperatures on day three. Blended his steely concentration with some well-timed displays of immaculate biff, and by the end of his stint had directed his team in to strong field position.

3- Peter Siddle

Let his footy background shine through with another ferocious performance on the ball in the first innings. Attacked and dominated the middle corridor of the England lineup and skittled some big names to prevent a blowout first innings total.

2 – Ashton Agar

After bypassing the sub’s vest with a direct upgrade from the rookie list to a baggy green, showed the senior statesmen how to effectively muster the hit-ups with an unforgettable knock high on freedom and style. Thankfully, averted an awkward selection discussion for the next Test by contributing in his chosen role with a couple of poles in the second innings.

1 – Brad Haddin

Put his head over the ball when the game seemed lost and nearly consigned England to North Melbourne status by almost pulling an outlandish win out of the fire. Wins the final point from the rest of the those who went inside 50 and beyond thanks to the high stakes stage of the match in which he performed.


Leave a comment


  1. Anderson’s brokenness on that 5th day was something else. Was it 14 overs in a row? All of a high class quality, and in the end he just had enough. Absurdly good. Bell was magnificent too. I’d have had Agar ahead of Siddle who looked fairly blunt in that England 2nd innings, but can’t argue too much with any of it.

  2. Anonymous

     /  July 17, 2013

    14 overs in a row is ridiculous. He needs to be swabbed!

  1. 2013 Ashes best and fairest: The Dar comes to Lords | Stand, spray and deliver.
  2. The 2013 Ashes best and fairest: Mancunian Dar | Stand, spray and deliver.

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