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Fewer players initials earned England the Ashes?

Last updated on: August 28, 2009 18:46 IST

A theory about players' initials is the latest among many coincidences that are being related to England's dramatic Ashes win over Australia.

According to a report in leading British daily The Guardian, there is a pattern based on player's initials which decides who wins the Ashes.

"When an English XI takes the field with fewer initials than its Australian opponents it generally wins, while if it has more it is, by and large, on the end of a sound thrashing," the report says.

"Take the controversial 1932-33 series for example. DR Jardine's team, featuring no fewer than five sturdy northerners with just one initial each plus the Nawab of Pataudi who had dispensed with them altogether and, shaking off the inclusion of LEG Ames (the E stood for Ethelbert), easily defeated WM Woodfull's men.

"Some will put that down to bodyline bowling but I believe the fact England had just 18 initials while Australia frequently started with 24 tells its own story," it added.

Citing another instance when the theory came true, the report said, England tasted defeat in 1958-59 series against the Australia despite fielding their best ever team, thanks to the number of initials of players on both sides.

"By contrast, in 1958-59 England sailed southwards with a side many considered to be the finest ever to leave these shores. Unfortunately, PBH May's starting line-up boasted 24 initials while an Australian team marshalled by the splendidly minimalist R Benaud had 23.

"The Aussies won easily. Some will say that was all down to fast bowler I Meckiff's controversial action. I say it had more to do with the fact that Mr and Mrs Meckiff couldn't be bothered to give their son more than one forename," the report said.

"1970-71: R Illingworth, G Boycott, K Shuttleworth and co 21 initials, Australia 22. Result -- England win. 1974-75: KWR Fletcher, APE Knott, RGD Willis etc 23 initials, Aussies 22. Result -- England hammered," it added.

But since exception proves the rule, the report also presents an anomaly under Steve Waugh's leadership.

"Naturally there have been exceptions. Under SR Waugh Australia often had more initials than England yet still won. There is, however, a simple explanation for that -- their players were far, far better than ours," it said.

"And this time around? Well A Flintoff and G Onions have clearly played their part in our victory but the biggest factor must surely have been the injury to B Lee. It wasn't Brett's fast bowling Ponting's side missed so much as the fact he was the only Australian who could balance the appellative extravagance of MEK Hussey," it concluded.

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