tour of England by Australia
won this series as decisively as they had won in 1977, and again much of
praise went to the recalled captain, Mike Brearley, to whom the selectors
turned when England were one down and in trouble against the Australian fast
bowling.Brearley did little for England's
brittle batting but was capable of bringing out the best of Ian Botham, and
this one player was the principal difference between the two sides.
It became known as Botham's Ashes, from the
third Test onwards anyway once he was relieved of the burden of captaincy. He
took most wickets and scored more runs for England but it was the fashion in
which he did so that so excited the public imagination. His brilliant
centuries, one of which retrieved a lost Test at Headingley and one which
ensured victory at Old Trafford, were great innings to be compared with any
in Test history.
Australia Alderman, with stamina and accuracy, captured a record 42 wickets
in his debut series and combined with Dennis Lillee who took 39 wickets himself,
but the attack needed the support of Hogg and Lawson who were injured.Allan Border with the bat was Australia's only
other major player, returning more than twice the average of any other
player, and they sorely missed Greg Chappell who rested himself for this
Phil Ridings (South
Australia - chairman),
Alan Davidson (New
South Wales), Ray
Lindwall (Queensland),Sam Loxton (Victoria).
In January 1981 the
Australian Cricket Board decided to take sixteen rather than the traditional
seventeen players, owing to all the one-day matches programmed.When Doug Walters was omitted and his
supporters started some fund-raising to pay for a 17th player, the Board said
it was not a question of money but that an extra player would hardly get any
The names of the captain,
vice-captain, manager and coach were all announced on 13 March, earlier than
Unavailable :Bruce Laird (achilles tendon operation);
On 4 February the Sydney
Morning Herald reported that Greg Chappell would not tour for personal
and business reasons, though this was not confirmed until after the tour
party was announced.
Tour Party Announced :Wednesday 11
Not selected :Jeff Thomson
("I always thought the selectors were idiots; now I know it") ;
Time between selection and departure from Australia
(11 March - 28 April)
Graeme Beard had left Sydney with his wife for a holiday in Europe
before joining Lancashire League club Bacup as their professional, leading to
speculation that he had not heard about his selection and could not be found.
The team flew out of Sydney on 28 April 1981, landing at Colombo for a short tour on the night of
Wednesday 29 April 1981
During the ten-day Sri Lankan
tour, Lillee (sinus operation) and Marsh who was unfit flew on to London, arriving on
Sunday 10 May.The remainder left Katunayeke Airport
(after a 3-hour delay), via Singapore,
and next day arrived in London.
Time spent in England
(11 May -4 September)
Kim Hughes (captain),Rodney Marsh (vice-captain),Peter
Rackemann(Q), playing for Surrey second
XI, played in a one-day match when Hogg was unfit.Jeff Thomson, playing for Middlesex, was
sounded out when Lillee was unfit with bronchial congestion.
Whitney playing for Fleetwood in the Lancashire League and
Gloucestershire second XI, reinforced the team when Rodney Hogg (back) and
Geoff Lawson (fractured vertebra) could not play.