TUFFERS ON ADELAIDE, THE ASHES AND THE BARMY ARMY
Phil Tufnell has tasted some success in Australia – but not much on the cricket field! He won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2003 but was on the losing England side in the Ashes of 1990/91 and 1994/95 – although he did not lose either of the Tests at the Adelaide Oval.
Speaking on a crowded concourse at Waterloo Station in winter, launching the announcement of the 2017/18 Ashes Series including its day-night Test, he had to use his imagination to recall what Australia was like in their summer. “Adelaide is a fantastic city,” he said. “A great place to play cricket, and we drew one and won one of my two Tests there, although we lost both series.
“I remember Mark Waugh getting 138 on his debut there [in the fourth Test in 1990/91]. That was also the match that saw David Gower flick to fine-leg just before lunch. Craig McDermott was bowling. We were in a reasonable position (160 for 3 after Australia had scored 386). They moved Merv Hughes onto the short square-leg boundary and David hit a half-volley right down his neck. To say the air went blue would be an understatement. I don’t think David sat near Graham Gooch [the captain] at lunch. There would have been a bit of breathing space.”
A Gooch century helped England draw, but his side lost the series 3-0.
England lost three Tests again four years later, but at least managed one win, at Adelaide. “We had a great party with the Barmy Army after we won, out in the town in Adelaide,” says Tufnell. “I caught Michael Slater off Devon Malcolm. The Barmy Army were just about getting established then, and all the boys came running down that beautiful hill under the scoreboard. Great scene, great memories. They have spent a lot of money on the Adelaide Oval. It’s a fabulous backdrop. I’m really looking forward to the pink-ball Test. I think it’s fabulous for Test cricket.” How does he think the next Ashes will go? “England had a rough time in India. We have some great young cricketers – Ben Stokes, Joe Root. We have also found a couple of opening batsmen in Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings. I think it’s going to be tight and I cannot wait.
"The Ashes is a huge draw – it always will be. The Ashes will still be here in 50 years’ time – of course it will! 5,000 years’ time – it’s the best series to play in. All the history – it will go on until the end of time!
"Australia is a fantastic country. When you turn up there is a buzz. The crowds are very knowledgeable. They all love cricket, and you feel you are part of something special.
"Adelaide is a very laidback city with a great buzz. The coast is 20 minutes away, with fantastic beaches like Kangaroo Island. You have the wineries on your doorsteps, and the hills – and a great café culture, and bars. It has everything close to where you are. Make sure you enjoy the cricket, but when it’s not on, get out and about."