AMIDST the euphoria generated by England's victory over Australia at the Oval on Sunday with the retrieving of the Ashes it was rather deflating to read a discussion in The Guardian yesterday about which honours should go to which players -- on the recommendation of the Queen, of course. For the
2005 Test Match series, which also ended nail-bitingly with victory and the Ashes at the Oval, six players who are still in the side -- Bell, Collingwood, Flintoff, Harminson, Peterson and Strauss -- received the MBE and the captain Vaughan got an OBE. Whether the 2005 precedent was wise must be open to doubt; it will be difficult to decide what, if anything, should be done for those who are still without a gong. A knighthood for Flintoff would not be out of place -- he has done English cricket proud -- but it would be very much better for the future to avoid automatic recognition for everyone in the team. In retrospect the overall response to the 2005 victory was somewhat over the top, perhaps understandably. But a single series win does not seem enough to justify a repeat, especially when the up-and-down nature of this one is taken into account. Perhaps when England return from Australia in two years' time with the Ashes still in their possession would be the right moment -- or the Oval in 2013?

Anyway, well done England.


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