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  • Topic: The Ashes, Bodyline, Australia
  • Pages : 5 (2010 words )
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  • Published : August 31, 2010
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In the time of the 1932-33 Ashes Tour, bodyline tactics were found responsible for the strain on imperial relations between Australia and England. Heavy social and political influences promoted the significance of the Ashes series and caused great reactions by players, management, spectators and primarily the media.

The pressured relations between Australia and the Empire during the Ashes series made the game of cricket reach wider margins than what took place on the cricket field. It impacted on elements of society and even extended to political spheres. Cricket had just reached a high point as a form of colonial consolidation as the English believed it to be a bonding agent to draw its dominions closer to the Empire. As Lord Hawke stated in his introduction to imperial cricket, “The greatest game in the world is played where ever the Union Jack is unfurled, and it has no small place in cementing the ties that bond together every part of the Empire…” This quote elucidates the importance of cricket, at such an early stage in time. It also implies that cricket wasn’t just a game; it was the key to successful relations between England and all of its dominions. Cricket in fact was used as a metaphor for life. Many saw the game as an association of ideas and a tutor of self control and physical training. Moreover, the English believed it to be a test of colonial progress and the reinforcement of imperial standard.

The implementation of the bodyline tactic was the central cause to the pushed relations between Australian and English players, and between Jardine and English Amateurs. The reality of England being dominated by Australia in a game that was a national pastime was absurd to Jardine, thus he came up with the bodyline tactic to deliberately injure and intimidate the Australian batsmen- particularly Don Bradman. Jardine completely disregarded England’s concept of strengthening bonds of the Empire as his greatest ambition was to regain the Ashes in 1932, at all costs. Bodyline, what Jardine referred to as leg theory, was perfected by Larwood and Voce who would bowl fast, high and in line with the Australian batsmen bodies. The Australian batsmen would either duck, allow the ball to strike them or attempt to play a hook shot. But often they would be caught off a nick or seriously injured. Bodyline was clearly ‘an attempt to dismiss rather than restrict.’ “There are two teams out there. One is playing cricket, the other is making no attempt to do so.”- Bill Woodfull. This infamous quote clearly outlines the diminishing relations and somewhat rising hatred between Aussie skipper, Woodfull and the English eleven, particularly Jardine and Larwood. The Australian cricket team claimed that the English played within the law but outside the spirit of the game. Relations between Jardine and his fellow amateurs were also deteriorating, specifically with Gubby Allen who disagreed with bodyline and refused to bowl it for Jardine, causing inside disputes between them.

The impact of the Great Depression also strained trade and diplomatic relations between England and Australia prior to the Ashes Tour. In 1930, Australia asked the British Government to allow them to defer an interest payment of 2.77 million pounds. The Brits were concerned about the state of the Australian economy so they sent Sir Otto Niemeyer to assess the situation and give Australia the necessary advice for its financial problems. Niemeyer was a symbol of ‘London financial imperialism’. He advocated an end to Australian protectionism. The Australian market began to decrease its imports from Britain as local products were more appealing. This enactment created the anger of traditional British exporters and strained trading relations between Australia and the mother country. The Niemeyer visit clearly provoked a political storm around Australia as many had opposing views and solutions to Australia’s financial issues. The British Government began converting...
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