At approximately 4.10pm on a glorious August Bank Holiday Sunday, the country stopped for a second. Headingley certainly fell silent. The Ashes had been lost. Nathan Lyon was about to run England tailender Jack Leach out and send the Australians back home with the Ashes in tow.
On Test Match Special, Sir Alastair Cook was head in hands shouting “no” as if he was still at the crease himself. But then wait, Nathan Lyon fumbled, the ball didn’t hit the stumps. A ball later it should have been over and just a few minutes later chaos ensued. England’s Ashes hopes were alive. They had won the game and in turn re-captured the interests of man, woman and child, only six weeks after Ben Stokes had done exactly the same in the World Cup Final.
Moments later, Ashes Fever hit peak pandemic, and while fans were going crazy, so was Google.
At that moment, searches for “Ashes tickets” went through the roof, hitting its highest point across the series according to Google Trends, while Ben Stokes even managed to exceed the number of searches he received following his heroics in the World Cup Final and that infamous Super Over.
It’s certainly been a huge summer for the all-rounder, who has battled hard to re-establish his reputation following that night in Bristol back in 2017, and it’s paid off as searches for “Ben Stokes knighthood” peaked throughout Sunday evening as celebrations continued.
He wasn’t the only man to enjoy his name Googled more than ever before, as Jack Leach and his stunning one not out also saw huge peaks over the period, while “Jack Leach glasses” has continued to prove popular, with a number of brands jumping on the trending topic.
Leach captured the heart of the nation when casually pulling his glasses cloth from his pocket and demisting his spectacles during perhaps the most tense moment in test match cricket history. He later said, “It’s probably because I look like a village cricketer in these glasses,” and that’s true. But it’s also what threw fans right in there alongside him – they could relate.
Searches for “Jack Leach glasses” have been prolonged in the days following his heroics, for the main reason that Specsavers did a fantastic bit of newsjacking and offered the left-arm spinner free glasses for life. As it stands, the search for “Jack Leach” returns two results regarding the brand’s offer, amongst the likes of Wikipedia, ESPNcricinfo and articles covering that innings alongside Stokes.
Can Cricket Rise from the Ashes?
Of course, that’s great for Stokes and Leach’s profiles, not to mention Specsavers, but what does it mean for the sport in Britain as a whole? This summer is the beginning of a big push for the ECB with the World Cup, Ashes and The Hundred tournament to follow next year.
And it’s paying off. Searches for “cricket” are almost three times as popular this summer compared to last (comparison between May 30 – August 28), with searches for “cricket sets” having doubled during the same period.
This peaked dramatically following England’s victory in the World Cup, while this weekend also saw a boost, although a less significant one, perhaps down to the fact that the World Cup Final was on free-to-air television.
Perhaps more significant, is that comparing the Third Test at Headingley to the Fourth Test against India last summer, in which England also won, sees two and a half times as many searches in 2019.
Which of course is a positive sign for the game as a whole. Searches for “play cricket” and “how to play cricket” are also up, with July 14 again standing out like a Stokes reverse slog sweep for six.
England will go into the next test at Old Trafford full of confidence thanks to their win up at Headingley and it’s clear to see that the British public are back in love with the game.
All England have to do now is bring The Ashes home to give the ECB the perfect start to a new dawn for English cricket as The Hundred and free-to-air coverage continues to loom closer.
Ashes fever is here, we’re all searching for it and we don’t want to find the cure…
Featured image photo credited to ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty Images👇 Like what you read? Share what we said! 👇