Ian Hart: A fine line between arrogance and confidence

Can England pull off a surprise win in the third Ashes Test?
Can England pull off a surprise win in the third Ashes Test?

Right across sport there is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance.

A case in point was the almost embarrassing scenes at the Amex back in April where many, including some who should know better, just thought the Albion had to turn up against Bristol City, claim the three points and win the Football League Championship in the process.

We all recall what happened and ultimately for me that was the day the Albion lost the league, rather than at Aston Villa.

My first week in Australia has been a very enjoyable experience – for those who ever get the chance to come, you need to – however the intensity of the battle for the Ashes has thrown up a national arrogance via the media that I’m not sure we’d see back in England.

Yes, Australia have won the first two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide respectively and if they win the third leg of the five-Test series in Perth then they will regain the Ashes.

But they have to win in Perth. Granted, history favours them, but history is exactly that. Sooner or later, England’s barren run at the WACA will come to an end.

But don’t tell that to the Aussie media. Channel 9, which covers cricket (free to air) has been running trailers all week telling me the result of a five-day, high-level sporting contest before it’s even started. Apparently the Ashes are coming home!

Has someone already primed England to roll over at the last-ever Test match at the legendary WACA?

Clearly not, obviously things haven’t entirely gone England’s way both on and off the field, and as previously stated in these jottings, having one of the top-five cricketers in the world absent from the series doesn’t really help.

But what the Australian media conveniently forget – even though it wasn’t that long ago they were banging on about it –is that this is not the strongest Australian team by any stretch of the imagination, and England still have a number of match-winners within their ranks.

Ever the optimist and really wanting to see world-class back-pedalling/humble pie-eating from the likes of Channel 9, I’m willing for England to make the greatest comeback since Lazarus and break the Perth hoodoo with a stunning performance.

Returning to the Albion, I stayed up on Saturday night to watch the Huddersfield game. Sadly, neither the result or performance we all wanted.

On the eve of the WACA Test I’m going to watch Spurs versus Albion at Wembley at 4am in a bar (it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it). Like England, almost everybody is already writing off Brighton’s chances.

When you read this column the game will have taken place. I’m actually shying away, for once, from my usual prediction, instead stating whatever the result, and lest we forget we have won at Spurs before, Michael Robinson’s lone strike in October, 1981, the Albion performance will give us room for optimism and hope.

The bottom half of the Premier League is drastically closing up, so every point between now and the opening of the transfer window will be vital in the quest for survival.