Nick Barlow asks (and answers) a fascinating question:
A thought struck me as I was looking at the Cricinfo archive yesterday – what if the Ashes hadn’t stayed as purely England vs Australia series, but – when other countries started playing Test cricket – had been seen as an accolade everyone could play for?
He then proceeds to track this “alternate” Ashes from 1891 to 2011, when India retain the Ashes by drawing the series against South Africa.
Not a bad idea for a a Test Championship– you could always have a reigning heavyweight champion of Test cricket, with contenders clamoring to knock them down.
Of course, in Barlow’s “alternate” Ashes, Zimbabwe held the Ashes from 1998/99 to 99/00 by beating India at home.