With 2010 only just dawning, you'd have thought that sports events over the next month or two would be capturing the imagination of many. However, on both sides of the globe it appears that the November 2010 Ashes are already taking up column space - but why?
Revenge is Due!
In Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd mentioned the Ashes in his New Year's Eve message to the nation. Whilst focusing on the major political issues of the day, such as climate change and the economy, he couldn't resist a mention of the Ashes.
Following Australia's 2009 loss of the Ashes to the English team, Rudd stated that, "our opportunity for revenge against the old enemy starts at the end of next year, and with a vengeance."
Ozzies Take Stock
Mr Rudd is not alone in his musings, Ozzie sports pundits are also contemplating this year's Ashes, which are taking place on Australian soil this year.
Local concerns include the loss of big players such as Warne, McGrath, Gayden and Langer although confidence still rides high. Ozzie captain, Ricky Ponting, is quoted as saying that every training and playing session this year is being carried out with the underlying aim of winning back the Ashes.
UK Pride and Aspiration
On the other side of the globe, the UK press is looking forward to England arriving at the 2010 tournament as holders. There is an air of confidence in the press, especially as the English Team has just scored a victory at the Second Test in South Africa.
Seeing as it is the start of a new decade, sporting pundits have looked back on the noughties and highlighted England's 2005 Ashes win one of the pinnacle moments of English sporting achievement over the past decade.
The 2005 Ashes are remembered for their thrill-a-minute, hard fought nature and because they represented not just the gaining of the Ashes but the closure of a losing cycle and the resurgence of hope.
So here we are at the start of 2010. A new decade. New teams. An old battle. But the Ashes continues to hold unrivalled importance to players, punters and fans alike. Roll on 25 November!