All of the current Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals are just the lead up to the greatest cricket series in the world, the Ashes.
Right now England look the favourites with their settled line-up and world-class captain, Alastair Cook. To have any chance of winning Australia will have to not let Cook get truly away.
The first thing we need to get right is a settled squad that will be able to perform in England. I believe we need six pace bowlers, two spin bowlers, two wicketkeepers and seven batsmen in a 17-man squad.
First come the openers. There are three main contenders for these two spots (assuming Phil Hughes stays at 3), those being: Shane Watson, Ed Cowan and David Warner.
I believe that Warner is a must; he has refined his technique to suit the five-day game and he is now much more consistent and one of our finest batsmen. This leaves the other spot for one of Watson or Cowan.
When Cowan first came on to the scene he was touted as a great partner for the explosive Warner, having an extremely defensive game himself. He is an old-fashioned opener taking the shine off the new ball.
To me he has only looked the real deal when trying to attack the bad balls as well as defending. He was notably attacking when he scored his only Test century against South Africa.
I believe that Warner should be partnered with Watson. Watson is an experienced player and has played much better when in his favoured opening spot. His average is better than Cowan’s at Test and first-class level. Yes, he gets injured, but he has stopped bowling now and that will help.
Now for the three and four spots which are between Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, and Michael Clarke. I believe that Clarke should be at five so more about him later.
Hughes is my number three. He has refined his technique and is now much more capable on the on side. He has had a great summer and being young is going to be one of our most important batters in the future.
The same goes for Khawaja; he can really knuckle down and work for runs as he showed against Tasmania earlier this summer. He is one of our most impressive young batters and has worked on his fielding and running between wickets.
The contenders for numbers five and six are Clarke, David Hussey, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell.
Clarke is the definite number five because he is Michael Clarke.
Maxwell is probably our best all rounder at the moment (Shane Watson has stooped bowling), but all rounders are a luxury and the question needs to be asked, are you one of the best six batsmen or best four bowlers in the country? For Maxwell the answer is no, so he is out.
David Hussey is one of the most unlucky cricketers in Australia. He should have been put in when the legends retired, in my opinion. He is now in the twilight of his career and averaging 17 this season, so probably doesn’t deserve to be picked.
That means that the number six spot goes to Bailey. He is Australia’s Twenty20 captain (although he doesn’t deserve to be) and is a regular face in the Australian limited overs camp. He is our most impressive middle order batsmen at the moment and deserves to be a Test player.
The wicket keeping spot goes to Matt Wade. His keeping has been criticised but Haddin’s isn’t much better. He is also an outstanding batsmen and probably deserves to be there on that alone.
My three pace bowlers are Pattinson, Siddle and Bird.
Siddle is the leader of the attack and is the second name on the team-sheet. He has been consistently successful and is a menacing bowler.
Pattinson swings the ball late at an outstanding pace and is scary to face. He will only improve and will be one of the best bowlers in the world when he is older. He just has to get over his injury worries.
Bird has only played two Tests but was great in both. He is not as fat as the others but continuously puts the ball in the right spot and troubles the batsmen.
The spin spot has to go to Nathan Lyon. Being South Australian he is one of my favourite players. Everyone looks for him to rip through teams like Warne but no one will ever be as good as Warne was.
Lyon has a very good record and I don’t see what the fuss about him is. He will have a good Indian series.
This leaves me with this squad:
Doolan/Burns (depending on form)
Do you fellow Roarers agree?