My Australian squad for 2013 Ashes Tour
With a horror tour of India finally over and done with and the Sheffield Shield season wrapping up, the focus of Australian cricket can now shift 100 percent to the upcoming Ashes series in England.
There is no doubting that the selectors will have their work cut out for them, but it is not all doom and gloom.
Here is my touring squad for the series in England and my reasoning behind each selection:
M. Clarke (c)
S. Watson (vc)
Even with his dodgy back and hamstrings, the skipper Michael Clarke will be the first on the plane and will be leading his team through a highly anticipated series.
His form since taking over as captain has been outstanding and he will be looking to further those fantastic numbers.
The man at the centre of many debacles, Shane Watson deserves a shot at Ashes glory.
If fit, his credentials and skills are second to none and along with Dave Warner he is a matchwinner with the bat.
Depending on his ever unreliable body, if the vice captain is able to bowl even just a few overs here and there, that would add a lot to our attack.
Dave Warner will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders at the top of the order, with his x-factor with the bat and in the field.
After a tour of India that showed glimpses of his heart and determination, there is no doubting that he is poised for a big series.
Along with his opening partner Dave Warner, Ed Cowan will have a huge role to play in the Ashes series with opening partnerships being crucial in putting scores on the board.
As one of the hardest working men in Australian cricket, Cowan has showed that he has that ability to do the hard work and grind out an innings.
Phillip Hughes is that name that always seems to stay with the current Australian cricket team.
Having had a couple of goes at Test cricket, these back to back Ashes series could be career-defining for the young man who currently resides in Adelaide.
As my back up batsman I have selcted Usman Khawaja. Like Hughes this guy has infinite talent and just needs a serious crack at Test cricket to make a name for himself.
After a great domestic season, this guy deserves to be on that plane to England.
The first choice wicketkeeper for my touring squad is of course Matthew Wade. This guy has not done too much wrong since being handed the reigns as first-choice wicketkeeper in all three forms of the game.
With England keeper Matt Prior in good form, Wade will need to make sure that he contributes with the bat and puts in a solid performance behind the stumps.
Every touring squad in my opinion should have a back-up wicketkeeper.
Tim Paine who was once touted as a future captain of the Test team is my selection.
He is arguably the best pure gloveman in the country and is starting to re-find his form with the bat.
One of the few highlights from the tour of India was the form of all-rounder Moises Henriques.
Although his numbers in the end may not show it, the fight that he showed is something that the Australian team needs at the moment.
His enthusiasm around the group would come in handy as the lengthy tour drags on.
Out of the limited-overs matches during the Australian summer we learnt one thing, when James Faulkner is playing for Australia he will always repay the faith and make it work with the bat and ball.
His passion would be a huge boost and if he was to be given the chance, there is no doubt he would not let his country down.
Mitchell Starc will be on that plane to England. This guy is the future of our pace attack and could be a huge factor in English conditions.
With his incredible height and ability to swing the ball back into right handers, it would be fair to say that he will be making a few of the English batsman a bit nervous.
Along with Starc, James Pattinson will be a part of our pace attack coome the first Test. With his ability to swing the ball and get the ball to hit the seam this guy could prove a dream partnership with starc as new ball bowlers.
The experience in the attack comes from this man, Peter Siddle. The lion-hearted Victorian has shown that he is willing to give his all for his team mates and his country and deserves to be picked in the team for the first test.
My back up bowler is Ryan Harris. One of the unluckiest men when it comes to injuries, Harris has shown he is more than capable to dominate on the International scene.
His performance in the last games of the Shield season shows that he is ready to dust off the baggy green and make his Test comeback.
My spinner is of course Nathan Lyon. The man has shown he is willing to do the hard work.
His statistics are as good as any off spinner that has played for Australia to date. So until there is another spinner in Australia capable of playing Test cricket, Lyon deserves to be our number one.
With my squad chosen, this would be my line up for the first Test: