Ashes squad: it’s not pretty!
Australian keeper Brad Haddin walks back to the dressing rooms after getting out against England on day one of the fourth Ashes Test against England at the MCG in Melbourne, Sunday, Dec.26, 2010. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)
Ashes squads in the past have often been labelled as the worst ever by the English press, but this year the selectors have gone closer than ever to making the boys from Fleet Street experience something they haven’t experienced before – being 100% correct!
Michael Clarke (c) – Clearly Australia’s best batsman, and possibly our second best spinner! Depending on the team’s early results, he could bat at three, four, five, or even six!
As long as he manages a double century in each Test, we should be ok. The one area he needs to improve is his performance as a tour selector.
Brad Haddin (vc) – Replacing Matthew Wade as our first choice keeper, the spritely 35-year-old has been brought in to provide some experience and leadership to a young team.
After being dropped a couple of years ago for not making any runs and getting out to more rash shots than Dave Warner, he is now seen as the rock our middle order can rely on.
Dave Warner – Potential match winner who can be relied on to score up to one big innings every series. Looks a world beater at times, but needs to avoid getting out in the first over trying to hit over cover when the ball is moving all over the place.
Needs to focus on getting through the first three to four overs before unleashing his natural strokeplay. Inclusion of Brad Haddin will hopefully help temperament at the crease.
Ed Cowan – Crowds will love the odd-man-out in the current Australian line-up, particularly his strange addiction to putting value on his wicket.
Apparently he provides a calming influence on his opening partner Dave Warner, and given how successful this has been Ed should be a permanent fixture.
Phil Hughes – As long as the Poms don’t tempt him to slash outside off stump early on or bowl spin to him, he should dominate.
However, if recent tours are any guide, Hughes will be dropped at least once during the five Test series, possibly to return when it is realised there aren’t any better options.
Shane Watson – A true all-rounder, in that over the last couple of years he has shown conclusively that he can no longer bat, bowl or finish his homework.
No longer encumbered with the huge weight that was the vice captaincy, he should have a new zest for the game and only burst into tears twice during the tour. Also, look for him to casually suggest to the media that he’s a bit better than Ed Cowan at least once.
Usman Khawaja – Another of the four players given detention for not finishing their homework. After his sparkling debut several years ago when he made what has been universally described as the best 37 in Test history, Usman has struggled to cement his spot in the team.
Apparently he has been dining out on that 37 ever since, and has been told that this Test team will accept nothing less than half centuries to guarantee his place.
Chris Rogers – Has averaged about 50 in First Class cricket for about 10 years, and now at the age of 35 the selectors have decided that he is now ready to step up for his second go at Test level.
His solid technique will stand him in good stead for the tour matches leading up to the Tests.
Matthew Wade – Second keeper has been dumped two months out from the first Test, although could potentially win his spot back as a batsman due to the fact the squad seems to have five openers and only a couple of middle order players.
May also be picked simply to irritate the opposition with constant inane chatter between deliveries.
James Faulkner – Great to see the ‘left arm bowler who can bat a bit’ selected in front of the other ‘left arm bowler who can bat a bit’ – Mitchell Johnson.
Most Aussies won’t know much about Faulkner other than some of his ODI performances, but they’ll know he’s not Mitchell Johnson. And they’ll be happy about it.
Ryan Harris – Potentially Australia’s best bowler, assuming his back, hamstring, groin, calf, shoulder, quad or left earlobe doesn’t let him down.
What’s that? He’s done his achilles? Of course he has.
Peter Siddle – The ‘heart and soul’ of the Aussie team, willing to bowl for hours and hours and hours without any reward, in any conditions.
After the Indian tour, may well also move up the order to five or six given his adherence to the same strategy followed by Ed Cowan in that he tries to stay in longer than it takes for the next bloke to pad up.
James Pattinson – Our great fast bowling hope, he should be a handful for the English batsmen if remembers to complete his written assignments.
He’s another bowler who as an ambitious aim of playing three Tests in a row. Unless of course his wellness survey says otherwise.
Mitchell Starc – The tall left-armer burst onto the Test scene last year, and at his best looks a dangerous prospect for the English to handle.
However, at his worst, which has often been seen in the same game as his best, he may well be a danger to the keeper and slips cordon, and possibly third man and fine leg.
Another bowler who is looking to become a middle order batsman, and not without justification.
Nathan Lyon – Our only specialist spinner, although given his recent treatment by Indian batsmen and Australian selectors, you wouldn’t know.
He may have respectable numbers when compared with many spinners from the past at the same stage of their careers, the fact that he spins the ball the wrong way, isn’t blonde or overweight and hasn’t ever taken any of his mum’s diuretics means he will struggle to hold his place.
Jackson Bird – Promising young bowler in the Glenn McGrath mould, whereby his main aim seems to be to bore the batsmen to death.
Seems to work well for him, and he has the added advantage of not being dropped for the ‘X-factor’ of Mitchell Johnson.
In summary, if Michael Clarke or the bowlers don’t make any runs, or it’s not the one time in 10 Tests that Dave Warner goes berserk, we’re in a lot of trouble.