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That was tricky Tones, the disappearing/re-appearing squad.

The first thing I note is 5 surnames starting with H (not including selectors). I don't know if that is significant.

2ndly, I can't work out the team unless it is in batting order - I readily admit that while I may be slow I'm rough as well.


Hughes (has he been named yet?)
Bats like crab
Wild Dog Running
Clark (what's his name, I forget, I thought the mumbler had retired to a character in Lego Batman)

Who are the other two: North and Manou? And who the hell is Manou?

Where's Fruity?

David Barry

Haha, I know a guy on a cricket forum who wants to see an all-H Australian XI one day. There were eleven H's in the provisional 30-man T20 squad. He is convinced it will happen - two of the selectors are (as pat almost mentions) Hughes and Hilditch.


My preferred (to Pat's) top 7.


My preferred bottom 4.


Ritz is in because it looks like England are going to do a Wankhede and play both Swann and Monty and serve up a minefield.

You could, I suppose, go with Katich, Clarke and North for spin and bring in both Clark and Hilf. If they are coming out alright for Hilf, he could be a key in the English conditions.

Lee is a risk.

Paper Cut is the wild card.


Tony - in agreement with you.

I'd love to find a spot for McDonald, but can't right now if the first test pitch is a spinners' track.

The only thing I'd worry about with the XII you suggest is there's only three pacemen. Then again, if the pitch isn't a spinners' paradise we could easily swap in Watson or McDonald for Ritz.

And plese, no Brett Lee. Johnson Siddle Clark sounds good to me.


Was just updating my comment, Chris, and I find myself in furious agreement with you.


Is Manou in to improve Haddin's keeping?


Not back-up.



Clever modern squad: no back up bats (plenty in England already), but two keepers in case Klutz breaks his finger the morning of a test (again) and the rest bowlers/all-rounders. Does raise the problem of what to do if Hussey is in horrid form (or Kat, or Hughes, or North, five tests is a long time). Either Paper Cut isn't injured, or someone will need to be drafted in if he is to be dropped.

It has also saved them the trouble of picking the bowling lineup. All the bowlers who might have played are there, save Bollinger - who must be ruing going to South Africa to sit on his arse at the pointy end of summer - and Krazy/McGain - who weren't good enough when it counted.

It isn't a bad squad, and as I've said elsewhere, I prefer one of four combinations:
- a default 6 bat and 4 all pace attack.
- a 6 bat and 3 pace with Ritz on low scoring spinning decks
- a 5 bat, all rounder and 4 bowlers (either 4 pace or 3 and Ritz) on flat tracks.

Noone has mentioned the most obvious though: no Roy.


Roy Who?


The headlines are screaming that Roy's career is over. Bullhockey. Paper Cut will do his ACL reaching for the marmalade, and they'll sneak Roy in like a dog under the dinner table.

I've been watching a bit of the Windies series. Blow me down if England haven't won every toss, knocked up 700 on a docile track and then had their trundlers hooping the Duke around like my golf shots (I have a wicked slice). I remain unconvinced that the Poms have enough in the kit bag. We were moaning about the Saffers feasting on the Banglas before facing us, but that didn't end up helping them - maybe the Poms will get full of themselves?

Though it didn't help that Punter said KP was "their one class player". If I was the England coach I'd be sticky-taping that quote on each player's copy of the Financial Times.


It hasn't appeared to me that the Poms are getting ahead of themselves. It's not as if they are so dumb as to get their hopes up after rolling the hopeless Windies.

The WI bowling is dreadful and their batting is worse. Their catching is pretty evil, too.

It's no surprise Ravi Bopara managed to score three tons on the trot. But watching him bat against the WI attack reminds me of a dogged Shield player grinding out runs on day 2 at the SACA. He's not a crab, but he could be the worst ever batsman to score three Test tons in a row.

Have the Windies been relegated to Minnow Status? Sorry. Have the Windies been promoted to Minnow Status yet?


Watched a bit of the Windies massacre as well.

The Windies looked totally disinterested. Probably smarting from not getting access to the full IPL loot. After rain delays they only needed to bat for 4 sessions, or less with more rain, to save the 2nd test. Hey, let's go the tonk?! Ridiculous.

Not sure whether to worry or not that KP didn't have the pads on for more than a sandwich. Bopara and Onions the heroes but hopefully more in the Rampakash and Pringle production line.

Swann looked OK but we are talking Windies batsmen and spin bowling.

We would have to play Ritz at some stage, so his impact will be telling. He must be scratching himself thinking he's going to play in an Ashes series after starting the season in the NSW 2nds team. You can't help thinking he only got selected by NOT bowling in the tests. I feel sorry for McLoss and Krazy for that matter. Cassin can go back to club cricket and his therapist.

The Lords test pitch in the 1st Windies test was interesting. A lot of bounce and movement, so maybe a 4 man pace attack there.

Expecting an AGB Onions punfest. Hold the cheese.


Onions looks deliciously like a new Tufnell. He may be called Onions but he may not have the onions, if you know what I mean.


Simon Jones would run rings round Onions.


Anyway, most importantly, who are going to be the Fox studio bobbleheads for this series? BJ with Afghanistan and Phlegm leading the attack you'd presume, unless they're shepherding the tourist parties. Wheel in Kaspar to show the footage of him not touching that legside balloon in '05 over and over again, with intercuts of poor old Kaspar's haunted visage. Chuck in a bit of Blewy and AB. Anyone from left field this year?


Speaking of Tufnell, he's on BBC radio and is suprisingly good. Agnew is Agnew and they've wheeled in Boycott who at least can keep you entertained with his outlandish comments. Hopefully Blowers gets an Ashes send off. The rest I can't tell one from the other: Marks, Selby, Butcher. I think. I hope they all rip the shit out of Maxwell. Or knowing that points worker, Mitchell will have weasled his way in somehow. It would be interesting to get KOK over there just to see how the Poms handle him. Then again, maybe not.


The Sky coverage would be listenable if it weren't for that terminal bore Allott. Is it mandatory via legislation that each Test-playing nation has to have a Phanto of their very own to scare the kids away? There are only a few things that cause my hand to automatically reach for audio knobs (ooh nurse). One of them is that ad on SEN that blares WE WILL BUY YOUR CAR FOR... (I don't know what they will buy it for because I always turn it off before they finish the sentence), another is Lawry, and a third is Allott. Call me a curmudgeon.


SBS need bobbleheads, too. Last time it was Simon Hill, Dean Jones and Mo Matthews. It was Mo, wasn't it, maan? They were a pretty well thought of trio of cats. They took the SKY feed which gave our own Channel Nine a good kick in the pants region.

Fox will probably have the A-Team bobbleheads: BJ, AB, MW. McArdle O'Hanlon might make an appearance in some capacity or other that doesn't rely on real or actual personality.

You remember the Warners cartoony with the two dogs: Spike and the little one? "Hey Spike, Spike, Spike, you wanna gets some cats? I know where there's a cat." Looks to camera: "He's my heeeeeroo."

Well, that's Mark Waugh and Gav Robertson. Gav is the little one, always trying to impress Spike Waugh. But I swear Waugh hates him. Or at least wants to thump him with an anvil.


Onions might be some raw talent they've unearthed. Could be pretty sharp if so. By himself he won't be serving up any pies - just as well Beefy isn't still going around ...
I imagine there would have been some tears after Onions' five-for on debut ...
Looks like the Poms are hoping to spring Onions on us ...
I'll get my hat and coat ...


m0nty (18) - For 'Allott' read 'Alittle'. Happily Sky have banished him, and 'Mad Aunt' Willis from the box. Nick Knight is the new face this summer - with Warnie of course.

Something else to note - Botham ACTUALLY INSISTS on being called 'Sir Ian' since he got some petty bauble from Her Madge. Dear Lord, the bloke was a fantastic all rounder, and looked after John Arlott when he was dying - but he's a regular boorish asshat now.

As for us getting ahead of ourselves Tone - there's still a healthy waft of pessimism blowing across the land. Cardiff will likely be an unplayable swamp, we haven't beaten Australia at Lords since about 1674, Edgbaston might go well but the 'Headingley '81' ghosts were well and truly laid by Border and Waugh(S) - so 2-1 Australia heading for the last...

Closer than 06/07 though!!

Jimmy Jimmy is bowling like a dream, you'll like Broad Minor (chip off the old block) and Swanny will get up some Aussie noses - and turn the odd one too. On the batting side, Lord Snooty will score a few but your bowlers will find The Eyeliner out pretty quick. Ravi's got the right attitude, KP will simply be KP, so it depends on The Pies, Teflon Gloves and Fred (if he's fit)


Has anyone caught Flem's work on the new Thank God You're Here?

It has been excellent and proof that anyone can read a teleprompter and make it sound convincing.


Fascinating to see the anti-McDonald brigade out in force, focusing all their energies on someone who may not even play, instead of things that might lose the Ashes. Kudos to JRod and Christian Ryan (in an otherwise awful piece that seems to be saying we should have selected players we don't have - a spinner, an all-rounder) for noting the batting problem. Notwithstanding that I still think it is probably our best squad (once you supplement it with players better off in county cricket), here are my worries/predictions:

- That Hughes really is a cross between Jaques and Slater, scoring a drooling, brutal hundred (maybe two) but still finishing with an average of around 40.
- That the Varks worked out that Katich can be completely tied down, resulting in him playing some excruciatingly long middling innings, and averaging 30 odd.
- That Ponting vulnerability against the new swinging ball (and like it or not, someone above him will surely fail most innings) and tendency to get out stupidly will continue to put pressure on the middle order
- That Clarke is still a flake, a classy one, but not one to help at 3/20 (and we've been 3/20 a lot recently).
- That Hussey is going to struggle horribly, but in the absence of a like for like replacement in the squad, will only be shifted if we enter panic mode, the series gone already, or by upsetting the side's balance.
- That we might actually have to depend on North for runs or/i> wickets.
- That Haddin will fumble key catches costing us 100s of runs, then get out stupidly when we desperately need him to make amends.
- That the idea that Johnson is an all-rounder will ruin him, when given his record, a sub-30 average and some key (lucky) wickets is all we should expect.
- That Siddle will break down, or start bowling within himself, when he, more than anyone else, may be the key to winning.
- That Clark has lost his edge, and will be a passenger through the first couple of tests.
- That Hilfenhaus will get smashed by Pietersen and lose his ability to contribute.
- That McDonald will actually get played as an all-rounder, instead of a handy change bowler who bolsters the batting.
- That we'll play Ritz and McDonald, and then wonder why we can't bowl a side out.
- That Watson will injure himself during a game
- That even if Manou is the best reserve, we could have had someone in his early 20s getting some tour time.
- And that Lee will do what he did in 2005, forcing himself into the side on one-day/Twenty20 form, take over-rated wickets at great expense, destroy our ability to control the game, waste loads of time, and otherwise play as he always does.


Something to look forward to. Gulp.

Ryan's piece was indeed a load of crap, especially as it included "do the math". It's hard to believe the number of journalists I've read in the last 24 hours who have completely ignored the fact that there is an army of Aussie batsmen ready to rock in the counties who can be called upon at a moment's notice and who have not sitting around with the squad of 16 playing solitaire and getting out of touch.

Just about every pundit and their pet theory is suffering from Warne-itis. Hauritz is no Shane, but he's been more than handy in every match he's played since recall and should again be able to perform a role of equal note to either Monty or Swann. If he plays.

The same goes for Boiled. Has it escaped their attention that we have won all but one of the matches Boiled has played in. He does a job, and does it well.

Mark, to be fair to me, I actually said England were NOT getting ahead of themselves. Further to your comment. I'm a big wrap from Anderson. He often looks dangerous, and in fact, it's my opinion that in 2006, after Adelaide, the England selectors panicked and dropped him when they should have dropped Harmison.

Also, people who insist on being addressed by their title should not have been awarded the title in the first place.



The pundits have taken great delight in picking apart what Hilditch and Ponting said at the presser, getting stuck into them for saying things like "Watson can fill in". But it's probably not the done thing for the team heavyweights to say they will look outside the sixteen just as they have announced said sixteen, especially with Paper Cut sitting at the table.

"Shane's great value anywhere in the order, but if we get an injury we'll pick Ferguson."

I think not.

portentous pat

Boy is that an ugly post from Russ. Every line filled with horrible foreboding, no matter how much we shake our heads in disbelief, and try to laugh it off with scorn, you just can't shake his ominous death crows away. You know its all true, too true. Damn you Russ.

$300 Billion in debt, Eels fighting for the spoon, the Blues will get blown away again, Bulldogs win the comp, and to cap it all off we lose the Ashes.

Gah. What's the point of it all....

If those pricks at Coopers ever sell out to Lion Nathan I'm going on a rampage.


Breaking T20 World Cup news!

Shoaib Akhtar has withdrawn due to genital warts.

People in the office are looking at me funny as I try to cover up my hysterical laughter.


Geez, that Christian Ryan article was rubbish.

Surely that isn't the same guy who wrote the recent very readable book/bio on Kim Hughes?

Surely not.


Pat, don't get me wrong, I think we can win. There are just a lot of things that can go wrong. We beat South Africa when the bowling was disciplined and the pressure maintained, and when our tail (actually maybe just Johnson) scored a lot of important runs. We lost to South Africa when the top order gave their wickets away cheaply (mostly to Harris) and when the bowling (and Ponting) floundered when the runs were flowing.

That suggests a few things:
- Given the English lineup, we should find it easier to contain than in 2005, but Pietersen needs to be shackled. That makes Clark, Boiled, Ritz and North surprisingly important, because we can't afford to bowl Siddle and Johnson into the ground chasing wickets.
- We need to get through Fred, Prior, Broad and Swann quickly. If England bat deep (as opposed to the daft idea that Freddy is a no. 6) a lot of pain could come from that middle-lower order.
- We need to treat Swann and Panesar with more respect than we did Harris (or Giles). If we gift them a half dozen cheap wickets a game we're f**ked.
- Hughes and the Kat need to see of Anderson and Flintoff early. If they get through to Ponting and Clarke regularly, then North better be in good form.

pleased to meet ya pat

Should we shout, should we scream, what happened to the post Sterlo dream,
Oh Peter what have we done?

Was it Russ, was it mOnt and his wonk...eee OOOOOOOOOO???

Was it Tony, Tonay what have we done, should we shout should we scream what happened to the post Warne dream,
O Tones what shall we do??????

If it wasn't for Punter and his piggy eyes, our wickets would be laid out wide.
What have we done?
AB, Slugger, Tugger Yeah Yeah oh Man what have we done?????

Off to their service,
Hussey and his silver hair walking in step with the brass band,
You take our frail old hand,
and hold on to our

You can hide, hide, hide, but Mannou's selection doesn't lie.

All we got really is crazy Kat and his mad staring determined eyes.

Punter, Punter, Punter, what's it all about?

But you know (as KRudd likes to say) I think this is the middle of the book.
Like when Ulysses almost fell asleep and had to prop his eyes wide open with splinters. This is the time it hurts to stay awake.

This is that moment when Pat suddenly lurches from the lounge,
when Pat gets his show on the road,
Ready to take on Choc and Oscar De lA Hoya, shadow boxin the loungeroom.
PATS in da House!!!!

The name of the opener is Hughes,
Hes got the golden shoes,
His Partner is Krab, ugly and won't get out.
Then comes this little THANG called the groove maker, hes got a lot comin on Ah,
PunTAH, Arright,
Now listen to this say, PUNTah he all right, keep it mellow,
Hey hey Puntah will feel all right hes got it coming on,
Hes duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwwweeee (that's not Jew, he loves to make runs).
Oh, look at him. Golden girlfriend bring it on, in strides Pup,
we don't care about your past Baby,
we just want you to last.
Pup, we rest on you, rocking steady on your feet,
rising easy to sweet sweet time that ball, crack it good, I don't care,
Just stay in time and stay all day.
Caress that sweet crack baby and make it last all day long please,
please, please, please care about OUR wants.

I don't care what comes next.

deluded pat

Gee, that seemed so good at the time. Pink Floyd meets James Brown. I hope our Ashes aspirations aren't as delusional.


Shoaib and his performing warts. Too much blistering pace??? And, presumably, untouchable balls...


Some bowlers are just unlucky - they move their balls too far. However, as one way of treating genital warts is surgical removal, I see may 'nicks' in Shoaib's future.



Chappelli's take on the Ashes. How is Lee the missing link? And why would you pick McGain ever again? And why would you put a backup opener in the touring party when Chris Rogers is kicking ass in England as I type? If Hussey proves a busted flush - draft Hodge or Ferguson in...

Warnie has broken Les's grip and has his whole hand up Chappelli's arse.

David Barry

I actually agreed with Chappelli more in that article than in most of his writings (which is to say, I agreed with some of it). McGain is still a reasonable bet as a Test spinner. He's massively outperformed the other spinners at Shield level for the last couple of seasons, though he's probably not as economical as Hauritz. You don't go from averaging 35 in the Shield to being the worst bowler in Test history.


I'm with Dave.

McGain is still the best spinner. In SA, when he was getting spanked, he wasn't spinning it. He seemed to have forgotten how. I'd back him to put the frighteners up the Poms.


He may be the best spinner - but I'm sure KP and Fred can slog him around - how much would it take to turn him into a Casson mark 2? Hauritz, if selected, can do the same job for us that Harris, Botha and Giles have been doing for their sides. Why not hedge your bets and get McGain a county contract?

Brett Pee

McGain will definitely be a mystery to the Poms Tony. Actually he is till pretty much a mystery to me. Has he got a mystery ball ? He doesn't look a bag of tricks mate and those Pommie wickets are slow.

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