since England won the Ashes.
And with 71 days to go until the first test in Brisbane I’m not so confident that we’ll keep them after the squad was announced yesterday.
It’s just not the same side that took the urn back 366 days ago and they look like repeating the same mistake they made on the last Ashes tour when they took and injured side and were roundly humiliated. Even though chairman of selectors David Graveney said they would never do that again there’s enough in this squad who are either coming back from of injury or are injured right now to say they are repeating old mistakes.
And even though I said a few things about Strauss’ captaincy not looking like being up to it after his first attempt earlier this year, I think with this squad he would have been a better choice than Freddie Flintoff.
Why ? Well the bowling attack doesn’t look very good. No Jones for a start, he caused the Australian’s all kinds of problems last year, Hamrison coming off an injury is more miss than hit and he’s already had his one performance this year, against Pakistan at Old Trafford, which he’ll try and live off for a while yet. Anderson, Plunkett & Mahmood look lightweight the former another with a string of injuries and hardly any games this year the latter two well does anyone think they’ll run through the Aussies on a consistent basis? Does anyone think they’ll keep the run rate down?
So then there’s Hoggard, who just injured himself today, well Hoggs relies on swing and the Kookaburra just doesn’t do it the way he likes which could be deadly for him. And Monty well I think he’ll hold his own the Aussies will go after him but I reckon he’s got it in his arsenal to make sure they pay for doing so.
So that leaves Freddie, the talisman the guy that the Aussie feared the most, of course another member of the crocked brigade to lead the attack.
And this he’ll do with his usual force but how long will he last, he’ll see runs flowing at one end with no wickets falling and so take on more and more work for himself. Bowling more and more overs on the hard Australian pitches, banging his injured ankle down time after time. As captain he’ll see it as his duty and there’ll be no one there to say “have a rest Fred, you’ve done your bit today” as there would if say Strauss had been picked.
So how long will Fred last on this tour, before hobbling home ?
And all this before the Aussies start up against Trescothick, who isn’t the best of tourists, with his recent “problems”…