Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Ashes Prediction

As even a visitor from the Planet Xandon would know by now, The Ashes get under way tomorrow, with Australia seeking to wrest back the urn so dramatically won by England two summers ago.

I don't want to be accused of being negative, but I don't have a particularly good feeling about it if the truth be told. When we won in 2005, we had the benefit of Michael Vaughan's brilliant captaincy, Marcus Trescothick's 430 runs, and Simon Jones's lethal reverse swing. Yet all will be absent when the contest gets under way tomorrow.

At the same time, the Aussies, having had a few poor sessions at key moments in the last series, appear to have regrouped and their ageing yet wonderfully talented team now seems fired up for what will surely be its last hurrah.

So on balance, I think it's Australia to win, probably by 3-1, with one Test drawn. But that said, my cricketing predictions should probably be given even less credence than my political ones!

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Richard Bailey said...

Bell's true emergence more than makes up for Trescothick.
Strauss's successful spell as test captain this summer gives us a two dimensional captaincy of brain and brawn, which helps cover the loss of Vaughan, and I understand Anderson and Mahmood both found reverse swing in the last warm up.

Australia's bowling line up turns out for its last test series. It will never be this good again.
But our batting is as good as it has been since the early Eighties (Boycott, Gooch, Gower, Lamb, Gatting, Botham, Smith).

I am nervous too but I see many reasons for hope and confidence.

Paul Linford said...

Good to see you back Richard ;-) - let's get the debate under way!

"Bell's true emergence." Well, okay, he did all right last summer batting at No 6, but he is, at best, unproven as a No 3, and I think Banger's sad departure could well leave him exposed. Come to that I am not convinced Collingwood is a Test No 4 either.

"Two dimensional captaincy of brain and brawn." I see what you're getting at, but I just don't see Strauss and Flintoff working together as a team in that way. Fred will be anxious to prove he's the better tactician as well as the better player, and I don't think he is going to brook any interference from a posh git like Straussie.

Richard Bailey said...

I see you've managed to weedle in a reference to posh - again!!

I will be as thrilled as any if Flintoff can prove his ability to multi task (bat bowl and think) but it is a lot to ask. I just hope that he does lean on Strauss.

I wrote Bell off on my blog after last Ashes, but he is first on the sheet for me now. He will come good this winter and do very well. You wait and see.

That other posh bloke, Cook will also do well. Trescothick's departure is well covered by the two of them.

Agree about Collingwood and would prefer to see him at Six. He is just the man to play support to some big innings going on around him but he has a lot to prove and has far too many innings in single figures for my liking.

Of far more concern is our bowling which just doesn't look like taking 20 wickets every match. Harmy is off colour, Flintoff out of form, Hoggard sliding down from his previous best and neither Anderson or Mahmood offering any real trustworthy spark.

I can see Fletcher taking any opportunity to put both his spinners on the pitch. Giles may not have played much but I am well assured that he is fitter and more focussed than ever. Just gotta love Pansesar!

My village club wicketkeeper here in Buckden, makes Flintoff's, Panesar's and Giles' bats, so he is in the know.

Bryan McGrath said...

I think you could be right. I can only hope my namesake is past is sell by date, at long last

Paul Linford said...

Yes, there are way too many toffee nosed prawn sandwich eating public school educated Tory voting colonial upper class twits in the England team for my liking, Richard ;-)

Richard Bailey said...

Oh dear, Paul, I must listen to you when you share your feelings.

I just can't believe some of the selection and positioning decisions. Panesar would have taken wickets all day on Day One. Collingwood should be number six. Where was the extra gulley. I mean only about seven catches went through that position in the first session.

Its enough to make you scream - we are not this bad!

Paul Linford said...

Apparently the reason that Colly is at No 4 is that KP won't bat there, which is ridiculous. KP is the best batsman in the team, and No 4 is where the best batsman in the team should play.

Richard Bailey said...

Paul, there is a good Ashes blog starting up at www.middleandoff.blogspot.com