Monday, 18 December 2006

Does 2009 start here?

Well that's just great isn't it?

For the 1,000s of us packing our shorts and suncream, ready to jet off this week to the other side of the world, the scoreline we have dreaded has come about. 3-0 down with 2 to play.

Little to play for except pride and a pathetic rebuttal of the Aussie taunts from the Immigration Official and the girl in the sandwich bar.

So what does the future hold, both for Melbourne and Sydney, and for the next few years?

Before that, let's get one thing straight, this Australian side is one of the finest Test teams ever, and in Warne, McGrath and Ponting, they really do have 3 of the all time greats. One day, we will all look back and be proud to say we saw them play.

But what of England?

Let's start with the positives. Cook looks as though he's there for the long haul. Bell is a much better player for the experience of the last year. Pietersen is more than the show pony many feared he was. Collingwood won't let anyone down. Hoggard is a captain's dream with the new ball. Panesar has justified his popular choice as first choice spinner. And well...

Strauss holds his own for now on the basis of some lousy decisions received. Harmison will surely come again.

The negatives? By common consent, the nonsense of Geraint Jones being picked on the basis of being a No.7 batsman is over. Chris Read take your chance. If you don't Jamie Foster will. It's also goodbye and thanks to Ashley Giles.

Also looking over their shoulders will be Mahmood and Anderson, with Plunkett also having much to prove.

Perhaps then the 4th and 5th Tests can form the start of what we may see in 2009 at Edgbaston, Lord's, Sophia Gardens, Headingley and the Oval.

Firstly, if Michael Vaughan is fit, and he's told Boycott he is, what are we waiting for? Either he's our captain or not. Surely now is the time for him to come back. After all, he's there with the squad.

Secondly, if Flintoff's ankle is "f'd" as he reportedly said to a journalist, then get him home and sorted. If he needs a year out, so be it. He is no captain anyway, and if Vaughan isn't quite ready, then Strauss can pick up from where he left off in the summer.

Thirdly, we are simply a batsman light and a bowler top heavy. We have capable 'filler in' bowlers for the odd over before lunch and tea in Pietersen (underrated), Bell and Collingwood.

Basically, what I am saying is that we need to think about who's in the plan and who's not.

I have a vision of team for Ashes 2009 which is like this:

Vaughan (we hope)

Clearly, circumstances will dictate whether Harmison lasts the pace, whether Simon Jones will makes it back, and if Trescothick is seen again (I doubt it). Also, don't forget that we won't see McGrath over here again nor Mr Warne (or will we?)

But for now, some of us have Boxing Day to contend with, and, before then, that blasted Immigration Official.

1 comment:

Fourth Umpire said...

Vaughan and Trescothick are done for, I suspect, and in fact hope. I think Strauss, Cook, maybe Bell, Pietersen, Read (or Foster), Panesar are likely to form the core come the next Ashes, and Hoggard and Harmison may well be alongside them. Another two batting places and a seam bowling spot are probably up for grabs.