I’ve decided that this non-contest is frankly a waste of time! It appears but a matter of time until England are declared 10-0 victors, and Australia’s surgical self-mutilation will be complete. So I thought we could perhaps make the contest more interesting. Let’s rest Jimmy, Swanny and the Bellmeister General for the bigger challenges to come like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, and instead find some opponents Australia might actually have a chance of competing with.
Opener 1 – Shane Watson. To rival Watto, I searched up and down the County circuit for a batting all-rounder who is pretty inept at any form of cricket which lasts longer than a day. He’ll be a busy player, purposeful in everything he does. He’ll have his blond hair styled of the cool boy in school when you were 13. He’ll be Luke Wright. Which is probably unfair on Luke Wright, given his form with the bat this summer.
Opener 2 – Chris Rogers. Chris Rogers is old, ginger, dour in everything he does, and has 20,000 FC runs. The closest thing I can get to short-sighted Chris is Paul ‘the Wall’ Collingwood. He’s well past his best for sure and has probably not been good enough to play international cricket for at least 4 years. Having said that, nor has Rogers.
Number 3 – Usman Khawaja. Hailed as something special. Left handed. Not very good at Test cricket. Certainly doesn’t have the technique to be facing the new red ball. He just loses something from his talent and obvious ability when it comes to Test cricket. So let us try Eoin Morgan.
Number 4 – Phillip Hughes. Can Morgan play twice? Hughes is technically so weak outside off stump to the moving ball. I’m gonna stick with Eoin Morgan. This is nothing but hypothetical after all. And I am properly lazy.
Number 5 – Michael Clarke. Boy wonder, turned only world class player in his team. Sometimes things ride on his shoulders a bit too much, but he’s so good that’s been ok so far in his captaincy tenure. So Clarke’s captaincy has been off-key and even his metronomical batting hasn’t exactly shone so far per se this series, but nor has Alastair Cook‘s.
Number 6 – Steve Smith. The problem here is defining what exactly Smith is in the team for. He’s a bit weird, a bit flaky, he doesn’t really bat and he doesn’t really bowl. With that in mind, England have offered a surprise recall to Mark Ealham. Don’t worry Mark, I remember your plucky, proud and unbeaten 50 against Australia 1997 as vividly as I remember Smith’s dull knock at Trent Bridge. Someone’s got to.
WK – Brad Haddin. “Braddin” is an average stump-man, has poor reflexes with the gloves and an even worse technique (in particular his footwork looks obviously off). His batting is uninspiring and apart from the odd slog he doesn’t have any strokes to release the pressure from himself. Craig Kieswetter edges out Geraint Jones as a direct replacement.
Spinner – Ashton Agar. A young, precocious talent who wowed us all with the bat in his opening Test match. I’d imagine that Chris Schofield remembers boffing his way to a half century in one of his opening two Tests as well. He might also remember not being very good at bowling. Now there’s an outrageous slur on Agar. Sorry, but his non-turning ‘spin bowling’ doesn’t impress me. If I remember correctly Schofield at least got some turn, when he landed it on the pitch.
Seamer – Peter Siddle. A permanently grimacing quick whose bowling attracts phrases like ‘he wears his heart on his sleeve’ and ‘works so hard for the team’, Siddle’s inherent lack of natural ability means that he should really be rather flattered by England’s recall of plucky Yorkshireman Darren Gough. Goughie’s Ashes hatrick was better, too…
Seamer 2 – James Pattinson. Young and Fast. Fast as hell in fact, when things are running smoothly. Also, wayward. Now, who have England got? Steven Finn, all is forgiven. Come back. Now.
Seamer 3 – Ryan Harris. Injury prone, but still has obvious class. Accuracy and a control and menace lacking in lesser men. Obviously won’t make the next 3 games due to some form of pathetic breakdown, but he might be useful in this one. Chris Tremlett, arise.
5. Cook (c)