Thirty-Five Hours Out

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

About thirty-six hours out from the first of ten Tests in back to back Ashes series, Hughesy is pretty upbeat about Australia’s chances of holding the urn by the end of the Australian summer.

Actually, I’m pretty upbeat about our chances of our having matters under control by the time we head home from The Oval, but I’m willing to concede some things take time to build.

While there’s every possibility something will roll along to upset the apple cart between now and the resumption of hostilities, recent speculation about who decides the Australian batting order and ponderings about whether Peter Siddle will be all right on the night (here) has me thinking things are shaping up rather well.

The question of who decides the batting order and the possibility of some sort of ruction between the Australian captain and the Australian coach suggests, to me at least, the journos covering the tour are in need of a story.

And since we haven’t had any members of the touring party making mugs of themselves in the course of a night on the tiles, with nothing else to write about, we get attempts to generate a storm in a teacup in the quest for column inches.

I’m willing to concede there’s the possibility of some disagreement, but it’s hard to imagine that Michael Clarke’s first sighting of the side he’s being handed will occur immediately before the toss.

The twelve will be done and dusted by now, with the most likely eleven just about set in stone. It’s just that they’re not telling anyone.

Which is fine with me, because we’re looking at a situation where any advantage, however slight, is going to be helpful. We’re actually looking at a situation where any member of the touring party except Matthew Wade and, possibly (but only possibly) Ashton Agar is likely to find themselves in the final eleven.

That means when the Poms are doing their planning they have a few more things to take into account, which delivers a slight tactical advantage. We already have a fair idea of what we’re up against, don’t we? The other side has a bit more guess work to do.

Getting back to that matter of the batting order, pause for a moment and consider the statement that the captain decides the batting order, which, of course, he does because the order in which the batsmen enter the arena is a tactical one, and tsctical decisions are the captain’s realm.

I’d be betting that when Lehmann hands over the team list it’ll contain eleven names in alphabetical order and a specified twelfth man. Clarke will have a second list, which will be the suggested or likely batting order, so let’s pause for a moment and cast an eye over that little devil.

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