Ashes September 28, 2010

England's squad to win and/or lose the Ashes - Part 1

England announced their squad to ruthlessly demolish the quivering Australians amidst some razzmatazz last week, whilst the all-but-already-defeated Ricky Ponting and his about-to-be-thrashed bundle of inferior cricketing specimens were warming up
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England announced their squad to ruthlessly demolish the quivering Australians amidst some razzmatazz last week, whilst the all-but-already-defeated Ricky Ponting and his about-to-be-thrashed bundle of inferior cricketing specimens were warming up for their warm-up series in India, desperately trying to enjoy a few days of nice, friendly cricket before their ritual humiliation inevitably begins in Brisbane late in November.

Sorry, let me rephrase that. England announced their squad to be ruthlessly exposed yet again in Australian conditions, as Ricky Ponting and his vengeance-hungry troops prepare to pull their baggy-green caps especially determinedly down over their wrinkly green foreheads and reassert their traditional superiority over their old enemy and greatest adversary, India, in what promises to be an intense if stupidly brief series. They will then head home to exert home advantage over an England side, none of whose players have ever not lost a Test in Australia.

Or it might be a closely matched series between two decent but flawed teams. At least it will be the first time since I was still a boy that England have sailed off to an Ashes series without expecting to be beaten like a naughty egg white, and without the summit of their hopes being the partial retention of their cricketing dignity. (Do they still sail to the Ashes? I’m a little bit out of the loop on that one.)

On paper – by which I mean, on the bit of paper on which I’ve written down some statistics − these are two very closely matched teams. In the ICC Test rankings, for what they are worth, Australia are officially the fourth best Test team in the solar system, and England the fifth best, with respective ranking points of 113 and 112. If you add up the individual rankings of the likely starting XIs, there is almost no difference between the two teams’ batting (England 5517, Australia 5466) or pace bowling (England 1878, Australia 1906). Only in Swann’s superiority over Hauritz (858-498) does one side have a clear advantage.

Nevertheless, the English press have been bullish about the team’s prospects – in some cases, as bullish as the streets of Pamplona during idiot season. (And that, readers, I believe to be perhaps the first running-of-the-bulls joke in a cricket blog).

Since the end of the last Ashes in Australia in 2006-07 (I forget what happened in that series, the last thing I can remember of it is Collingwood and Pietersen smashing the Aussies all over the Adelaide Oval, so I assume it all worked out fine), the new, post-Warne-and-McGrath-and-the-rest-of-that-annoyingly-brilliant-side Australia have won 20 Tests and lost nine (with seven draws). The gradually-and-belatedly-emerging-into-the-post-2005-era England have won 20 and lost 10 (with 16 draws).

There now follows a two-part statistical run-down of the England team. Firstly, a look at the England team that will definitely, without any question, and barely even having to break sweat, spank Australia into the cricketing stratosphere. On Thursday or Friday, I will post a statistical run-down of the England team that obviously will be swept aside by the rampant Aussies in a fug of all-too-familiar English ineptitude. And when the Australians have finished their two-Test series in India, I will have a similar crack at their statistics. And then we can all kick back, relax, and get on with the rest of our lives.

THE ASHES-WINNING ENGLAND XI, 2010-11

Strauss Already joint seventh on the all-time England run-scoring chart after little over six years in Test cricket, the Middlesex magus is the fifth highest run-scorer in world cricket since January 2008. With a square cut like a Victorian headmaster punishing a boy who sniggered at hymn practice, Strauss has three Ashes centuries already under his much-decorated belt, and skippered the team to victory in 2009 with a Man-of-The-Series-winning performance that many consider the greatest deed by an Englishman since Shakespeare wrote those rather overlong skits of his.

Cook The youngest Englishman − and second-youngest person in the history of the universe, male, female or otherwise − to reach 4000 Test runs. Cook, despite sometimes batting as if he’s trying to sell advertising space on the outside edge of his bat, has scored four centuries in his last 11 Tests, including his two best England innings since his stellar debut, in Durban and at The Oval. Housewives’ favourite – if those housewives like players who accumulate steadily with plenty of nudges into the leg side.

Trott Scored a supernaturally calm Ashes-confirming century on debut at The Oval in 2009, produced another masterpiece to help clinch this summer’s Pakistan series, and has a Test average of 55. Bats like a cross between Jacques Kallis and an anxiously fidgeting death row inmate waiting for news from his lawyer.

Pietersen Match-changing dominator with the capacity to dismantle a bowling attack as if it were a £2 carriage clock. More shots in his locker than Allen Stanford has skeletons in his. KP averages 50 against Australia, the fourth-best such figure in world cricket this millennium, and the best by a non-Indian (qualification: at least five Tests).

Collingwood Scored a superb double-hundred in Adelaide four years ago, and averages almost 48 in away Tests (and over 40 in eight of his last nine away series). The kind of defiant, unflappable cricketer who would have swum to Dunkirk in his pads and evacuated some troops on his bat.

Bell Stylist who can make batting look as simple as staring at an egg. Averages 61 in Tests since making a crucial if oft-forgotten 71 in the decisive Oval Test of 2009, and has scored six half-centuries in his last eight Ashes Tests, including four in five in Australia four years ago. Now officially renamed by the ECB as “The Flamethrower Of Eternal Justice” to make him sound more intimidating.

Prior With a Test average of 42, he is England’s second-highest averaging wicketkeeper ever (after Les Ames, who was unavailable for selection after a fitness test confirmed his failure to recover from his death at age 84 in 1990). Prior also has the fourth-highest batting average in human history of any wicketkeeper who has played more than 10 Test innings (behind Andy Flower, Gilchrist and Ames). His glovework, once regarded with such suspicion that it was arrested and interrogated by MI5, is now excellent.

Swann Transforming from a county also-ran into a modern England great like a forgetful larva suddenly remembering it was supposed to be a prize-winning butterfly, Swann has taken a phenomenal 113 wickets at 26 in his 24 Tests since his debut two years ago, including nine five-wicket hauls. This makes him, by a vast margin, England’s best spinner since Derek Underwood. Ranked as the second-best bowler in the world, he is the world’s leading wicket-taker over the past two years, and the world’s top spinner by an almost embarrassing margin. Excellent natural smiter of a cricket ball, who scored 250 critical and quick lower-order runs in 2009 Ashes.

Broad In between repeated tellings-off by match referees for being a little bit naughty, Broad has taken 45 wickets at 27 in his last 12 Tests, and has produced series-winning performances in the final Tests of both 2009 and 2010 – his career-defining spell at The Oval to decide the Ashes in 2009, and his 169 at Lord’s against Pakistan, the second-highest Test innings ever by a No. 9, and ending once and for all the debate over whether he is a better No. 9 batsman than previous England incumbents Matthew Hoggard, Alan Mullally, and Neil Mallender.

Anderson The planet’s No. 4 bowler according to current rankings, Anderson has taken 118 wickets at 27 in his last 30 Tests. He always has the ability to make the ball talk. On occasions, it has said: “What in God’s name are you doing, Jimmy? That bat hurts when it smashes me for four.” This summer, it said: “I’m going to get you out.” And it meant it.

Finn A strong start to his Test career, with 32 wickets at 23 in eight tests. Twenty-six of his victims have been top seven batsmen. Finn is tall. Curtly Ambrose was tall. He once bowled a spell of 7 for 1 in Perth. Logically, therefore, Finn will definitely do the same.

BACK-UP PLAYERS

Morgan A brilliant strokemaker with four international centuries this year already, including one against Australia in an ODI, and a maiden Test 100 under pressure against Pakistan. Ireland must be regretting fighting for independence from the UK. If they had stuck it out, they could be enjoying his England successes as their own.

Davies has a first-class average over 40, and a couple of promisingly potent ODI innings against Pakistan. Left-handed, aggressive, a wicketkeeper – he clearly must be the new Adam Gilchrist, but more so, and better.

Bresnan is whole-hearted and improving with the ball, reminiscent of a young Flintoff as he increases his repertoire of deliveries; averages 46 in 12 ODI innings against Australia. Has displayed excellent swearing skills on Twitter, could prove useful as a 12th man/specialist sledger.

Panesar is a proven Test wicket-taker, still young for a spinner but with 126 Test victims and eight five-wicket hauls already in his cellar. Possesses an elegant, stylish off drive. Seldom hits the ball with it, but it looks great.

Tremlett had a creditable Test debut series in 2007 against a strong Indian batting line-up, and has a solid first-class record. Tremlett is tall. Joel Garner was tall. Garner took 89 Australia Test wickets at an average of 20. Logically, therefore, Tremlett will definitely do the same.

Part two, the Ashes-losing England XI, 2010-11, will follow in Friday

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • IZL on November 7, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    flamethrower of eternal justice... brilliant

  • Calvin on November 5, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    HELICOPTEROTFL!!!

  • Abhishek on October 24, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    @Bihag - Lara is a West "INDIAN". So he is an Indian. Hence not a non-Indian.

    @Andy - Whatay article !!

  • Bihag on October 8, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    Andy,

    Regarding your statistics concerning Best averages against Australia, Lara is a West-Indian but surely a non-Indian? The top 5 ppl with best batting averages against Aussies are VVS, SRT, Lara, KP and Sehwag. So 3 Indians, 1 west-Indian and KP.

    Cheers!

  • Amol on October 4, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    ("Housewives’ favourite – if those housewives like players who accumulate steadily with plenty of nudges into the leg side.")

    This is the greatest immortal statement of this article.

  • ghonada on October 1, 2010, 23:21 GMT

    Andy, thank you, you made my day. If I ever meet you in person please remind my that you deserve a pint for today's article.

  • Anonymous on October 1, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    "Cook, despite sometimes batting as if he’s trying to sell advertising space on the outside edge of his bat, has scored four centuries in his last 11 Tests" Incredibly hilarious! You're the man Andy!

  • Ashok on September 30, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    Just loved the bit about Monty..."Possesses an elegant, stylish off drive. Seldom hits the ball with it, but it looks great."...vintage Andy....

  • Craig lbw bowled Kirsten on September 30, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    "Finn is tall. Curtly Ambrose was tall. He once bowled a spell of 7 for 1 in Perth. Logically, therefore, Finn will definitely do the same."

    Awesome, just awesome.

  • ad_infinitum on September 30, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Andy, here's advance notice. We need pieces like this for the teams before every upcoming imp series (like Pak vs SA, Ind vs NZ, Ind vs SA etc ) and definitely for all the teams before the World Cup. I will remind you again when the Ashes-losing English team comes out.

  • IZL on November 7, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    flamethrower of eternal justice... brilliant

  • Calvin on November 5, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    HELICOPTEROTFL!!!

  • Abhishek on October 24, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    @Bihag - Lara is a West "INDIAN". So he is an Indian. Hence not a non-Indian.

    @Andy - Whatay article !!

  • Bihag on October 8, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    Andy,

    Regarding your statistics concerning Best averages against Australia, Lara is a West-Indian but surely a non-Indian? The top 5 ppl with best batting averages against Aussies are VVS, SRT, Lara, KP and Sehwag. So 3 Indians, 1 west-Indian and KP.

    Cheers!

  • Amol on October 4, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    ("Housewives’ favourite – if those housewives like players who accumulate steadily with plenty of nudges into the leg side.")

    This is the greatest immortal statement of this article.

  • ghonada on October 1, 2010, 23:21 GMT

    Andy, thank you, you made my day. If I ever meet you in person please remind my that you deserve a pint for today's article.

  • Anonymous on October 1, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    "Cook, despite sometimes batting as if he’s trying to sell advertising space on the outside edge of his bat, has scored four centuries in his last 11 Tests" Incredibly hilarious! You're the man Andy!

  • Ashok on September 30, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    Just loved the bit about Monty..."Possesses an elegant, stylish off drive. Seldom hits the ball with it, but it looks great."...vintage Andy....

  • Craig lbw bowled Kirsten on September 30, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    "Finn is tall. Curtly Ambrose was tall. He once bowled a spell of 7 for 1 in Perth. Logically, therefore, Finn will definitely do the same."

    Awesome, just awesome.

  • ad_infinitum on September 30, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Andy, here's advance notice. We need pieces like this for the teams before every upcoming imp series (like Pak vs SA, Ind vs NZ, Ind vs SA etc ) and definitely for all the teams before the World Cup. I will remind you again when the Ashes-losing English team comes out.

  • Ricaugjnr on September 29, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    I too blacked out during the 2006/7 Ashes, I think just as Collingwood raised his bat to celebrate a double hundred so wonderfully dour that I cried all the liquid out of my body and had to be immersed in an ice bath for two years, being brought out of this stasis mid-way through Colly's similarly magnificent rearguard at Cardiff. I am fairly certain that these two matches followed each other, with no cricket being played in between. No matter what statsguru might say differently.

  • Tickster on September 29, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    @ramesh yadav Come on, you could say exactly the same of Australia as you've posted about England. How did you come up with such genius reasoning? I will pick you up on just one of your brilliant points, 9---as prior is coming to bat late in the innings he doesnt have the go at new ball beacuse of which he got easy bowling to settle down at first and later drop catches are there, otherwise he is not a worldclass batsmen with not good temperment Don't you think this could be said of any middle order batsman,good teams hardly ever drop catches so how is that a point,how is he not a world class batsman/wicket keeper when he averages better than all other keeper/batsman in the world and a weak temperament,your having a laugh aren't you.Or is that the point of what you've typed,is it also a satirical piece.

  • Tickster on September 29, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    @ramesh yadav Come on, you could say exactly the same of Australia as you've posted about England. How did you come up with such genius reasoning? I will pick you up on just one of your brilliant points, 9---as prior is coming to bat late in the innings he doesnt have the go at new ball beacuse of which he got easy bowling to settle down at first and later drop catches are there, otherwise he is not a worldclass batsmen with not good temperment Don't you think this could be said of any middle order batsman,good teams hardly ever drop catches so how is that a point,how is he not a world class batsman/wicket keeper when he averages better than all other keeper/batsman in the world and a weak temperament,your having a laugh aren't you.Or is that the point of what you've typed,is it also a satirical piece.

  • Ska on September 29, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    Brilliant. I can't wait for the rest of the stats.

    @ramesh yadav: This article is about the Ashes-winning England XI. So your comments are out of place. They will be covered by Andy - in a much more precise and hilarious manner - in Friday's article. Wait for it.

    Great to have you back Andy.

  • Anand Bhat on September 29, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Comment about Les Ames not being selected due to his inability to pass the fitness test was one of the funniest lines I have read in recent times. Nice humor

  • Ram on September 29, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Excellent article Andy. There is already 1 or 2 losses written all over this victorious english team

    Desperately waiting for your part 2 (Which I can predict safely is a recipe for a white wash by Aus)

    Assuming the English form alternate between your part1 and part2, Aus is winning the ashes 3-2.

  • suresh shukla on September 29, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    I really sympathize with people who can't get the humour of Andy. These guys should consult some psychetrist...

  • waterbuffalo on September 29, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Actually, I'd like to see Swann and Panesar bowling together, with 3 pace bowlers, I mean Prior can bat, so what is the harm? Though I doubt England will do it until Sydney, poor old England, predictable as fish and chips.

  • Caedrel on September 29, 2010, 3:44 GMT

    @ramesh, Ajay: Don't forget this is Psrt One. Your points will no doubt be covered in Part Two, which is Why England Will Lose. Andy did mention that - I'm sure of of!

  • Mahadev on September 29, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    Fentashtique! Fentashtique!!! "Possesses an elegant, stylish off drive. Seldom hits the ball with it, but it looks great" he heeee heeeeeee!! "... will definitely do the same"... ROFL! "... male, female or otherwise"... man o man (oops!) Why is Friday two days after Tuesday?

  • len_hutton's_ghost on September 29, 2010, 0:59 GMT

    Oh dear, Ramesh lad, you don't understand irony, do you. Mr Zaltzman is joking. Pulling your leg. Having a lend.

    Hope the Ghost has cleared that up for you.

  • tonyp on September 28, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    "How to Lie with Statistics" is an EXCELLENT book. This column is in every way better - and it includes cricket and bull-running. I'm sure there's a lucrative statistics-text-writing contract just around the corner.

  • Asghar Gilani on September 28, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    English squad is going to loose the ashes this time. it is quite vunerable agaist a good attack, particularly the fast. Australia, do have that.

  • Somo on September 28, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    Awesomest quote : "Seldom hits the ball with it, but it looks great". Andy, you rock!!!

  • JMike on September 28, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    I hereby nominate "specialist sledger" as the Great Cricketing Innovation of 2010 -- joining such past winners as the aluminum bat, the Mongoose, and bowling first in a bad-weather 20/20 to benefit from systemic D/L bias.

    --JMike

  • Srinivasan Janardhanam on September 28, 2010, 19:33 GMT

    Hilarious Stuff, Andy..especially the one regarding Les Ames...lol

  • anurag on September 28, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    love you Andy...........why didn't you try your hand at literature..........you would have been great at satire...........first two paragraphs are absolutely genius stuff

  • Indraneel Mukherjee on September 28, 2010, 18:49 GMT

    Just Awesome!!! Eagerly waiting to read the next part.

  • Ian Cockburn on September 28, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Thanks for giving Pamplona a mention in a cricket blog. Viva Inglaterra! Gora Ingalaterra!

    Ian in Pamplona

  • ram on September 28, 2010, 18:41 GMT

    I read this article while my wife was shouting at me after a fight-the last part of Panesars cover drive had me laughing and it infuriated my wife even further.I am in trouble now at home. Brilliant Andy-your analysis,sense of humor is unparalleled -keep them coming. Ram

  • Rahul J on September 28, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    i bow to thee... what a super article.

  • Aritro Bhattacharya on September 28, 2010, 18:23 GMT

    "Has displayed excellent swearing skills on Twitter, could prove useful as a 12th man/specialist sledger."...............Bresnan, you beauty :D

    Thanks awesomely, Andy........you seriously did make my day.......am thankful I didn't read this piece at office...........would seriously have been told of "for being a little naughty"........ :)

    What more can I say............ROFl...............

  • Parikshit on September 28, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Ashes 06-07 ? What's that ? Cricket on the pitch is what is interesting. Outside it, Andy, you r what makes cricket worthwhile. Nominate u for the humour nobel .. if there was one.

  • Javed Zarif From Canada on September 28, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Great Article from a literary point of view. Does it make a cricketing sense, not too sure. Engalnd is mostly pathetic outside of English conditions ( moist weather, partisan press patriotic commentators and ......) Australlia may not be the same but is good enough to run through their brittle batting. Bowling wise Swann may fly in Sydney but elswhere weather may not be favourable. Good Luck!

  • gopen on September 28, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    Ramesh Yadav & Ajay Panwar,

    Do they, at school, remove the sense of humour surgically, in India? or is this hereditary? lol

  • Munkeymomo on September 28, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    "Cook, despite sometimes batting as if he’s trying to sell advertising space on the outside edge of his bat,"

    Thats the funniest line I have heard since "Cook must be in a steady relationship, since he has clearly forgotten how to pull."

    Fantastic article Andy, can't wait for the next few.

  • Santosh on September 28, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    everyone is saying that that aussies are stronger than england. But I don't think so, at present condition Enland players are at great form especially with bowling, but they also have the great batting line up. Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Collinwood, Bell, Prior. Watson, Katich, Ponting, Clarke, North, Paine, Smith. As listed above 7 batsmen in comparison from both team, England's batting line up seems heavy.

  • Abhishek dravid on September 28, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Great work Andy.:) seriously, you play beautifully with words.:) And for certain ramesh yadav-type-of-people, please try to understand what has been explained.... Its rare to find such humorous articles.... Grow up guys... Look beyond your idiocy...

  • Imran on September 28, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    I read it in full...this lengthy article and waiting for part two now...excellent..... i think all articles should be like this... bit of analysis and full of laugh... really good one. cheers. and for people who have started there own analysis and stats just against this article.... I would say ""ssssshhhhhhhhhhhhsssss if you cant understand""

  • Yosef Garin on September 28, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    First of all Congrats on becoming the writer to hold the coveted title of "most humorous and witty article 2010". However I am going to be frank their isn't any Ashes winning English team, not on Australian soil. I feel sorry for those poor English dudes just marching like enthusiastic young reserves to a severe hind whipping.

  • James b Waqar on September 28, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    Hilarious! Thanks I doubt as an England fan we'll still be laughing when the action starts. But on paper we have some strong players, e.g. Broad at no. 9 -

    Thanks for reminding of the good old days - Mallender, Tufnell cleaned up by Wasim Akram in successive balls, followed by Devon Malcolm heroically helping Robin Smith set Pakistan a target of 2!!

  • Sami Saayer on September 28, 2010, 14:39 GMT

    fabulous. finn and panesar were brilliant.

    Since the end of the last Ashes in Australia in 2006-07 (I forget what happened in that series, the last thing I can remember of it is Collingwood and Pietersen smashing the Aussies all over the Adelaide Oval, so I assume it all worked out fine),

    lol

  • Aussie M on September 28, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    Great blog, yet again, Mr Zaltzman. I'm just pleased that you haven't included any umpires in your list, so the series may be decided by the better cricket team rather than by "outside influences" (or should I have waited for the losing team list before I made that comment?)

    Your blogs are always hilarious but I have to say, they are almost outshone by the deadly serious "but Andy, you've missed the point, why haven't you included Joe Blow, just look at his average this season" comments -- unwitting comedy gold.

  • Abdul Aziz on September 28, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    "Possesses an elegant, stylish off drive. Seldom hits the ball with it, but it looks great."

    Lol, I could have knocked myself out cold laughing at that..! Great article.

  • jon on September 28, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    I think people posting rebuttals have missed the point that you're going to post the other side of the argument later in the week

  • Tom Calder on September 28, 2010, 13:11 GMT

    Ramesh Yadav can you not see that this is a satirical piece of work? I also advise that you brush up on your English grammar before you start posting on here!!! Stop cluthcing at straws and being so pedantic!!!!

  • Marky B on September 28, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    Great article, shame most commentors just don't get it eh...

    You're wasted here Andy!

  • Ajay Panwar on September 28, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    well; undoubtedly, England is in good form, but we have to remember England's past record Down Under, especially the 2006-07 Ashes, when they were white-washed, Brutally, by the Aussies. How-ever, it does n't means, that they will be slaughtered again, as in the past; but it'll be "Mission Impossible", for the Englishmen, to face the 'Mighty' Australians, in their home conditions.................

    From me, it'll be A "Huge Success" for Strauss's Men, to restict the Australians, on a Series Draw......

    "GOD SAVE THE TEAM"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Verso on September 28, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    Pathetic.......

    Not the article. That is awesome. A fantastic bit of humour.

    The pathetic is for those readers who cannot differentiate between a quality piece of tongue in cheek literature and serious journalism......

    Get a grip people hey?

  • wilo on September 28, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Great piece Andy, stirring stuff for an Englishman to read! (I think I'll just skip part two, where you demolish my confidence by reading the stats books with your other eye!).

    Only downside was that I read the whole piece gingerly awaiting the inevitable nonsense from commenters who missed the premise of the piece (or just comedy altogether). Sadly, ramesh yadav has obliged.

    p.s. seriously, despite the inevitable pain your next column will cause me, the equally inevitable belly-laughs will ensure I won't really think about skipping it, even for a second ;)

  • Shalimar on September 28, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    "...Les Ames, who was unavailable for selection after a fitness test confirmed his failure to recover from his death at age 84 in 1990"

    Wow, Andy, this is the funniest piece I have ever read on Page 2! Keep up the good work!

  • suresh shukla on September 28, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    Hey Andy, good to see u back in form..........I guess when u talk about Ashes u become much more hillarious....

  • Aditya on September 28, 2010, 10:39 GMT

    Hilarious!! Hilarious!! Hilarious!! What a funny piece was in tears laughing till my stomach hurt from starting to end. Cant wait for the rest. BTW Andy cricinfo has asked readers to pick their fav all time XI would love to know your pick with a similar kind of explaination Keep up the good work.

  • ramesh yadav on September 28, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    6--- kevin pietersen is out of form who looks like a tailender when in bad form 7--- alaister cook got a brilliant hundred against pakistan to get a ticket for australis but is it a pulse or back to form. 8--- who will be going into middle order either morgan or bell. if they opt for morgan it is the worst possble thinking but i think they will do that only 9---as prior is coming to bat late in the innings he doesnt have the go at new ball beacuse of which he got easy bowling to settle down at first and later drop catches are there, otherwise he is not a worldclass batsmen with not good temperment 10--- collingwood adds spice to the field but his performance with bat is very much questionabble and his weakness in hunting the wide deliveries counts for most 11--- when it comes to trott he pleyed only one match against aussies but we cant expect the same from his disturbed mental condition that he was in now.

    i think all these points make sense when compared to your words

  • P.Satish on September 28, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    Page 2 continues to be funny only because of Andy Zaltzman. One more hilarious blog!! He has summed up England's attitude towards the 06-07 Ashes perfectly!!

  • ramesh yadav on September 28, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    but you are missing one of the most crucial things ofcourse the odd one against england as they played 6 test matches against bangladesh in their recent past and at the time which you are considering for stats. ofcourse they are having talented players but my following points make more sense than your words 1-- anderson's average outside england is worst we can say when compared to the british media's hipe, and it is far worse than his english record. 2-- you can see many collapses of english batsmen against pakistan which shows they cannot play their best game against some good bowling 3-- if pakistan have taken all the catches that came their way then no one will be having hopes of england retainig ashes 4--- finn played much of his carrer against bangladesh which says nothing about him and when once the pakistan batting order is settled he was having zero impact 5-- they didnt got a genuine alrounder whom they are missing who is responsible for the latest two ashes victories of eng

  • Ashwin on September 28, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    Hehe... Brilliant article... looking forward to the rest...

  • sajad on September 28, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Australia is much much stronger than England.obviousely Australia will win.England ll be lucky if win one match.that is all

  • psrivatsa on September 28, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    The conclusion "Logically, therefore will definitely do the same."...Absolutely amazing!! :-) Overall the article deserves a perfect 10 for its sense of humor. Thanks!!

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  • psrivatsa on September 28, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    The conclusion "Logically, therefore will definitely do the same."...Absolutely amazing!! :-) Overall the article deserves a perfect 10 for its sense of humor. Thanks!!

  • sajad on September 28, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Australia is much much stronger than England.obviousely Australia will win.England ll be lucky if win one match.that is all

  • Ashwin on September 28, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    Hehe... Brilliant article... looking forward to the rest...

  • ramesh yadav on September 28, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    but you are missing one of the most crucial things ofcourse the odd one against england as they played 6 test matches against bangladesh in their recent past and at the time which you are considering for stats. ofcourse they are having talented players but my following points make more sense than your words 1-- anderson's average outside england is worst we can say when compared to the british media's hipe, and it is far worse than his english record. 2-- you can see many collapses of english batsmen against pakistan which shows they cannot play their best game against some good bowling 3-- if pakistan have taken all the catches that came their way then no one will be having hopes of england retainig ashes 4--- finn played much of his carrer against bangladesh which says nothing about him and when once the pakistan batting order is settled he was having zero impact 5-- they didnt got a genuine alrounder whom they are missing who is responsible for the latest two ashes victories of eng

  • P.Satish on September 28, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    Page 2 continues to be funny only because of Andy Zaltzman. One more hilarious blog!! He has summed up England's attitude towards the 06-07 Ashes perfectly!!

  • ramesh yadav on September 28, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    6--- kevin pietersen is out of form who looks like a tailender when in bad form 7--- alaister cook got a brilliant hundred against pakistan to get a ticket for australis but is it a pulse or back to form. 8--- who will be going into middle order either morgan or bell. if they opt for morgan it is the worst possble thinking but i think they will do that only 9---as prior is coming to bat late in the innings he doesnt have the go at new ball beacuse of which he got easy bowling to settle down at first and later drop catches are there, otherwise he is not a worldclass batsmen with not good temperment 10--- collingwood adds spice to the field but his performance with bat is very much questionabble and his weakness in hunting the wide deliveries counts for most 11--- when it comes to trott he pleyed only one match against aussies but we cant expect the same from his disturbed mental condition that he was in now.

    i think all these points make sense when compared to your words

  • Aditya on September 28, 2010, 10:39 GMT

    Hilarious!! Hilarious!! Hilarious!! What a funny piece was in tears laughing till my stomach hurt from starting to end. Cant wait for the rest. BTW Andy cricinfo has asked readers to pick their fav all time XI would love to know your pick with a similar kind of explaination Keep up the good work.

  • suresh shukla on September 28, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    Hey Andy, good to see u back in form..........I guess when u talk about Ashes u become much more hillarious....

  • Shalimar on September 28, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    "...Les Ames, who was unavailable for selection after a fitness test confirmed his failure to recover from his death at age 84 in 1990"

    Wow, Andy, this is the funniest piece I have ever read on Page 2! Keep up the good work!

  • wilo on September 28, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Great piece Andy, stirring stuff for an Englishman to read! (I think I'll just skip part two, where you demolish my confidence by reading the stats books with your other eye!).

    Only downside was that I read the whole piece gingerly awaiting the inevitable nonsense from commenters who missed the premise of the piece (or just comedy altogether). Sadly, ramesh yadav has obliged.

    p.s. seriously, despite the inevitable pain your next column will cause me, the equally inevitable belly-laughs will ensure I won't really think about skipping it, even for a second ;)