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With the Australian cricket team in the doldrums and players seemingly unable to stay fit, it's time to blood some new talent in this important Ashes year. Keep an eye out for these players.
Exciting top-order talent with unconventional technique, Howes has abandoned the outmoded method of hitting the ball with the bat in favour of just letting it knock his stumps over. Goal for season is to survive one delivery from a spinner.
Shaun "What?" O'Wateson
Exciting top-order talent who can do a job as opener, in the middle order, or back home in disgrace in Australia. Tipped to be either handed the vice-captaincy or a six-month stretch for failing to do his homework.
Professor Edmund Cowayne
Not exciting at all top-order talent who enjoys the works of Schopenhauer, experimental film-making, and leaving the ball. Hoping to use Ashes trip to England for research fellowship at the University of Marylebone.
Edison Evangelista de Oliveira, known to all as Steve-o
Exciting middle-order talent who, it is hoped, can get through a few overs of seam-up. Born in Brazil, has yet to play actual cricket match but coaching staff do not regard this as a disadvantage in itself, saying: "He's unburdened by the baggage of previous failures."
Useful cricketer whose presence around the team is increasingly regarded as being every bit as good as his bowling, i.e, probably not as bad as his batting.
Useful cricketer whose batting and bowling are increasingly regarded as being every bit as good as a punch in the eye.
Erratic but sporadically devastating young seam bowler who is sadly battling long-term injuries to knee, back and pride.
Hybrid spin bowler who has been engineered in a laboratory by cutting bits off current spin options and reassembling them in humanoid form on the basis that each one of the four original donors is about a quarter of a Test bowler.
Yeoman-like seamer who will be asked to shoulder the lion's share of the bowling, and, coming in at the vital No. 9 position, shoulder the lion's share of the run-scoring as well.
Exciting young spin bowler who, at 64, still reckons he could be Australia's key to Ashes victory. May have to juggle Ashes appearances with media, tweeting, selling underpants and actual juggling role in Media Circus.
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Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.