This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss sit at a table with a third man who we do not recognise
Flower: All this talk of series victories and being on the verge of becoming world No. 1 - it worries me. We're getting ahead of ourselves. We've taken our eyes off the ball.
Strauss: You mean like Suresh Raina with short-pitched bowling?
Flower: No, I mean it metaphorically. We're losing focus. I worry we're not doing the things that England sides have traditionally done.
Strauss: Like what?
Flower: Well, specifically, I worry that we're not copying everything Australia do.
Strauss: Great Scott! You're right.
Flower: This is Ian. He's an analyst and strategist.
Ian: A stratalygenist.
Flower: Er, a stratalygenist, and I've asked him to analyse what Australia are doing and come up with a strategy for us. What have you got, Ian? What's going on with Australian cricket?
Ian: Well, first of all, they've found another Warne.
Strauss: Another Warne?
Ian: Yep. A guy called Nathan Lyon. He's come from nowhere.
Flower: You see what's happening. They've been doing this again and again. We pride ourselves on having strength in depth with our pace bowling, but how many Warnes have the Aussies blooded since the original?
Strauss: It must be six or seven.
Flower: Six or seven Warnes.
Ian: And they're all still playing. Real strength in depth.
Flower: Well, real mediocrity in depth anyway.
Ian: Meanwhile, we've been playing Graeme Swann the whole time.
Strauss: We're wasting Test experience.
Ian: Too right. What we need to do is find - what's the English equivalent of Shane Warne?
Strauss: Er, John Emburey maybe?
Ian: John Emburey. We need to find six or seven Embureys as quickly as we can and get each of them very limited international experience.
Flower: Okay, we can do that.
Ian: And then we need to drop each of them. That keeps them keen. Keeps them hungry.
Strauss: It doesn't undermine them at all?
Ian: No, it keeps them hungry.
Flower: Great. What else?
Ian: Well, they have dropped a reliable opener in favour of a younger player who's been found out a bit in the past.
Strauss: That's me. We should drop me.
Flower: But we haven't got someone who fits the description to replace you.
Strauss: Hmm, you're right. So what do we do?
Ian: Well, another thing that the Aussies have been doing recently has been picking names out of a hat at selection meetings.
Flower: So we try and find someone promising who doesn't necessarily stand out from the pack?
Ian: No, you've misunderstood. We pick a name out of a hat. The Aussies are literally picking names out of a hat.
Flower: Okay, that's easy. Anything else?
Ian: One more thing. Twenty20. As part of their bid to rebuild their Test side, Australia are putting more and more emphasis on their Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash, at the expense of first-class cricket.
Strauss: Hey, wait a minute. Now they're copying us.
Flower: And India.
Strauss: Who are we supposed to be copying now? Australia? India? Ourselves?
Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket. All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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