Australia's Gabba Test team announcement on November 12
Australia's Ashes squad announcement for the first Test in Brisbane has again been turned into a major set-piece event more than a week ahead of the toss of the coin, this time coinciding with the unveiling of the $26 million Centre of Excellence upgrade in Brisbane.
In 2010 the naming of a distended 17-man squad for the first Test in a made-for-television event on a grey day at Sydney's Circular Quay was widely criticised by players as a source of unease and tension ahead of a series England went on to romp in by a 3-1 margin. The sight of Nathan Hauritz huddling under an umbrella - he would be dropped when the squad was trimmed - summed up the uncertain nature of the occasion.
That event took place 10 days before the start of the series, but three years and an Argus review later the current Ashes squad will be announced on November 12, nine days before the Test and with a round of Sheffield Shield matches still to play. This also means that the likes of Phillip Hughes, George Bailey and Mitchell Johnson, all serious contenders for a place in the team, will only have one Shield fixture after their return from India before finding out if they will be playing in Brisbane.
Allrounder Shane Watson was among numerous players who questioned the wisdom of the 2010 announcement's timing. "Throughout last summer I felt there was a growing sense of panic all over the place which, to be honest, wasn't helped by CA announcing a bigger than usual Ashes squad down at the Rocks in Sydney in Nov 2010," Watson wrote in his 2011 autobiography, Watto.
"I don't know why the squad was named that early; there was still one more round of first-class games as well as the Australia A game against England to be completed. For guys who might have been under pressure, there was another week to be able to find some form. On the flip side, the players who were in contention for a place had a chance to put some pressure on the guys already in the team."
This time it is far less likely that the squad will be more than 12 or 13, with the conclusion of the Australia A match against the Englishmen on November 9 allowing the selectors to complete deliberations over their two most salient questions: who will bat at No. 6 and who will be part of the bowling attack with James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird unavailable due to injury.
The selectors are believed to be comfortable with the event's timing, and will reserve the right to add or subtract bowlers from the squad depending on fitness and form in the final Shield round before the squad assembles in Brisbane on Monday, November 18.
Guests for the announcement will first be guided through the upgraded Centre of Excellence facilities, which have been improved via a combination of CA revenues and funding from state and federal governments. Players at the centre are now able to prepare on a range of pitches while also using numerous advanced training aids.
Earlier this year, England broadcast their squad for the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge four days before the match, after the final round of county and tour matches had run their course. The announcement by Geoff Miller, the chairman of selectors, was televised on Sky Sports.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here