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Australia's big tent of panic

A new blog in which an Aussie and an Englishman bicker over various things to do with the Ashes

In our first Ashes debate, Jarrod has won the toss and elected to write first, on the subject of Australia’s 17-man squad
Jarrod Kimber says There has been a lot of media frenzy about how Australia has panicked by picking 17 men for their home Ashes squad. This is clearly a typical British media conspiracy, aimed at defrauding Australian cricket. There is nothing wrong with 17 players in a squad; it’s the sort of broad-minded cricket concept you’d expect from a cricket nation that has been pushing the game into the professional realm for years.
Australia is an inclusionist society; we don’t want to narrow down our squad to something so small you can barely see it with the naked eye. We want everyone to have a say, everyone to be involved, and everyone to have a chance. This announcement, made in front of 40 people in the rain (that was ordered to make the Brits more comfortable), was part of the friendly, open community environment that Cricket Australia has been building for years.
If the English want to leave people out and narrow down their team to a list of the bare minimum 15 players, let them.
Alan Tyers says I wonder if the Australian selectorial panel is perhaps benefiting from some sort of cultural exchange programme with London? The naming of this Magnificent Seventeen looks cowardly, muddled and rather desperate – the stock delivery of the English selectors for a generation, in fact. It is heartening to see that, despite their outward arrogance and self-satisfaction, our Australian brethren are in fact capable of learning from those around them after all.
In welcoming so many players into their Big Tent of panic, the selectors have managed to increase even further the pressure on the likes of Marcus North, Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz. And surely that last-named blighter has suffered enough. By keeping their options open, they stand accused of being both overcautious and jumpy: a quite remarkable double whammy. If they do now bring a new face in, they look reactive; if they stick with the embattled incumbents, they have needlessly humiliated them by parading their younger rivals and fanned the flames of debate.
Jarrod replies Cowardly? I wouldn’t expect a Pom to truly understand just how far ahead of the game Cricket Australia is. Next year England will be picking 17-man home squads and saying they got the idea from us (they’ll stuff it up as well). It does make a nice change that the Poms think they can win this time. It should make the fall more fun.
Alan replies England may or may not adopt this daft policy, but if they do, it will be a clear sign that they don’t have a clue who their best team is, nor faith in either the men in possession or the challengers. I know which team I would rather be selecting this week, and it’s definitely not the shower in green and gold. England? We’re ready.
Ashes and much more besides in Alan’s new book WG Grace Ate My Pedalo. Jarrod is the mind responsible for Cricket With Balls