No doubt, there will be comment on here throughout the summer on the Oz/England clashes, which looks pretty mouth-watering considering Australia's capitulation to the hands of Somerset and Bangladesh in the past week, as well as another defeat to our side, growing in confidence against the world #1's.
I also notice that Hampshire's gargantuan quick 'Chris Tremlett is being given his England debut today against the Tigers. Will be interesting to see how he gets on at the top level. The opposition have shown themselves to not necessarilly be a light tough in one-dayers, so to blood him this way seems quite appropriate.
Chris is a real talent, a bowler who strikes fear into County batsman, and will probably take to the bigger stage better than Sajid Mahmood did last summer. It's too early for him for the Ashes, I think, as perhaps having two quicks-on-stilts won't provide as searching a test for the Aussies as paring Harmy with Hoggards swinging sweet chariots, but his name will be as big as his inside leg measurement pretty soon, without doubt.
As a side issue, it makes me feel old watching him and thinking, 'I've watched your Dad play for Hampshire'. Ah the turn of the late 80s, great days.
So I'm still hedging my bets on the outcome of the Ashes, but my man Chas McDevitt has an 8-point plan for victory. Yer tis.
1) We always talk [Australia] up into winning before a ball has been bowled. They believe it. We believe it. They believe that we believe it. They've won already. It's always "next time we'll do it, this time we want to just give them a scare". In a dead rubber we give them a "scare".
2) They can't go on forever. Glenda McGrath is 35. And we ain't got no Atherton for him to crush, causing the team to slip into a collapse. Cricket is cyclical and they've been a this for over ten years.
3) They win by bullying the oppostion bowlers. We have batsmen capable of the same, and that's what they need to do.
4) We need to remember how good we are, not how good they are: Harmison, Jones, Flintoff, Hoggard and the King of Spain are a top notch attack for English conditions. Plenty to mix and match with, and Harmison has already shown them he can take their wickets. Then we have a good back up stock with Lewis. And if AF really gets his freak on, so to speak, he can rough them up a fair old way. And match them in the sledging stakes: "Windows, Tino. Windows."
5) Pietersen in reserve! In reserve! Might be the best place for him but don't let them know that.
6) Positivity. We need to know we will win, and let them know. I can't stress enough that humility has won us squat in the last umpteen years of Ashes series. So screw them, show them no respect in the press. They are crumbling and let them know it.
7) Go in for the kill. Finish them off. At the risk of sounding a bit Karate Kid: NO MERCY.
8) What have we got to lose? Nothing. What have we got to win? Everything. And how many Aussies want to be in the first side to lose the Ashes in ages? Let this play on their minds.
Now if that doesn't get you excited...
...maybe this article from the Guardian's 'Spin' column will help.