Those who are regular readers of this column will know that we refer to the Aussie Chairman of Selectors John Inverarity as, "Fuck me it's John Inverarity" after turning out in a Kent village game once, much to the astonishment of the opposition. FMIJI has brought in Chris Rogers as he is familiar with English conditions. On a personal level, whilst I am pleased for Buck, but being a Middlesex man losing our best bat and skipper in the four day format whilst top of the league, is needed like a hole in the head, to quote JFK. With 20,000 first class runs behind him, many of them in the UK I can only see him adding steel and experience to the top order.
Haddin is a different kettle of fish. Having given the gloves to a twenty five year old in Matthew Wade, this represents a huge u-turn by FMIJI and his cronies. With Twatto and Clarke liking each other as much as Brown and Blair, Sheringham and Cole, Bradman and his team mates etc etc, Twatto resigned the vice captaincy a few days ago. Clarke needed experienced people around him, as even in Australia, he is about as popular as Luis Suarez is in the Balkans or West London at present.
Haddin fits the bill perfectly. He averages 35 with the bat in Tests, but stick another ten runs on, and that is what he scores roughly every time he bats against us. It is tough on Wade, but Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey could also feel aggrieved with this squad. Johnson, whose bowling is unlike Louis Walsh's sexual thoughts which only go towards One Direction, has been much derided on these shores. However, he can bat, bowl quick when his radar is working and I thought would have been worth a punt. He'd have brightened up the scene too with the crowds giving him stick. James Faulkner takes his place.
Here is the full squad - Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin (vice-capt, wk), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Chris Rogers, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.
I think that by selecting these Haddin and Rogers, it will be a closer Ashes series than we think, especially if Anderson or Swann break down for some reason. Twatto, Rogers, Cowan and Warner give their top order depth. I can't see Phil Hughes making the side but Khawaja and Clarke bolster the middle order. In the bowling Lyon is the only spinner, which seems a dangerous game if it is a dry summer here. Ryan Harris returns and he impressed me in the last Ashes series. Siddle always bowls his bollocks off too and Mitchell Starc can also be a right handful. It could be a very interesting series, and although I expect England to prevail in home conditions, it will be a lot tighter than we thought it would be a couple of months ago when the Aussies must have felt like General Custer, being scalped by lots of Indians. Coulter-Nile may have been worth a place too? Warnie seems to rate him highly.
We will be covering the Ashes in depth here at The Middle Stump, so for one eyed, biased, jingoistic reporting, feel free to give us a follow. Even if you're an Aussie!
I for one cannot wait.