Posted by: tootingtrumpet | November 20, 2010

Ashes preview – Recipe for disaster?

The Australian squad - still no room at the table for Phil Hughes

Continuing 99.94’s rather forced aligning of players and foodstuffs, here is an Australian XI picked from the smorgasbord squad of 17.

Simon Katich – Crab. Mainly moves sideways and often stays within its shell for longer than is good for the team. Can be hard to winkle the good stuff which is often well hidden.

Shane Watson – Raw prawn.

Ricky Ponting – Tuna. Big fish that, if landed, means that you can put your feet up for a couple of days and snack on the small fry.

Michael Clarke – Hot dog: but only if the wind blows off the desert into Adelaide. Otherwise luke-warm and likely to be discarded as insufficiently nourishing for a meal.

Michael Hussey – Cold chicken soup. Used to provide comfort in times of trouble, but not as tasty as in the past and might have to give way to a dahl that is pressing for its place in the pantry.

Marcus North – Potato. Spent a long time underground before being dug up and emerging into the spotlight. Needs at least twenty minutes in the heat before digestible, but can then be quite tasty.

Brad Haddin – Chewing gum. Can give a pleasing instant sugar rush, but the flavour soon runs out. Tends to irritate others.

Mitchell Johnson – Salmon. Travels far and wide, but fights its way back home, the only place where it is really effective in producing. When swimming upstream, often appears to be leaping out of control.

Nathan Hauritz – Blancmange. Hard to identify exactly what it is, but sprawls across the later stages of the meal. Nobody can remember what it tastes like even after eating it for hours.

Ben Hilfenhaus – Sirloin steak. On its day, will sweat blood and prove very satisfying, but can give you the runs if undercooked.

Peter Siddle – Greased piglet. Charges about, squeeking and screaming. Hard to collar but if caught hold of and tamed, can be completely consumed by hungry diners.


The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.




  1. bring back dougie!

  2. I admire the ingenuity in constructing the metaphors, but for once can’t agree with much at all regarding the cricketing assessments. Maybe it’s just that time of year.
    Looks like it’s going to be a good contest anyway.

    • Fred – I indulged in a little caricaturing. Hussey isn’t finished (for example) but he has much to prove. Looks like Dougie for Siddle from this XI.

      • Indulging in cariacature is fine, and is in fact the objective of the post, but the tone was consistently unjustifiably negative. Are we describing Zimbabwe here? Canada?
        For example, Hussey has been not only comfort in times of trouble, he’s also often been the nail in the coffin. Anyway, no matter, it’s just the war of words.

        I’ve read a bit in the press today and it seems Aus is a shambles and confused. I suspect the reality is that the team would be surprised to hear that, and are probably primed to do what they usually do. In any event, it will be nice to have a contest, if that’s what it will be. Aus was unbeaten last summer, which was sort of nice, but sort of boring.

        • It’ll be a contest all right, but I have never felt more confident of at least a draw – indeed, never felt confident in the past.

  3. As a Warriors fan, I’m almost glad that the Salmon has already given his one really brilliant performance for the summer. Bet Mickey Arthur is as well.

    • His season’s allocation of straight balls already used up!

      • Certainly sounds like it, his extras were non-existent. He’s used up his bowling and batting quota and the Ashes hasn’t even started.

        • Oh you cynical, cynical people. Have some faith! He’s got it in him!
          Failure is a great preparation for success.

          • He has got it in him Fred, that’s obvious, but it’s that he has this in him – but is so all over the shop most of the time – that winds me up so much.

  4. Given up writing Nesta? Even with another Tasmanian selected in the squad?

    • I’m hoping Nesta will write here again soon, but I know he is very busy at the moment.

  5. Cricket in Tasmania has never been stronger. Top of the Shield and One Day table, more kids playing the game per-capita than anywhere else in Oz and Cricket Tas is flush with funds with sponsors being turned away.

    I’m with Fred, there is stinking pile of bullshit being written about the BaggyGreen and I’m backing them to win the series. It will be tough but I’ve been hoping for a tight home Ashes for more than half my life.

    Reading through the media this Sunday morning you’d think England are the greatest cricket team that ever graced a paddock. Last time they were here they were crowing the same tune and we all know how that finished.

    Bring it on and I’ll definitely be writing a review before Thursday.

    • You don’t need to take any notice of the English press. They spent so long complaining about the Aussies being the greatest team on the planet that they can’t get their heads around the fact that the Aussies aren’t anymore.

      In the insular cricket world, that means that ENGLAND must be the greatest team ever as only two teams really exist in most Aus and Eng sports journos wee minds.

      It’s just part of the game. It doesn’t actually mean anything.

  6. You wouldn’t be crowing about Tassy’s position on the Shield table if Hauritz didn’t drop that catch!

  7. In 2006-7 I don’t think anyone in the English press forecast England to win and nobody thought England had better players. I, along with others, felt England had a chance if the compressed itinerary proved too much for Aus’ about to retire players – of course it didn’t.

    The difference this time is that the English press do believe that England have better players and many, though not me, that England will win the series. Unlike last time when this was not based in evidence, I have seen Aus live in 2009 and 2010 and watched most of the recent Ind vs Aus series.

    Better players (as they stand now) don’t guarantee a win, especially if the difference is as marginal as it is, which is why the series looks so fascinating.

    I also think that the English press talk up the Ashes as a contest, but there is widespread acknowledgement that the world’s best two sides are probably India and SA, though there is not a lot to choose between any of the top half dozen sides at the moment.

    (For the purposes of the above, we can rule out Botham and McGrath as cheerleaders who have to live up to their images with predictions).

    • I beg to differ, I seem to remember alot of very confident English fans in 2006/7, not to mention the press. There was a sense of entitlement. Remember that whole Flintoff/Johnny Cash Ring of Fire thing in India? These guys can do anything!! Still, that’s history now.

      You don’t believe Eng will win? You surprise me, I thought you’d be projecting Englands undoubted improvement into victory. You must not have many friends down the pub, with opinions like that.

      Indeed India is nominally #1, but as WI/SL and even NZ/Ind are demonstrating at the moment, there’s not much between anyone. (NZ/Ind, Jesus!).

      If MJ scores a ton and takes 5-for once or twice in the series, as he did last week, the Ashes will be returning to their home. Aside from him, there are just too many people capable on their day, of turning the game, to believe the unthinkable could happen. Siddle and Hilf could also both be destroyers, as could Watson, Ponting, Clarke and Hussey.

      As for the English press, I tried again this year, but just couldn’t stomach it. I must say though, Cricinfo has some very good content, and Christian Ryan in particular has written some good pieces.

      Looking forward to hearing Jim Maxwell again shortly, even if the insufferable Roebuck is part of the package.

      • We just were not confident in 2006-7, not just because the Aussie players were better, but because some of our best players were injured or indisposed. There’s always a few cheerleaders, but most of the Aussie sledges were about us not getting behind the team.

        I was down the pub on Thursday and we discussed predictions, A couple for Aus, a couple for England and three draws I think. That’s about the balance of opinion amongst the informed fans. We do think England have improved though and would be confident of a two Test margin in England – but it’s in Aus.

        Dileep rates Ryan too, but I haven’t read anything other than a piece about Clarke’s feet – those that didn’t work in India. The Wisden Cricketer has a round up of Press predictions with only one English journo going for England by more than the odd Test and the rest fairly even between thev draw and a one Test margin. That’s hardly McGrath territory.

        • Tooting, I live here and I thought the English fans and some of the commentators were relatively confident of victory on the tour of 2006/7. Boycott was sounding words of caution if I remember rightly. He was proved to be correct in almost everything he wrote.

          Even though he can be scathing and sound really unprofessional at times, he is always worth listening to. I must find out what he’s saying about this tour.

  8. If I were picking a composite side for next week, it would be:

    Strauss (capt)

    I’d have England 7-4 ahead on players, but some calls are very tight, hence my 2-2 prediction.

    For Brisbane in 2006-7, my composite XI would have been


    9-2 with few that were marginal.

  9. Any ideas for why the selectors (Prior to Hobart) chose Doherty – 35 matches 84 wkts at 48.26 each over O’Keefe, (now) 10 matches 37 wickets at 24.83. Was impressed with way he worked out Cook then put a pattern together to bewitch Pietersen, and the next day when finally put on to bowl dealt with ten, jack.

  10. I thought that quite good Toots. Remember Toots, fish can be a bitch if you don’t remove all the bones before eating.
    Also, I know 4 years was a long time ago, but I think you might have a little bit of selective memory on the confidence of English fans pre Ashes 2006. I know I had to source quite a number of tickets for English friends who were hyped to bursting in the first 11 months of that year, and wanted to see their heroes win in Australia for the first time in a long time.
    As for a prediction for this series. About the only thing I’m confident of is that Melbourne will be a rain affected draw. In my heart I cannot split the teams. My head keeps telling me the reason I cannot split the two teams is that I’m naturally heavily biased toward Australia and cannot spit out the word’s that the other lot could be better.
    England’s win ration is Oz is 1 series in 4 I think, so statistically it will not be a shock. And there is also the fall back line – If England cannot beat us at home now then they probably never will. It may just come down to Ponting and the success or failure of his bloody hooking.

    • It’s unfortunate but already it appears that its going to be either Punter or Johnson’s fault if we lose. It would be really nice if some of the other players were seen as important enough to win or lose us series, but it nearly always comes down to those two.

      And of course, the non-playing chairman of the NSP will hopefully lose his job if it all goes tits up. He probably won’t though.

    • Jim – There was a bit of a balloon of confidence, but with Tresco at home and others injured, it had deflated long before Harmison flung the ball to Flintoff at Brisbane. If England get a decent run with injuries and umpiring and cannot retain The Ashes against this Aus team, then I really wonder if we ever will.

      Lou – The big players do have to stand up in the crucial sessions. I can’t see enough coming from the other batsmen and bowlers to cover an average of 33 from Punter’s bat or MJ’s arm.

  11. Shit, my first response is horribly portentous now.

    • Lou – It looks like Dougie’s out. I feel for the lad as he is a wholehearted trier, but I think he is too loose to play in the same XI as MJ. Siddle will offer control.

      • We’ll have to differ about that. Siddle may just offer about the same tripe as MJ can only with the right arm and even less variety.

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