The way the English and the Australians have been treating the forthcoming Ashes for more than a year now, any of those "new eyeballs" (that the IPL and/or the World T20 might have managed to capture) that fall upon the build up can't be blamed for concluding that the Ashes was a tussle between the ECB's marketing forces and Australians' vicissitudes.
Under these circumstances, the Aussie traveling party was announced first, as expected, since they have to then travel ... duh! Their English counterparts were decided upon by Geoff Miller and co. more recently.
Let's take a look at the repercussions of these according to some of our own counterparts on the blogosphere.
In the green and gold corner, the Aussie perspective:
The fingers that type @ "A cricketing view" summed up the differences between the current bag of baggy greens and the last one that went to England in 2005:
2009 Ashes Squad - Australia
Ponting (c), Michael Clarke (vc), Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Nathan
Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell
Johnson, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Graham Manou, Andrew McDonald, Marcus
North, Peter Siddle, Shane Watson.
2005 Ashes Squad - Australia
Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Brad Haddin,
Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge,Justin Langer, Michael Kasprowicz, Simon
Katich, Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Shaun
Tait, Shane Warne, Stuart Clark (added 9/8/05)
"The Cricket-Bloggers" danced a few steps further down and actually forced a final XI out of their system:
- Phillip Hughes
- Simon Katich
- Ricky Ponting
- Michael Clarke
- Michael Hussey (demoted one spot due to lack of form)
- Marcus North
- Brad Haddin
- Mitchell Johnson
- Brett Lee
- Peter Siddle
- Stuart Clark
From the greener pastures of England, the view seems to be ... well, greener on the same side. The English seem to be hopelessly in love with the idea of an encore of the 2005 scoreline:
The "3rd Umpire", though, seems to lament the demise of Michael Vaughan, at least as an Ashes cricketer.
The selection of a 16-man Ashes training squad, alongside an England
Lions XI to face Australia, provides many portents for the summer
ahead. The complete omission of Michael Vaughan is the clearest
indication yet his Test career is at an end.
The English also seem to have come to terms with the fact that the reduction in Monty Panesar's cricket prowess has either meant or coincided with an enrichment in England's spin coffers. The rise of Graeme Swann and Adil Rashid has tickled the English imagination and led to the sort of pre-series chatter that one might encounter before an India-Sri Lanka series where spin bowling commands prime real estate with the fourth estate.
That feeling itself seems to be at (b)loggerheads (haa!) with the Aussie version, headed by the popular JRod, which suggests that Hilditch and co. should ditch all spin completely for a pace battery.
In the meanwhile, Australia's first warm-up match against Sussex shows that their batsmen need to learn quickly to play the quicks in England. Patrick Kidd points out how even the Italians and Germans seem to be enough to dislodge the Aussies this time around:
It is possible that by this dent to Aussie morale, Sandri could become
the most important Italian cricketer since Ted Dexter (born in Milan).
Ponting fell to Luke Wright and James Kirtley bagged Hussey but Sandri
came roaring back by dismissing Katich and North to make it 3-2 to Italy.
Speaking of bloggerheads, looks like the Ashes have been advanced:
Whoever told you the first game will be on 8th July was wrong.