N’T see many England players or staff losing any sleep over the 16-man squad named by Australia yesterday for this summer’s Ashes series. Clearly the Aussies are struggling to find cricketers of the calibre of five years ago and, aside from captain Michael Clarke, are bereft of consistent match winners.
I’m quite surprised by the omission of paceman Mitchell Johnson because when he does find form he can take wickets – and fast. Yet from an Australian perspective he has never really cemented his status as an automatic selection at any stage, and that speaks volumes.
Middlesex captain Chris Rogers only has one cap and has previously not been thought of as Test class but is a good batsman and I’m surprised he hasn’t been selected more. He has played in this country off and on for around 10 years so has valuable experience of English conditions and will know how to get numbers.
The bottom line is, however, that this looks as weak an Australian Ashes squad as I can remember.
People point to similar remarks made before the 1989 series, when an unheralded Aussie side stunned England 4-0, but that just isn’t going to happen again.
On that occasion some unfamiliar players surprised England, but nowadays there is so much coverage of cricket all over the globe that the hosts will know all about their opponents and I genuinely can’t see them losing a Test in either the summer series or the return trip later this year.
Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer who has also been captain and chairman of Warwickshire.