“The Poms are a rabble. I look down their list of players and I honestly don’t even know who half of these guys are,” former Australia opener Matthew Hayden said on Monday. England all-rounder Ben Stokes (not part of the squad) hit back asking how Hayden could be a television pundit. But the Australian wasn’t too far off the mark.
He is the umpteenth man assigned the responsibility to lay the foundation stone of the English innings with Alastair Cook. After averaging 30 against the Windies in three Tests, one wishes him best of luck while facing up to Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood.
Two wickets in three Tests is hardly an encouraging start for a pace bowler, but the England team management hopes Jake will have a ball in the Ashes, if the lead pairing of Stuart Broad and James Anderson are to have the much needed support in unforgiving conditions.
Shane Warne flourished on the hard Aussie pitches, but whether the 20-year-old from Hampshire is any good at the top level remains to be seen. One wicket in two T20 Internationals is hardly a big enough sample size.
Another one with experience of less than a handful of limited-overs internationals, but injuries to first-choice players have hastened his call-up as a bowling-all-rounder. Having grown up in Cape Town, England will hope he brings to the table the famous South African doggedness.
England have kept all their wicketkeeping eggs in the Jonny Bairstow basket. Only later did they realise the folly as the Yorkshireman is also one of their main batsmen. They could find no one better than a 24-year-old who has yet to play for his country, but hit one hundred in the last county season. Jos Buttler, who?
An average of 23.62 in five Tests, some of them played against the Windies, is hardly awe-inspiring. His technique is hardly foolproof, but England will hope he provides the required strength in the middle order, something which he has not shown yet.
No England representation yet, but the Somerset paceman is in after a haul of 46 wickets in the domestic season. If England pacemen keep falling as they have been since they landed Down Under, we may get to see what the tall guy is made of.
English pundits are sure of this 26-year-old’s class, if only he could stop himself from flirting outside his off-stump. An average of 19.27 over seven Tests means we are still waiting for the penny to drop.
The 20-year-old is an injury cover for Jake Ball and with only nine first-class matches (23 wickets) under his belts, he is likely to be a tourist. Or he could be drafted in by England as a left-field selection with the team management always looking for a left-arm quick option.