Ashes 2010: Silly Season and Shane Watson

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86 Days Until The Ashes…

The start of our Ashes 100-1 feature coincided with Ricky Ponting’s “absolutely possible” response to a question asking if Australia could repeat their 5-0 whitewash of four years ago. Although Ponting, didn’t quite veer into full Glenn McGrath territory and make an outright 5-0 prediction, it does seem to have heralded the start of what Andrew Strauss has shrewdly termed the “silly season” of Ashes propaganda. And that is our subject today.

Most of the mud so far seems to have been slung from the Australians bringing to mind Douglas Jardine’s immortal view that “All Australians are an unruly and uneducated mob”. We don’t quite subscribe to that view here, but the Australians have certainly been keen to get their shots in early. Ponting himself has been busy exercising his jaw with fairly forthright views on the “cracks” in the England batting, which he elaborated on during a recent interview with the BBC’s Test Match Special:

“Alastair Cook saved his career with a second innings hundred while Pietersen has not made a Test hundred in nearly 12 months which is pretty remarkable when you consider the quality of player he is. Strauss has not made many runs in the last few games either while Trott is reasonably new and they’ll have a question mark at six as to whether they’ll play Morgan or Bell.”

This England supporter thinks most of Ponting’s comments are a fairly accurate assessment of England’s current batting ills, although his moans about a number of English players not being English are a bit disingenuous. Get over it Punter.

We do take umbrage however, when that excuse for a lobotomy Shane Watson becomes involved. Apart from being surprised that he can actually string more than two words together, we read his views on Stephen Finn with some humour. Firstly, he wasted time stating the bleeding obvious when he said of Finn that “he’s never been to Australia”. No shit Sherlock, given that Finn didn’t make his test debut until earlier this year in Bangladesh, I’d have thought that we are all aware that Finn hasn’t played a test match Down Under.

Watson went on to say that he and the Australians will be targeting Finn adding that if the Middlesex paceman “bowls anywhere near a loose ball, I want to put it away”. Yes, and England will be targeting Mitchell Johnson and whoever plays out of Steve Smith and Nathan Hauritz. Tell us something we don’t know, Shane.

As we said we don’t have a problem with Ponting’s pontificating, nor did we mind the tongue-in-cheek 5-0 predictions of Glenn McGrath or Shane Warne announcing that he had developed a new mystery ball before each Ashes series. But surely Australia can put up someone with a bit more grey matter and charisma than Watson? Even most Australian cricket fans seem to despise him.

We’ll make a prediction with regards to Watson. And that is that his surprisingly successful honeymoon as a test opener is about to end and he will be back where he belongs in the middle order by the end of the series.

Whether we like it or not, get set for the trash talk to intensify as the beginning of the series approaches ever nearer. But please can some of it at least be humorous, which means no more Watson please.

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