Great stuff by Nospmas to initiate the anticipation of the highly expected and long-awaited Ashes. See how excited I am - how many unnecessary words does it take to fill a sentence? In keeping with analytical tradition I thought we could run through the various aspects of competing in test series': starting with bowling.
Seamer friendly, slower and softer pitches in Eng with the Duke ball need to be considered in the same way that dusty turners in India are. My list of challengers for (let's say) 4 bowling spots are:
1. Mitchell Johnson
2. Doug (the rug) Bollinger
3. Peter (hey diddle) Siddle
4. Stuart (um....) Clark
5. Brett (I'm ready cos I say so and should get the new ball cos I'm Brett Lee) Lee
6. Ben (arrrrr) Hilfenhaus
7. Nathan (I'm an offie) Hauritz
8. Shane (ah my back) Watson - I realise this would occur in an allrounder capacity if selected and if it was one or the other he'd be picked as a batsman
9. Dirk (jaz) Nannes
Personally I'd go for Johnson, Hauritz, Siddle and Bollinger. I would say Katich, North and Clarke are good for 15 - 20 overs between them if necessary and Watson chiming in: what do you know - that's 8! Maybe give Haddin a bowl too as the selectors seem to feel he can do anything. I've probably let a cat out of the bag re batting but I'll leave a tempter out there. There are many discussion points that will influence selection: eg allrounder vs specialist number 6 batsman so over to you guys and gals.