John’s Ashes squad: I can’t be angry at you

Silver selection patriarch John Inverarity has unveiled Australia’s squad just in time for the upcoming Ashes tour in July, with the whole experience of the announcement being just plain weird.

I feel the restless unease usually saved for the breaking-in of a brand new set of rigid corduroy trousers in its aftermath.

The swinging selection jaw of John finally delivers a surprise-free squad.

The swinging selection jaw of John finally delivers a surprise-free squad.

Like for any team announcement by Inverarity, so predictably passé for its reliable doses of the baffling and clownish in recent times, I was ready to consume the regular gruel served.

I contorted my face to it’s vinegary setting, ensured my waving fist was warmed for some enraged shaking and then hung my stress-piñata in the garage ready for a decent thumpin’.

I turned to face the feature wall in my lounge room and prepared to angrily blabber to it in tongues to feel the tension release of remonstrating with paint via indecipherable grunts.

But in the end, none of this usual fired-up fare was required.

As the names were read from the swinging jawbone of Inverarity’s weathered head, I began to shake on the floor in a curled-up mess, blubbering like a common Brendon Goddard as my body went in to a state of disbelief.

I had become crooker than sun-dried feta cheese as the stark realisation dawned upon me.

This team had left me with absolutely nothing to whinge about.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This controversy-free squad covers all bases for a seldom-pleased cricketing tragic like myself, meaning online forums, Michael Clarke’s front doorstep and my feature wall may be getting some rare shoosh time over the coming days.

There’s players selected on the relevant benchmark of recent form. There’s no slaughter lambs plucked from humdrum-average obscurity to have their careers ruined. There’s the regularly requested inclusion of cool-headed experience.

There’s no Mitchell Johnson, Steve Smith or Glenn Maxwell.

And thank the Lord Jeebers, there’s Usman Khawaja.

And if you thought this required a photo for its Sasquatch-like rarity, then the spotting tourist in you would’ve short-circuited Instagram with what followed.

To add to a squad that doesn’t produce a spike in effigy sales, the boffins have organised a bloody sensible Australia A tour to precede the Ashes that involves seven members of the senior team.

So while we’re at home watching our footballers in blurred images on drugs exposes, our cricketers will have their hands clutching warmed beanbags in their pockets as they get acquainted with the chilly cricketing life in front of the boorish English.

What a brain-twisting tactical masterstroke. Steady acclimatisation over a reasonable period of time!

Who would’ve thunk it? And from our own think tank to boot!

Brad is back, baby!

Brad is back, baby!

I tried my best to sneeze at it, but came up with nothing but an unexpected smile that made me sick to my guts with withdrawals.

Australia’s Ashes squad is not an assembly of world-beaters, but it’s the best of what’s available with no seats on the plane wasted on expendables.

James Faulkner, Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris have been braining the game as recently as March and move out of ‘the mix’ and firmly in to Test calculations.

Brad Haddin’s selection is an acknowledged reversey, but didn’t we want some hard-nosed experience in the batting order after it regularly exploded to powder from higher-to-lower in India?

And what a luxury it will be to have a vice-captain that Michael Clarke can split a proverbial footlong sub with.

No tears for Matthew Wade please, because he’s in the squad too. After a forgettable bye-bleeding tour of the subcontinent for the Victorian, the selection panel have got the balance of reassuring hugs and time away from the microscope just right in his regard.

In excellent news for Ashton Agar, he has been left behind for senior honours, which is a late-arriving dose of pragmatism that has probably come 10 slow-bowlers too late. Someone on the panel has opened their eyes and discovered the horror of the bloodied killing field of our spinning gambles and decided enough is enough.

Unnecessary cleanup costs for street protests and endemic bleeding eardrum syndrome have all been avoided with Khawaja’s selection, however whether or not he plays is another question altogether.

Finally, we are leaving Johnson, Smith and Maxwell at home for a winter of reflection. No disrespect to this trio, but the left-arm quick is a psychologically damaged red rag to the bulls of the Barmy Army, Smith is a sitting duck to classy swing bowling, and Maxwell is just not very apt at the game.

Is this squad good enough to win us back the Ashes?

Probably not.

But at least we’ve squeezed the best out of what we’ve got.

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Dane Eldridge Tries Hard

Contemporary rugby league surrealism and hot takes on Shane Warne

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