With just 36 days, 24 scheduled press conferences, 97 sponsor opportunities, 17,287 column inches, 365 hours of broadcast time and 145,604,967,845 twitter characters to be filled until someone bowls a ball at the Gabba that almost certainly will not go to second slip this time [ah Harmi, where art thou? Tis not the same without you], the phony war has begun.
So if you're as time-poor as most people these days, fear not. Simply print out this handy planner, grab a pen and delete as you feel appropriate:
Kevin Pietersen is/is not i] disruptive ii] finished iii] ready to make Australia pay iv] should be dropped
Ricky Ponting i] should ii] should not be sacked
Nathan Hauritz is i] rubbish ii] rubbish iii] rubbish
England's attack i] can ii] cannot bowl with a Kookaburra ball
Stuart Broad and Steve Finn are i] too young to play in the Ashes ii] young and hungry to win the Ashes
Mike Hussey should i] go back to number four ii] Go back to WA
i] England's or ii] Australia's middle order is vulnerable
Jimmy Anderson i] will ii] will not swing the ball
Shane Watson is i] Allan Border Medallist ii] number six batsman
Mitchell Johnson is i] quick ii] erratic iii] mental
England/Australia i] will ii] will not win 5-0
The English press's chief sportswriters i] will ii] will iii] will feel the need to dust off their 'chops'
Chris Broad's three hundreds in 1986-7 i] will ii] will be mentioned every tine Stuart does something good
Ian Botham and Shane Warne will i] laugh out loud ii] roll their eyes iii] express exasperation at the thought of i] boot camps ii] coaches iii] fielding practice iv] players who refuse to smoke/drink during a game
Right, let's get started, then...
The case for Matt Renshaw
2 weeks ago