Will Quinn | 4:09pm gmt 10 Jan 2011
About five years ago, Sky aired a show claiming to count down the fifty worst predictions of all time.
That show has now sadly been rendered entirely obsolete purely by the Ashes predictions of our staff. The degree of foresight displayed ranges from "none" to "almost none". They're so bad I almost feel guilty for digging the predictions up and kicking them when they're down. Almost. Six of the eight are English so I can't feel too bad.
Who's going to win and by what score?
Tom and Martin nailed this one, but Tom is disqualified for hedging his bets by quietly giving completely different predictions in the forum under the guise of his alter ego "Mr. Z". All of the Englishmen correctly saw their side coming out on top except Marcuss who went for a 2-2 draw, but Ganesh predicted a 3-1 win for Australia. He'll try to salvage some pride by claiming he got the scoreline right, but in reality he just somehow managed to predict the exact opposite of what actually happened. James doesn't even have a bad excuse- he predicted a 2-1 Aussie win.
Who will be each side's Player of the Series?
No one even got close to picking out Cook and Hussey for this one, and not even James Anderson got any votes. Martin actually came closest out of anyone by predicting that Ricky Ponting would be player of the series for both sides as a result of scoring lots of runs but pulling off a few comical captaincy gaffes. Which is half right, I suppose, and he was closer to being England's player of the series than any of the other suggestions. Clarke, Johnson, Strauss, KP, Bell and Broad were also all wide of the mark, but the biggest tool was undoubtedly Marcuss for claiming that Doug Bollinger would be Australia's best player. There's just no excuse.
How many wickets will Graeme Swann take?
We do actually have a winner here. Swann ended up with 15 wickets, exactly as Tom said he would, pipping James's decent effort of 14 as a result of Peter Siddle's mow across the line shortly before the new ball was due on the final morning at Sydney. Martin's call of 19 was the next closest, while Marcuss and Ganesh continue their dire runs with a horrid overestimation of 26.
Who or what will be the surprise package of the Ashes?
Marcuss does regain some pride here by backing Mike Hussey to outscore Watson and Ponting. Peter successfully picked out Chris Tremlett to come into the side and take a five-fer, and Martyn did well to Ian Bell's success coming. Fortunately there were no high-profile deaths and Mark Nicholas is yet to "come out", so Tom's predictions are wide of the mark, but I suspect he was no longer being entirely serious when he predicted Marcus North to make four fifties so I'm willing to let that one go. No such luck for James who thought Australia would surprise England by being on top for most of the series, or for Martin who expected a breakthrough for Ajmal Shahzad that never materialised. Ganesh was both horrendously wrong and bang on the money when he said that Mitchell Johnson "will not bowl his usual tripe and could turn out to be a genuine match-winner."
The direness really kicked in here with no one even coming close to making a good punt. Ganesh seals the wooden spoon by predicting a mediocre series between two mediocre sides (half right) and a fairly easy Australian win. Oh dear. Swing and a miss for Peter who predicted international retirement for Hussey and Ponting and Tom also made an exceptionally large misjudgment by predicting Broad's final series bowling average to be 23.00- the actual figure was in fact 80.50. Andy Flower might yet get an OBE, mind, so all is not lost for Tom. No such luck for Paul- he expected a "very close and hard fought series"- although I seriously doubt he's complaining having probably spent the last five days sipping champagne from a very, very large glass.