It's time to come clean.
I have reached the point (50 posts) where I have forgotten what I have written in the past and feel at risk of contradicting and therefore exposing myself with future posts.
As such my credibility is at stake. I am prepared to concede that most of my posts have been unashamed attempts at provoking a response and have had a degree of success .
I had intended to continue along my merry ways until the end of the Ashes series but feel it's better to lay it all on the line while the series is still alive.
I can't remember what I have boldly stated in the past and can't be bothered rereading it so here are my honest opinions on all topics I vaguely remember having commented on (which is basically the Ashes):
1. The Ashes
1.1 - Contrary to what most Australians felt, I always said this Ashes series was going to be close. I had always said before the series that Harmison, Flintoff and Strauss will make all the difference from English sides of the past (well Flintoff has anyway). But I thought the Australian batsmen would be able to hold off any attack, especially in England where they've always made it look so easy in the past.
1.2 - Australia have been absolutely pulverised by England's pace attack which, working as a quartet, is the best all-round pace attack I have seen in a while. It's one thing to have 1 or 2 quality new ball bowlers, but quite another to be able sustain the pressure with change bowlers who provide no let-up for the batsmen.
1.3 - Australia has turned up TOTALLY unprepared and full of expectation of another walk in the park and have been TOTALLY found out.
1.4 - Matty Hayden has looked deadset ordinary and will struggle to turn it around in the fifth test. Having said that I wouldn't bring anyone new in at this stage. At least Hayden has had a good look (well a bit of a look) at the bowling for 4 tests.
1.5 - Gilchrist is quality and has less of a technical problem than Hayden but still needs to sort it out after the series. Could come good at the oval though.
1.6 - Langer, despite being described as having a reasonable series has looked ordinary and has looked like getting out all through every innings he's played.
1.7 - The Spaniard has been a revelation and has looked dangerous bowling into the rough all series even when not taking wickets (except that one spell in the first test when they belted him)
1.8 - Trescothick, whilst not posting any huge scores has been pivotal in Englands success, getting the Poms off to flyers, and played the series-turning innings in the first dig at Edgbaston when he put Lee through the covers about 20 times in the first 6 overs.
1.9 - Harmison has been disappointing and has appeared to be the only English bowler lacking control. He has probably troubled the Australian tail the least of all England's bowlers.
1.10 - After getting off to a flyer in the first test, Pieterson has been totally overshadowed by Flintoff and his batting/catching/confidence/hair colour has suffered as a result.
1.11 - Flintoff, despite still reminding me of a park cricketer in many of his mannerisms (eg. holding his pose after a forward defensive and having a good look at himself & the way his helmet always falls over his eyes when he runs so that he has to tilt his head back to see out of it), has single handedly put England in the position they are in, the only other players in the series to make a mark being Jones and Warne. Gotta say, before this series I thought he would make a big difference not so much for his cricket ability but for his 'stand up and fight' qualities. I always thought he was a good all-rounder without being great at either discipline.
1.11 - If Jones is unfit England would be unwise to go for a Collingwood or the like considering the aggressive way they have played to date. Any attempt to bolster the batting at the expense of the bowling in order to have a better chance at drawing the game would play into Australia's hands.
1.12 - The bad umpiring decisions whilst probably having a more detrimental effect to Australia's cause than England's have done so because England have cashed in far better when they've received favourable ones.
1.13 - Ponting's outburst, whilst contrary to the spirit of cricket, was a bit of a storm in a teacup really, and he embarrassed himself more than anything else.
1.14 - England have outplayed Australia in all departments - batting, bowling, fielding and are grossly unlucky that the series is still alive.
1.15 - Sqwerty's combined Ashes XI (at this stage of the series) is as follows (in batting order):
4. Vaughan (c)
Though if the side was picked position by position:
3. ummmmmmm - Vaughan (tough one - better captain)
4. errrr, another tough one - Martyn (lots of catches to Bell but Martyn's been ripped off more with the bat)
5. yet another tough one - Clarke - at least he's caught one
7. Gilchrist - catching (not batting) better - just
note: corrected in accordance with Beleg post below
2.0 - Having conceded all of the above, for some reason I still have this strange feeing that Australia are a good thing for the 5th test (weather permitting). With England having everything to lose and Australia with nothing to lose I suspect there might be a different complexion over this game
Anyway, that is all I have to offer.
Sqwerty must be retired off now. His work is done.
Look out for a new Forum member coming soon