I probably could/should have posted this in the official thread, but there are about 20 Ashes threads on the first 3 pages of CC anyway, and I fear this may get the lost in the seven or eight topics already being discussed in the official thread.
1. JL Langer
2. ME Trescothick
3. RT Ponting
4. MP Vaughan*
5. KP Pietersen
6. A Flintoff
7. GO Jones+
8. SK Warne
9. MJ Hoggard
10. SP Jones
11. GD McGrath
12. GJ Pratt
Hardest position to chose, really. Despite his hundred in the last match, I think we can rule out Hayden, but that leaves three to choose from. Trescothick, despite not scoring a hundred, was very reliable with the bat, always getting off to a start and notching up three fifties. Strauss failed a few times, and struggled against Warne at times, but to his credit, he went on when he made a start, and made two good hundreds. Langer was Australia's best batsman IMO. He opened the batting against a very good attack and can hold his head up high after a good series. His fighting nature proved vital for the Australian cause. Ive gone for Langer and Trescothick, but I wouldnt argue with Strauss over either of them.
Three And Four
These two were pretty easy to choose really. Bell and Martyn had very poor series, and while Vaughan was inconsistant, he played some good knocks. Ponting's heroics to save a match cant be forgotten either, and despite some poor captaincy, he had a reasonable series with the bat. Vaughan and Ponting are the only options.
Number Five - Clarke vs Pietersen
Clarke suprised me by having a pretty good series. If it wasnt for his back injury, he would have averaged over 40, which is a good effort against this attack. They are pretty similar batsmen, and up until the 5th day of the 5th test, I would have gone for Clarke, but Pietersen's innings was brilliant, so he deserves his spot.
Flintoff here - no question. Im sure I wont find any arguements for this.
I went with Jones here. Gilchrist had a very poor series by his standards, and I was impressed with Jones at times, espeically his 80 odd. Both ended up with mid-20s averages and both had poor series with the gloves, which makes me want to pick Haddin simply for the fact that he did nothing wrong. This one's pretty tough, as both players were awful at times, but I think it has to go to Jones.
Warne vs Giles. Enough said.
McGrath and Jones are automatic picks in my eyes, which really leaves Lee, Harmison and Hoggard to fight out the last two spots. Lee was good in patches, but never really brilliant, and despite looking dangerous at times, he just never took the wickets he needed. This series is a perfect example of why an in-form Kasprowicz was picked over Lee. He looks dangerous, but he never really capitalises for one reason or another. Commentators continually said that he "bowled better than his average suggests" but the fact remains that he didnt capitalise on his good bowling spells. So that leaves the reliable Hoggard against the one-innings wonder Harmison. Harmison was unplayable in the first innings at Lords, but got into a flat patch afterwards and never really delivered, while Hoggard shock off some poor form to act as a good support bowler. I went with Hoggard in the end, due to consistancy and steady improvement, but I wouldnt really argue with having Harmison in.