Kevin Pietersen has decided to commit to county cricket this summer in a bid to play his way back into the England side.
England made the most of the very English conditions on offer at the SCG to avoid further embarrassment at the World Cup.
Eliminated from the World Cup and with the press a baying mob, the last thing England want to do is play another match before catching the plane home.
What made Australia the best cricket team in the world?
Paul Downton, the managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, expects he and Peter Moores, the head coach, to still be in their jobs come the first Ashes Test in July irrespective of England’s humiliating World Cup exit.
Ian Bell is England’s top scorer with 210 runs – 23rd in the rankings.
Entirely true, though the obvious questions the statement provokes are ‘Why not?’ and ‘Who did all the chopping and changing?’.
England are set for a change of leadership after their managing director, Paul Downton, was sacked on Wednesday evening by the new England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive, Tom Harrison, after only 14 months in the job.
For all the pre-Ashes talk of sledging at the crease, it is instead the delicate matter of post-match drinks etiquette that has sparked an unlikely war of words between England and Australia.
The county championship gets under way on Wednesday, preposterously early as usual.
A maiden Test century at The Oval in 2013 proved the opening of the floodgates for Smith who, having once been the butt of English jokes for his initial selection in 2010-11 based on an ability to bring levity to a humourless Australian dressing room, has now arrived on these shores as the world’s No1-ranked batsman and the key wicket for Alastair Cook’s attack following 12 months in which he has averaged 102 in 16 innings.
Mike Yardy, the Sussex and former England all-rounder, is to retire at the end of the season.
England meet in Spaghetti Western country to prepare for the Ashes shootout.
The England captain, Alastair Cook, went on record before Thursday’s first Test with New Zealand to deny issuing a him-or-me ultimatum to the England and Wales Cricket Board over Kevin Pietersen’s continued international exile.
Alastair Cook is 31 on Christmas Day and, while his double dose of festivities will be tempered by the tedium of a training session and a press conference before the first Test with South Africa in Durban, the England captain will at least be free of any anxiety over his own form and that of his fellow batsmen.
Alastair Cook touches down in South Africa on Friday with the sense his England side have a good chance to overturn the world’s No1 Test team in their own backyard despite leaving one of their most experienced batsman back at home.