This Way Madness Lies

Well, it all starts tonight. Somewhat unexpectedly Sky are carrying coverage of England's game against the Prime Minister's XI from Canberra, so I reckon I might tune in to some of it. Come to think of it, it's not that surprising, as Sky have been hyping the Test series for weeks and, as this represents the start of the preliminaries to the first act of the main event of the most eagerly-awaited Test series since the dawn of time (and possibly before), I suppose they were always going to be tempted to show something that may well turn out to be just another one-day match. It would be nice, though, for England to start with a win, in which case it probably won't seem like just another one-day game (as England usually lose those).

Is it just me, or is anybody else currently filled with foreboding about what the series may bring? It's been built up to such an extent that reality seems bound to fall short of expectation, and Australia, from where I'm standing, currently look like firm favourites.

Even more so if England do what Fletcher seemed to be pondering earlier in the week - playing Ashley Giles instead of Monty Panesar to strengthen the batting because an extra bowler will be required to cover the fact that Flintoff's not going to be fit to bowl his share of overs, at least in the early part of the series. Tim de Lisle marshals the arguments against doing this very well here.

All very hard to argue with, unless, of course you're Duncan Fletcher. It's hardly a secret that Fletcher has his favourites. Ashley Giles is one, Geraint Jones another.

What price Panesar and Read for Brisbane?

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