1. Andrew Strauss
2. Alistair Cook
3. Mark Ramprakash
4. Jonathan Trott
5. Paul Collingwood
6. Matt Prior
7. Andrew Flintoff
8. Stuart Broad
9. Graeme Swann
10. Steve Harmison
11. Monty Panesar
For the obvious reasons that that would be one shithouse team for us to easily steamroll and, what's more, there were plausible reasons for all of them to be fielded... except Harmison. That's pure wishful thinking. I know this because the Poms were bright enough to leak documents from the team detailing the batting line-up that they will be using, and thus giving our boys nearly a week to watch videos of Trott's batting performances and work out the best way to systematically destroy him with soul-crushing assaults on his manhood to ideally scar him out of a career in cricket FOREVER MWUHAHAHA!
I'm not really evil, you know.
Incidentally, this is the second time that the English have left sensitive documents in their changing rooms during an Ashes campaign, following the incident in 2007 where they left their entire 'batting plan' portfolio lying around in.. the MCG if I remember correctly. Humourously this led to Sir Ian Botham accusing Aussie players of breaking in to the rooms and stealing them off the players rather than say, a janitor doing his job, who is probably the bastardly cove behind this latest scandal. Why must these cricket grounds be kept so clean?!? English cricket shall never survive such scrutiny! And who's the bastard who has Ravi Bopara's iPod? He can't bat at all without Eye of the Tiger playing!
*Ahem* The bowling line-up of the English team is up in the air at the moment, as is the Australians, because nobody's looked at the Oval's pitch. It seems to be in a sort of Schroedigner's Pitch state, actually, with complete uncertainty over whether it will support spin or pace. Of course, Graeme Swann has proven to be a fixture of the English side due to them setting the bar lower than for Hermes Conrad's olympic limbo challenge in Futurama, but they have already showed themselves willing to play two spinners in Cardiff so Monty Panesar's Flying Circus isn't out of the question.
Pleasingly, Flintoff is a certainty - without Pietersen the English have lost the only other player who can bat confidently against the Australians, and also undoubtedly their best bowler. Because of this they have announced that he will be playing no matter what condition his health is. Likewise, Flintoff has stated that he doesn't care about any namby pamby stick-it-in-yer-mandy, uptight, greasy, grimey, brown-nosing, toffee-bollocked, "Run this up my flagpole and salute it whe-hey!!" recommendations from t'doctor about overdosing on pain killers, he will inject what needs to be injected and, what's more, he will LIKE IT!
Setting aside the tear-jerking beauty of a man willing to kill himself by overdosing on performance enhancing drugs when he's unfit to play to protect his country's honour (I guess Flintoff was making a pillow out of the white feathers he'd been sent before that decision or something..) this opens up the possibility of Flintoff having a horrifically painful breakdown on field, resulting on himself retiring hurt and the poms being left one down for the rest of the match. This is, naturally, what my father and I are most looking forward to as even a possibility. The more hubris and pain, the better.
No, it's not really evil, you see. We want to seem hurt but... only in this match. He can get better. He's only going to play for India from now on.. well another painful injury during the ODIs would be nice too.. in a non-evil way.
What I've been saying here is basically no matter what, England won't have a strong team. The batting order has been looking feebler and feebler over the course of the series. With the made-of-willow Ian Bell at first-drop, followed by a debutant and the personification of the adjective 'ferrety' Paul Collingwood at number five there shouldn't be any serious challenge for our bowlers. The line-up will be either Johnson, Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Clark or Hauritz in the latter's place - as everyone would expect. If I had to choose I'd say Hauritz has the job. I will eat the tastiest of my hates if Brett Lee jogs onto the field without a bottle of gatorade in his hands. In between sobbing at the realisation that WE'VE LOST THE ASHES!
Barring that disaster, it's hard to see a way in which we can lose. Our side has outplayed their's in soooo nearly every game. My prediction is for a win, and a bloody good one at that. Outside chance of a draw, which ends the series with the same result. The Ashes will stay in their new ancestral home - hidden in Janet Howard's biscuit tin.