Next summer’s Ashes tour might achieve the
impossible by generating even more hype in the build-up than the looming
I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-the-Olympics in Melbourne. Of course, it doesn’t help that Australia
keeps feeding the Poms half-volleys outside the off-stump, all these months
after losing the Ashes.

Take the decision to recall Ashes victims
Damien Martyn and Mike (“Kasper the friendly paceman”) Kasprowicz for the Test
series against South

Mike Selvey, writing for The Guardian today, heads
straight to the top of his long run, feigning sympathy for disposed quick Jason
Gillespie. Having noted that the only career opportunity for the mulleted one
was to “maybe audition for the
lead role should they ever make a biopic of Frank Zappa,” Selwey writes:

… not to invite
Gillespie to the Veterans Reunion Tour to South Africa is just rank bad manners. Through the years
this chap flogged his way through over after over in the cause of Australia’s world dominance and this is the thanks he
gets. Think of the cocktail parties he’ll miss.

Selvey goes on to
point out that 11 of the 14 Australians named for the South African
played in the Ashes defeat, thereby making laughable Australia’s
apparently forced move to the next
generation. Meanwhile, a 21-year-old Alastair Cook managed a century
against India, while Vaughan’s knee played up, giving the Poms a chance
point to their own Brave New World.

English bravado was
also assisted overnight by Kevin Pietersen making his first runs since the
Ashes, with a much-needed 64 to guide the visitors to 4-163 on the opening day
of the second Test against India, even if the man himself was annoyed.

Meanwhile, Selvey keeps
swinging, writing: “Hohns has done few favours for the credibility of a system
once the envy of the world. Now the reaction is to recognise a shambles with no
direction… The Australian machine is becoming a laughing stock.”