摘要：Phil Hughes talks the talk 2.54pm: : I'm pumped
Phil Hughes talks the talk
I'm pumped, over the moon and can't wait to get out there on Thursday. Mentally, I feel really good.
I've always enjoyed opening the batting. I've always done it, and it's exciting – it gets the blood flowing. They are going to come out firing against me. But I'm ready for it; I'm ready for anything they throw at me and I can't wait for it.
, plus what the selectors are thinking:
In six day's time either the contest will be brewing up, at 1-1 with two games to play, into one of the classic series of recent times. Or England will have retained the Ashes, and, in all likelihood, brought an end to Ponting's captaincy. And if that smacks of hyperbole, consider the cagey endorsement given Ponting by Australian selector Greg Chappell last weekend.
"He's the right one to lead the team," said Chappell of Ponting. "And I will continue to believe that for a little more time yet." Whether "a little more time" will extend as far as the end of the next World Cup or not surely depends on which way this series swings between now and next week.
Not the Ashes: County Cricket fixtures 2011
2.16pm: A treat for county fans: , including a handily downloadable version, courtesy of Guardian data supremo Simon Rogers, plus a brief season guide from Andy Wilson.
Not the Ashes: 1 v 2
India's test series in South Africa also starts on Thursday (as gecko411 btl points out). , which concludes:
India know this tour will define how the team is seen. They know they will hang on to their No. 1 ranking even if they lose all three Tests. They also know how seriously their No. 1 ranking will be taken if they perform abysmally here. They know it has never been less about rankings
I didn't try to acclimatise back to English conditions, just tried to stay on Australian time. I didn't get into a sleep routine in England. I think I've done that well. I had a good night's sleep last night.
Christmas Number One
12.38pm: While with his Biffy Clyro cover (?!) and battle it out to be top of the pops at Christmas, there is .
Time to pay for those Fighting Trousers.
The Fremantle doctor
12.20pm: : "Doctor's orders can keep the wind in England's sails: The wind in Perth is the great dictator – and England should use it to their advantage at the Waca, says the man who played for Western Australia in 1986-87."
Alastair Cook: unplugged
11.46am: Well worth a read, with Cook talking about the good and bad times, including a sweet supermarket anecdote.
It's all about families
10.45am: Jimmy Anderson has returned from his round the world dash to be at his wife's side for the arrival of child number 2, while the Wags have arrived, .
Andy Flower said:
We tried to time it where we had a period at the start of the tour where guys could throw themselves completely into their game without any distraction and that by the time the families arrived it would be optimum time for a change of environment, which would be a healthy thing. Hopefully it works out that way.
I think it would have been a distraction at the start of the tour, when we were trying to embed certain things and training principles, but I hope the timing is right now so if anything it is a good distraction.
Doherty and Hauritz
Discarded after two test matches, Xavier Doherty says:
It looks to be a little bit of trial and error, I guess. Given the selection of Michael Beer, that's definitely the case. I was expecting Hauritz to be the one to replace me. They're probably not sure who the next one is going to be.
But things might not be quite as grim for Nathan Hauritz as suggested yesterday.
The Herald Sun has removed and replaced it with :
Axed Test spinner Nathan Hauritz has told those close to him he still has a burning ambition to fight his way back into the Australian team.
Hauritz held a garage sale at his beachside Sydney apartment over the weekend, at which the items lying around included a few of his old Test jumpers.
He gave away a couple of his jumpers but wanted it known that this should not be taken as a sign he was any less determined to break back into the Test team.
The Fraser Coast Chronicle has claiming that the original Herald Sun article was not the whole story.
Further Ashes coverage will appear here through the day.
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