Predicting things: we’re shit at it. But that’s never stopped us before and it won’t stop us now. With another Ashes jamboree starting later this evening, we assembled the best cricketing minds we could find (i.e. the only people we actually know), filled up a large trough with gin and tonic and set everyone loose on the burning issues of the day. It’s fair to say that what we came up with was basically utter bilge, complete verbal diarrhea. Unlike Shane Warne though, we’re more than happy to admit that we haven’t got a bloody clue what we’re going on about and are largely making shit up to annoy people.
Nichael Bluth: Welcome gentlemen. Your starter for ten: who will win the 2013/14 Ashes? And why?
Matt H: I refer you to my answer here. England still have more match-winners and more match-savers.
Magpie: England with a bit to spare. As Matt says they are just a better team, and hopefully all the bile coming from the other side will have wound them up sufficiently to actually try for all five games this time.
Nichael: I’m actually a lot more worried about this series. Winning in Australia is never easy and England were clearly short of their best in the last series while Australia seem to at least be a bit more settled now. So it could be pretty tight, although I’ll still go for England to edge it.
James K: In a slightly alarming turn of events, I agree with Mr Nichael here. Although if England start well and win at the Gabba (which almost never happens) I think Australia might re-descend into lunacy. Otherwise, I sense a close one, maybe a draw.
Nichael: Last time we’d spent the preceding 18 months or so generally bigging up #Devereux and getting the hashtag into common usage, leading to the great man being the story of the series. But what will be the biggest story of this series?
Matt H: I reckon the Australian press will be so keen to undermine England that anything could make the news as a ‘controversy’. Whilst I doubt anyone will punch an opposition player in Bourbon and Beefsteak or urinate on someone in Lou’s Place, expect to see someone like Pietersen or Broad make headlines solely for blasphemy or for stealing hotel shampoo. On the pitch, I think Mitchell Johnson’s odyssey will be one of the main narratives, whilst for England, the principal issue is whether they can collectively remember how to post big totals.
Magpie: Every time Broad picks his nose it will be front page news, and tweeted about by Darren Lehmann. Hopefully once the cricket actually starts the press won’t fail to notice how one sided this series is and start picking on the Australian state system. The same one that produced Warne *spits*, McGrath, Ponting, Gilchrist, etc
James: Malcolm Conn’s inner battle as Fawad Ahmed makes his Ashes debut later on in the series might well be the defining theme. A feel-good story of a man coming to terms with, and then overcoming, his rampant prejudices and in doing so helping to build a better world.
Nichael: I think this series will be all about George Bailey’s rise to power. He’ll be usurping Devereux for the top job as soon as Clarke’s back gives up, you mark my words.
Nichael: What will be the dumbest thing said by Shane Keith Warne?
Matt H: “It’s curtains for you, Elizabeth My Dear.” Or he will claim Darren Lehmann is a better coach than Andy Flower because Boof doesn’t need psycho-analysts, statisticians or catering requirements.
Magpie: Awwwww look Clarkie, sorry it’s a bit salty this evening, I had sushi for dinner earlier.
Nichael: I’m hoping for a genuine on air meltdown, with a member of the production crew having to step in to try and calm him down. Almost exactly like when Hacksaw Jim Duggan got a bit excited on Parallel Nine back in the day and a lady with the clipboard came out and told him off, a classic TV moment that I’m sure everyone is familiar with.
NB: And finally, a score prediction? And the men of the series?
Matt H: The same as last time – England 3 Australia 1 (maybe 2-1).
NB: I’m not having any of this ‘maybe’ bollocks – Editor Steve won’t stand for it – so which is it?
Matt H: 2-1, actually not morally of course.
James: 2-2 (to audible gasps all round). Siddle and Cook as men of the series.
Magpie: 4-1, I’ll give them Perth as we never play well there, and it will annoy Nichael.
Nichael: It would be nice if England could turn up in Perth for once, that’s true. I’ll go for 2-1 to England.
James: Nice to see even Nichael forgot he asked the men of the series bit of the question.
Magpie: Good point. Er, about time KP got a series named after him. And Michael Beer, hopefully.
Matt H: The England man of the series will be Stuart Broad. And the Australian man of the series will be the paparazzo who takes a snap of anyone associated with the England team (like Nathan Leamon for example, or a British Airways Stewardess) doing something outrageous (like using Google during a game of Words With Friends).
Nichael: I’m going for the Trottatron for England and Mitchell Johnson for Australia. And for a bit of a lie down.
Last time out we did a competition to win an unsigned picture of Somerset legend Adam Dibble. Sadly, there will be no competition involving Mr Dibble this time because of a threat of a court injunction from the great man himself. Instead we’re teaming up with Unibet UK, who have agreed to shelter us until this nasty business blows over. On their Facebook page those of you in the UK can enter a competition to win an evening with Sir Ian Botham and hopefully by doing so there’ll be some free Ashes bets in it for a few of you as well. The link to head to, post-haste, is https://www.facebook.com/UnibetUK/app_764910540202503. We’ll also be entering but, should we win, we’ll use the opportunity to punch Beefy right in the face, so it might be best if we don’t.