So England's World Cup squad announcement is almost upon us. The 15 brave boys who will be picked to go out and bring it home will already know who they are, and the unlucky ones will be out drowning their sorrows. But we, the public, don't yet know. So let me have a non-educated guess.
For my money, 13 of the 15 are in. Strauss as captain won't miss out; neither will Davies, Trott, Pietersen, Morgan, Bell, Bresnan, Yardy, Swann, Broad or Anderson. So all things considered, and with no further injuries, they'll be the first choice eleven. Collingwood, a man who has been a key part of England's ODI team for a long while should still make it, although now he's been dropped he may be sweating on his place. However, I'd heavily doubt he'd miss out, as he does offer an awful lot to an England team in lots of capacities. Also likely to go is Ajmal Shahzad. England clearly rate him, and he has taken his chances when he's been given them. Indications are that he'll go as well.
So from what I see, those 13 are shoo-ins. Or at least, I'd be surprised if any of them missed out.
But what of the other two spots in the squad? Currently out in Australia are Chris Woakes, Steve Finn, Luke Wright and Chris Tremlett. All men who have recently impressed out in Australia (and Luke Wright). David Saker has come out and said that England won't go with more than 4 seamers, so if Bresnan, Anderson, Broad and Shahzad are going, there isn't space for Woakes, Finn or Tremlett. Which means Wright's probably going. Wright, for all of the loathing I have towards him, is clearly seen as a useful individual who can fulfil numerous roles in the side. While is actually a pointless individual who can't fulfil any role in the side, the selectors and Andy Flower clearly rate him, so he's going. So that's 14.
As well as those taking part in the ODI series in Australia, there's a further lot of players who are in the preliminary squad. Those lucky enough to have an early glimpse at England's World Cup 15 have mentioned that there is a big shock inclusion. So whether that's an extra spin option in Adil Rashid or James Tredwell, or an all-rounder like Peter Trego (who I'd like in there ahead of Wright in any case) we don't yet know. However, by looking at the balance of the squad, it seems a little batter light. So I'd guess that England would look to bring in one of the specialist batsmen.
The specialist bats in the 30 man squad are Cook, Bopara, Hildreth, Lumb, Patel, Adams and Stevens. (If you don't know who they are, you should go and watch some county cricket). If the 'shock' selection is to be believed, it won't be Cook or Bopara. Patel probably done enough to improve his much maligned fitness, and Lumb is pigeon holed as a T20 specialist. I'd be amazed if Darren Stevens got picked, which leaves just Jimmy Adams of Hampshire and James Hildreth of Somerset. Both have had brilliant seasons domestically, and either would deserve a place in the squad. Based on absolutely nothing other than a hunch, I think Jimmy Adams will get picked, as he can act as an opener (in a squad where openers are few and far between).
So using my best detective and sleuthing skills, I've predicted the England 15 man World Cup squad. Will I be right? There isn't long until we find out!