If you haven't noticed my blatant name-dropping and showing-off, I'm in Sydney. Actual Sydney, in Australia. Where the 5th Ashes test is, tomorrow.
If you're sitting there in England, I know the burning question on your lips is what do the Australians think of all of this? (If you're Australian, you probably know what the Australians think. And if you're from somewhere else in the world, you may or may not be bothered). So partly to continue showing off, and also to help give a total insight of the Ashes, here's an English perspective of the Aussie perspective of the Ashes. This is from what I've read in papers and overheard on trains. So pretty accurate.
Australians hate Michael Clarke
Australia's newest test captain has only an 8% approval rating, and is hated for a variety of reasons. From his wannabe celebrity status, to his breakup with the nation's sweetheart* Lara Bingle (*Note - in no way the nation's sweetheart), Pup is being ridiculed, disliked, vilified and generally "bagged" (I learned a new word) in the Aussie press. My humble view on it? If he was making runs, none of this would be happening.
Australians love Brad Haddin
The man who would / could / should be captain. But would he be so highly touted if he wasn't making runs???
Australians respect English players
Jonathan Trott is viewed as a latter-day South African-English Bradman; Strauss and Flower as some sort of dream team sent from above to lead successful cricket teams. Graeme Swann is seen both as a great off-spinner, and as a comedian (fair assessment). His latest Ashes Diary (you know, the one where he does the impressions of Richie Benaud and Tony Grieg) has been repeated many times on every news channel.
Australians think Kevin Pietersen is a dick
His "I resigned for the greater good, so praise me" quote has been added to the general public perception of the big ego (remember FIGJAM?), and while he's respected as a great player, he's still seen as a dick.
Ricky Ponting will be remembered for his three Ashes losses
While his vast achievements as both a batsman and captain have been recognised and celebrated, there is a general understanding that any captain that loses 3 (or at least isn't able to pick up the urn in 3) Ashes series will always be remembered for those defeats.
Usman Khawaja is the new golden boy
All of those marketing-speak phrases like "poster boy for a new generation"; "trail-blazer for many Australian communities" and such have been used for Uzzy. And a lot is expected of his batting.
Selectors don't know what they're doing
Picking Bollinger (universally popular) for Adelaide = bad move. Picking Doherty = bad move. Not picking Hauritz = bad move. 4 quicks at Melbourne = bad move. Steve Smith = bad move. Original 17 man squad = bad move. Michael Beer = bad move. Clarke as captain = bad move. Not much support for Hildrith and the boys.