Gideon Haig of the Guardian gets off the block with the first words on the 2009 Ashes series with a look at two teams who seem to be at odds with themselves than with any opponent.

He says, about the current mess in which English cricket lies in (For those who came in late, KP has resigned as captain as has their coach Peter Moores)

For years English cricketers have obsessed over that mysterious dark art of their Australian rivals defined by Steve Waugh as “mental disintegration”. At last they seem to have mastered it – except in one crucial respect. They have forgotten you are meant to apply it to your opponents rather than yourselves.

On the Australians, he says, very wittily,

At the moment Ricky Ponting’s Australians are a little like the world economy: nobody seems quite sure whether to expect a short, sharp recession or a long, enervating depression.

Overall, it’s another six months before the first ball. Australia have a three test match away series against South Africa, England a test series in the West Indies. Australia needs to get their aggressive dominating cricket back on track while England, for starters, needs a steady and confident captain in place.

Ricky Ponting has already lost one Ashes series, the last one played in England. It could be the end of his captaincy if he were to lose another (assuming he remains the captain till the Ashes – most likely he will be the captain).

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