When it came to the composition of England’s 2006/07 Ashes squad, things were difficult from the beginning.
The appointment of Andrew Flintoff as captain was criticised in some quarters, as despite his influence on the team it was unclear whether his batting and bowling would suffer.
The squad itself also contained a number of problems, especially the inclusion of Ashley Giles despite his struggles with a serious hip injury that had kept him off the field for much of the year.
In addition, it was also unclear as to whether Geraint Jones or Chris Read would keep wicket, with the former handed the gloves initially before they were transferred to the latter.
Finally, the exclusion of Monty Panesar as England’s specialist spinner was widely criticised, especially when he returned to the team and immediately took five wickets in Perth.
This time around, England’s prospects looked far better with the squad they had selected, despite some issues.
In particular, there was the issue of who would bat at No. 6, whether it would be Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow or Ben Stokes.
In addition, it was unclear who the third seam bowler would be from the possible choices of Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett or Boyd Rankin, especially with Tim Bresnan struggling with an early injury.
However, compared to the shambles of 2006/07, these were regarded as minor problems and not likely to have too much impact on England’s defence of the urn.
Worse: 2006/07 series