Bob Willis: I don't agree with all this modern-man, paternity–leave stuff. The team comes first

The Verdict

Call me old fashioned, and you probably will.

Tell me I'm in the minority, and I could not disagree. But while I'm delighted to congratulate Jimmy Anderson on the birth of his second child, and pleased he made it home for the happy event after being given permission to fly back from Australia, I cannot help but think his job as an England cricketer should have come first in this instance.

I'm not from the modern-man, paternity-leave way of thinking. As I told Sky Sports viewers earlier this week, I don't agree with the Mothercare buggyrolling approach that is now the way of things. And I cannot believe that two 24-hour flights in a week add up to ideal preparation for a Test match.

But there it is. Anderson, who has bowled outstandingly well for England so far this Ashes series, will be on his way back to Australia shortly and, hopefully, all is well.

It has to be said that these guys are extremely fit, Jimmy is very professional in his preparation and the England and Wales Cricket Board are fully behind players going home for the birth of their children as well as having their families with them for certain sections of the tour. So that is the way things are done nowadays. It wouldn't be the way I did it, and it would not be the way I would organise things, but if Anderson thinks he can get over those flights, and he is going to be in a happier frame of mind having gone home, then that is fine.

But never mind trips from one side of the world to the other and despite the obvious blow of losing Stuart Broad to injury, some people may think the biggest threat to England now could come in the form of complacency. Happily, that is not a concern I share as we look ahead to Perth and what may be the Ashes-clinching third Test.

While the home selectors eat some humble pie by bringing back bowlers they dropped only a week or so ago, and include another left-arm spinner with a first-class bowling average of 40, the visitors need to decide whether to give Broad's place to Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan or Ajmal Shahzad.

Tremlett would be my choice for Perth, but I accept that is by no means a certainty and England may well plump for Bresnan. What I am confident about, though, is the determination of these tourists to keep up the good work and not get cocky or complacent after their huge win in Adelaide.

Yes, I hope they did have a few drinks last Tuesday night to toast their terrific performance in the second Test but I am convinced that under the regime of Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower they remain extremely focused. It seems that every player is singing from the same hymn sheet and Flower could not have been more specific after the Adelaide victory in saying that England have gone out there to win the series, not just retain the Ashes.

Like most people, I predicted a long, hard battle. Now, on the evidence of Australia's bowling in the first two Tests, it is perfectly possible to see England winning 3-0. But cricket does have a nasty habit of biting you back just when you think you've conquered it, so it's reassuring to hear England, to a man, emphasising that all that has been won so far is a Test match.

There is no doubt Broad's injury leaves a big hole in England's line-up. Although he didn't get the wickets to show for his efforts, he was very unlucky in both Brisbane and Adelaide and played a big part in the team's success. But he has to be replaced, and while the fast, bouncy pitches that many of us remember in Perth have turned into pretty good batting tracks in recent times, I'd go for Tremlett with his extra height and his impressive economy rate.

People called him "pea-heart" before he played three Tests for England in 2007, but he didn't do badly at all for them in that series against India. And since moving from Hampshire to Surrey a year ago he has impressed just about everyone with his willingness to work hard and strive for good results on batsmen-friendly pitches at The Oval.

I don't think there is any doubt Tremlett has shaken off his old, unwanted reputation of being a bit flaky. The selectors clearly thought the same because they watched him closely for the last six weeks of the season and ended up picking him for the Ashes squad ahead of several possible alternatives.

Yes, England may keep their fingers crossed if Tremlett is picked for Perth. But imagine what Australia's selectors will be doing in the event of Mitchell Johnson being thrown back into the Test arena. His radar went on the blink so badly in Brisbane that he was dropped – now he has returned without having played a match in between.

Unlike Johnson, I thought Ben Hilfenhaus was unlucky to get the chop after Brisbane. Now he is back as well while Doug Bollinger and Xavier Doherty, who were simply awful in Adelaide, had to go. As for poor old Nathan Hauritz, he seems to be history and the latest spinner to take his spot in the squad is Michael Beer, who has a first-class bowling average of 40 and bats at No 11 for Western Australia.

My guess is that they will leave out Beer and go with four seamers while playing Steven Smith as their spinner, batting at No 7. That would be an attacking move by Australia, but whoever they pick they need to bowl a hell of a lot better than they've managed so far.

Bob Willis is on Sky Sports during the Ashes.

All five Tests are exclusively live and in HD on Sky Sports 1. www.skysports.com/ashesanywhere

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?