Matthew Hayden's Ashes Summer: This is a time to be bold – so England should drop Broad for Sidebottom

From the man at the heart of Australia's most successful side ever

For England to win the Ashes they have to bristle with intent. Their batting, their bowling, their fielding, their body language, everything they do and when they do it all must be positive. Sit in and wait for a breach in the Australians and they will not have a prayer.

As it is, the sides come to The Oval at 1-1 and anything can therefore happen. But it is a far cry from 2005 where England had the upper hand. Whoever bats first has a big advantage and we've said it before and we'll say it again, the new ball is key.

The first thing England have to be positive with is their final XI. My advice is to pick a five-man attack of Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar or Stephen Harmison depending on overhead conditions. I am therefore dropping Stuart Broad – and it's tough on him because he was the pick of the bowlers in Leeds having a plan which he stuck to – Graham Onions and Harmison – but this is a time for boldness.

Flintoff and Anderson will be the side's strike bowlers, and I would rely on them delivering swing and then reverse swing. If Harmison doesn't get the call the spinners will have a big job to do later in the match but the man who must play is Sidebottom. They would be throwing something different at Clarke and I think Sidebottom who has been around for a long time has the ability to do that.

He is a left-armer who will offer something crucially different – bringing the ball into the right-handers.

For right-handed batsmen, that is a challenge, and it will pose a different threat to Michael Clarke, who has been in the nick of his life and has been fundamental to the series. Sidebottom has been around for a long time and has the ability. The only replacement I would half-contemplate is if Anderson wasn't fit I'd pick Onions.

If England do pull it off it will have a lot to do with the forgotten men of cricket. Not the blokes on the field, we can see what they're doing but the backroom boys – medical men – doctors, physios, fitness trainers – selectors and the media liaison guys.

They have all played their part this summer and in the days after the heavy defeat at Leeds. Some people will ask why do we need all these support staff, and say players have got to think for themselves. But these guys are international athletes. The backroom staff have a tremendous part to play in international cricket.

England's medical men have had a huge influence in getting Andrew Flintoff on to the park and offering the guidance that rightly kept him off it at Leeds. Jimmy Anderson has also been under the pump with a tweaked hamstring and he has got through.

The selectors have been under huge scrutiny throughout this series and for obvious reasons because this isn't tiddlywinks. They've done a good job, selecting a good side, and have not strayed from their belief. They've planted their messages well in the media, and haven't panicked. True, at the 11th hour they have dropped Ravi Bopara. I might have been tempted to stick with the same batting line-up but this is exceptional for two reasons (three if you count the position of the series). The first one is that England have lost their No 1 player, Kevin Pietersen – with all that experience and an average of 50 and an aura, probably second only to Flintoff. It left the side in disarray.

The second reason is the nature of the defeat in Leeds. Had they not lost so badly and played so unconvincingly in that Test it would have been different but you just can't ignore that immense downturn in momentum.

The media relations in the wake of the bitter defeat have been clinical. They have shaped the strategy by setting the agenda because everyone jumped on the front shoe after the loss. Everyone has played a part. Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss were honest and consistent about the performance. There was no time in their reaction for excuses but there was a cool, calm, collected attitude and there was no hint of panic in their voice.

Then it was announced on Monday that Flintoff would be available for selection. That was brilliant timing, a stroke of genius from the craftsmen behind the scenes because if they had waited two or three days there would have been a frenzy.

In this country the media is a battleground, a fight for territory. In 2005, from the moment that we lost that Twenty20 game, the media was virtually an 11th man. The media can help or destroy. It vilifies or praises.

England controlled the build-up, briefing the selectors and reacting with the reporters. Even the Premier League played its role perfectly because it has become such a part of the fabric of the nation that it provided a distraction from the humiliation heaped on England's cricket team.

As for Australia's selection, I'm being much more conservative: a four-man attack, the same four-man attack as at Headingley. We don't have to win the match. We need to bat well once and then bowl a truckload of overs and apply scoreboard pressure. It will be business as usual and the three key processes will be patience, partnerships and pressure.

Debuts are never easy, but Trott faces a baptism of fire

Having made the key change in a batting order that has been so grey it has had leaden skies over its head for the entire series, the question is whether they have made the right choice.

Jonathan Trott is a massive call and if it comes off it will be the greatest selection of all time. If it doesn't work the headlines allied to the fact that he was born and bred in South Africa will be predictable: Off you trot.

I can only tell you what I was like on my debut. I was as nervous as 10 men, so nervous that I could barely breathe, I used a lot of the same words as he did, that nature will take its course; that it's just a game of cricket.

That is a huge cliché but the man behind it is very, very nervous. The thing is there is a great difference between hoping and knowing. After 80 Test matches I could shape up to the world and say, 'I know how to get Test match hundreds' because I'd done it. It wasn't a case of hoping. But Trott is sitting in his room hoping that he has a good game of cricket.

He will have had people coming up to him all week and telling him to play his natural game. If it's good enough to play for your county and average a hundred it's good enough for us. This is 100 per cent true but the tension is still there.

On the day when your heart is jumping out of your chest and you can see it on the ground beating you will do one of two things: fight or flight. And like hundreds before him, so will Trott. We don't know and he doesn't know which it will be.

Freddie can be proud of himself

And then there is Andrew Flintoff, playing his last Test match for England. When he comes off the field he is going to feel an enormous sense of pride at the way he has galvanised his nation.

Adam Gilchrist said that he would much rather have played 40 Tests that actually meant something than 140 that meant nothing. Even if Freddie had played only five Test matches that meant something I reckon that cricket in this country would have a lot to thank him for. Not only is he English born and bred but he has also created a template for an iconic series of Test match cricket to live and breathe.

In 2005 he was a huge part of an England team that took on and beat an Australia who were at the top of their game. He is a one-off. He has a balance of life with three kids and he may get four or five years out of one-day cricket if he is managed properly.

He has an honesty and a charisma and a quality that people can relate to: he loves a beer, he loves a laugh, he is human, he's not trying to be something he's not. He has remained true to his roots and people will always gravitate towards that truth, which is the ultimate ingredient in a landscape of Test cricket that can sometimes appear barren.

Trescothick still has the X-factor

In all the hoo-ha of last week when so many suggestions were being made about England's team for this match, Marcus Trescothick stood out. By Monday night he had made himself unavailable.

I think it's very difficult to remove the carrot in front of your eyes once you have seen it and had a taste of it. It really shows an incredible sense of character and resolve and also an impressive sacrifice of oneself for his country.

Even if he wasn't entertaining a return, to come out the way he did and just be honest and say he was still trying to recover and had spoken to his wife about it was completely unselfish. The unselfishness of someone like Trescothick was a huge reason for their success in 2005.

Then, I felt like not just him but that entire group of people played for the team. It was the only time in my career that I saw England do that to that extent – and it's the X-factor to the Australian cricket team.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home