It has always been assumed that when Ricky Ponting goes – and that day seems closer than ever – Michael Clarke would step into his shoes.
Clarke's miserable Ashes make that prospect pretty unlikely now, but if Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland is to be believed his "celebrity lifestyle" could also be a problem. "I think it's probably one of the reasons why the board has always reserved judgment [on Clarke]," Sutherland told ABC Radio.
"The board take on the cricketing considerations and whatever other considerations they want, and that's something the board have always taken into account when they make those appointments."
Clarke went out with the Australian model Lara Bingle until a very public split in March this year. "If you're talking about Michael Clarke and his potential as a leader, well that's something that's of distinct interest to us and ensuring that he can continue to develop."
Revolution is order of the day
There's revolution in the air Down Under, but the Queen need not worry too much. No, it's much more important than that: it's the Aussie top order who are about to lose their heads, according to the results of an online newspaper poll. More than 80 per cent of the almost 6,500 who responded to the question 'Should the current top order remain for Sydney?' said no. Phil Hughes – not long ago the golden boy of Aussie cricket – appears to be bearing the brunt of the anger, with few picking him in their preferred XI. Shane Watson and Michael Hussey – far from a certainty at the start of the series, remember – are the only two picked by most to stay. The Aussies really are revolting.
Gone to the dogs
At least Ricky Ponting has something to smile about. As his Ashes dreams crumbled around him on Tuesday, he could console himself with the knowledge that one of his beloved greyhounds came home in Launceston, Tasmania on Monday. Strapper's Boy ensured a prize of $1,195 for the Aussie skipper.
The long wait for another Test
If there's one thing that Australia badly need right now, it's a lot of Test practice. What they're going to get, by the looks of it, is a lot of nothing. Their April tour of Bangladesh looks likely to be restricted to one-day internationals only, meaning they'll have to wait until August – and Sri Lanka – to play another Test match.
Only sing when you're swinging
It's not just on the field that the Aussies have been humiliated in this series. The Barmy Army have been outsinging the locals for 16 years but it's only now – with England on top on the field – that it's starting to get on the hosts' wick, says Karl Quinn in The Age. He even found a local policeman who had taken one of the Barmy Army's songbooks and was happily joining in. "We need to work on our chants," he says. "We've got nothing." A few weeks back one Melbourne newspaper ran a competition hoping for locals to come up with a few songs of their own. All has gone quiet on that front, but something to the tune of 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' seems appropriate.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies