ICC: Hi Australia, could you possibly name your long list of 30 players for the Champions Trophy. You don’t have to name your 15-man squad yet, just a bunch of players who might appear in it.
Cricket Australia: No.
ICC: Er, why not?
Cricket Australia: Because that’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do. [Evil grin.]
ICC: Who’ll be expecting that?
Cricket Australia: Everyone. The media, the fans, the tournament organisers.
Cricket Australia: We’re going to play by different rules this time. [Evil laugh.]
Cricket Australia: [Continues cackling.]
ICC: You know you’ll still have to name your 15-man squad a few weeks before the tournament, right?
Cricket Australia: Yes. [Looks shifty.]
ICC: And you know that you don’t actually have any secret weapons anyway? It’s not like you’re going to put all your opponents on the back foot by suddenly unleashing some unknown genius.
Cricket Australia: We might.
ICC: You won’t. That player doesn’t exist.
Cricket Australia: He might.
ICC: You’re picking 30 players. Look at the last 30 guys you’ve capped in one-day internationals. Graham Manou’s probably the best of them.
Cricket Australia: Pat Cummins?
ICC: Okay, Pat Cummins is good, but just look at some of those names: Ben Laughlin, Shane Harwood, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood – they’re not exactly household names, are they? Of the last 30 players you’ve capped, Xavier Doherty has been the most successful selection. Why should we believe that you could identify a great player, even if there was one available to you?
Cricket Australia: You’ll be laughing on the other side of your face when we unveil our secret squad.
ICC: No, we’ll be entirely unmoved when you finally get round to confirming your 15-man squad in early May.