Picking the bowlers was much harder than picking the batsmen and all-rounders. We’re not going to pretend that we’re 100% happy with what we’ve come up with because that would be dishonest and we save the dishonesty for getting out of social events.
Dale Steyn, South Africa, age 26
We’ve still not quite worked out how someone so spindly can be so quick. The fastest bowlers do tend to be whippy, flexible beasts, but even allowing for that, Steyn still looks a bit malnourished. Being quick AND being able to swing the ball makes him more rounded than other bowlers.
Mohammad Asif, Pakistan, 26
There are a lot of variables here. As long as Mohammad Asif can stay fit and stay out of trouble and as long as Pakistan actually get to play against other people; as long as all that happens he’ll take wickets by the big-receptacle-load.
Ajantha Mendis, Sri Lanka, 24
You have to do something a bit mental to get batsmen out on today’s pitches. Even if people work out the mental deliveries Mendis uses at present, he seems like the type who’d just invent another one. Will get lots of wickets with slow, straight deliveries that will confuse batsmen predicting sorcery.
Ishant Sharma, India, 21
Has been a bit ropey of late, but anyone who can make mincemeat out of Ricky Ponting when they’re 19 doesn’t need to improve too much. Ridiculously, he’s still only 21.
Also, just a note to say that the bowler we’re perhaps most excited about, Mohammad Aamer, is more of a bowler for the next 15 years, not the next five. We’re giving him time.
As for the Aussies, they’re all good and all about the right age, but none really stands out. It’s more that we couldn’t pick one in particular than that we couldn’t pick any.