So I'm pondering whether:
1. you can win a Test with only one (mentally) fit strike-bowler on the pitch;
2. Duncan Fletcher really is the Emperor's new clothes; and
3. Monty kicked a few doors in when he found out the bad news.
How can such a conservative strategy, at a venue where the Aussies haven't lost since 1988 and which doesn't see many draws, ever produce a positive result for us? Surely the management would have weighed-up Harmison's lack of physical and mental strength - but then the Trescothick farrago shows the triumph of hope over judgement - or seen that to win this game you have to take 20 wickets. Other than Flintoff we only have one strike-bowler and he's carrying the drinks-tray. Ugh.
So how does this relate to benchmarking then? Well, the two narratives are going to run pretty-well parallel in time for the next 6 weeks, so there's no escaping either, and "tenuous links" is my middle name. In particular I'm interested in:
- strategy and management: how does your choice of technology/personnel mechanistically impact on performance in a team environment;
- communication: what is the psychological impact of selections/decisions on performance in a team environment; and
- innovation - how do you judge what risks to take.
So, my Ashes tip for top England wicket-taker in this series is Monty Panesar and he's not even been picked for this test. The key here is that batting-in-depth, like rolling out a single technology, will only buy you time. Like strike-bowlers, it's innovation and risk that moves you on. Seems that we learned nothing from 2005.