What a pain-in-the-butt hindsight can be; it generally shows that you should have done things differently and highlights the problems in your decision-making process. For instance, how do you arrive at a collective, selectoral decision about specific players when only one person has the whole picture about those players (in England's case the coach) and yet his view may be coloured by the past, or by his personal preferences, or by his inability to look beyond the defensive or the hopeful. There's something of the soothsayer in this; in retrospect we can all see that the collective success at the Ashes pivoted around a team where each individual contributed. (Even Ian Bell, folks! Two fifties at Old Trafford set Vaughan up for his ton and enabled us to take a whole day to try to bowl them out; plus after Jones he took the most catches.)
Does that team ethic exist now? Or are we desparate for certain names to perform? Selecting Harmison and Anderson look like gambles after-the-fact, and the choice of Jones and Giles instead of Read and Monty hardly changed the game. I don't think that this is a case of the heart ruling the head, but I do wonder whether Fletcher's conservatism will enable us to press home the few advantages we have over the baggy greens.
So what do we do ahead of Adelaide? Maybe thinking a little less about them and a little more about us. We have to win a test, which means we have to take 20 wickets (given that we took 10 in Brisbane this looks ominous). So the team needs some clear-cut, strategic-yet-ruthless decisions to be taken now: namely, drop Harmison and Anderson and play Mahmoud and Monty; going with two spinners in Adelaide plus KP means that you need a proper keeper, so re-instate Read; remove the burden of captaincy from Fred and give it to Strauss so that the former can concentrate on trying to win us the game without the weight of decision-making for the collective around his neck.
So today's benchmarking bit with reference to "clear-cut, strategic-yet-ruthless decisions". Are we going to get some from benchmarking? Will hindsight show that those models we have deployed, based on history or personal preference, have failed to deliver value-4-money? What will it unearth about the hidden implementation of e-learning? From talking to some of our benchmarking team it seems that we're getting to the point now where some of the nuances of implemetation are being unearthed: notably strategic and cultural differences within faculties and departments, and amongst students.
But also, what will that history tell us about our future? Do we stick with the same approach that seems to have bought us long-term gains based on a few quick wins so far, or is it time for a re-think? If so, is that re-think based on what's needed now, or in the next 5 years - and can we know that anyway?
BTW The mighty Saddlers won 2-1 and sit 7 points clear. They aren't vexing me enough to comment here. Yet. You'll be pleased to know.