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David Lloyd
Cricket Expert & Columnist

Bumble's blog: England need some festive cheer in Melbourne and Sydney

Then it's time to look to the future - Jos Buttler, Jamie Overton and David Willey...

Pinball wizard: Bumble blogs on England's dilemmas in Melbourne

Bumble watches his troops from the sideline

Someone told me Christmas is coming up. It can't be, it's 41 degrees in Melbourne!

I love it here but I get a little lost. Fitzroy is my area - a bit Camden Town - I don't need my Google Maps down there.

Talking of direction, the England team needs a bit of cheer and it's a very interesting time coming up for them. All the interviews that have taken place since Perth with Andy Flower and Alastair Cook have made people wonder where the team is going. Listening to Flower's interview there was a coded message that said 'look, we've got a 28-year-old captain here in Cook and he's going nowhere'.

Flower's future uncertain

If you look at the Australia team for the first Ashes Test in England there was no David Warner, no George Bailey, no Mitchell Johnson, no Ryan Harris and no Nathan Lyon - that's five out of 11 so they've changed it all round.

So, which way are England going to go?

Cook might say that he needs a nucleus of senior players (which ones?) but younger lads can come in. I'm going to give you two players who have not been mentioned yet by anyone - Jamie Overton and David Willey. I'm going to push their names forward. Willey is the next Ryan Sidebottom and Overton is 19-years-old and as quick as you're going to see.

Prior backing

Jos Buttler is another I'd be looking at for the future. Matt Prior is 31-years-old and he's got a Test batting average of over 40. He's having a rough time at the moment but I'd hang fire with him, take a step back because he's a wonderful player. He certainly deserves two more Test matches.

You can't expect Buttler or Jonny Bairstow to walk into an Ashes Test having had no proper practice. It's not going to happen. Prior has now got a couple of chances to hang on to his job.

The selectors have got plenty of work to do. I'm not entirely sure who they all are! I know James Whittaker but I certainly think they could do with another. A man I'd like to see in there is Geoff Cook. He's stepping down as head coach at Durham, he knows a cricketer when he sees one and he's got no axe to grind.

The England fans coming over now still have plenty to look forward to. It's disappointing the series is not active but Melbourne and Sydney are wonderful places to watch cricket.

We have a Christmas treat coming up for you all on Sky Sports over the festive period as my latest 'Idiot Abroad' episode gets aired in the build-up to day one of the Boxing Day Test.

It was a wonderful performance from the British Media, coming from 2-0 down to beat the Australia press. As manager, I tactically changed things around. I'm not there to be popular. I changed the system and personnel and in terms of Paul Newman of the Daily Mail, I changed him six times!

Enjoy your Christmas, I'm not much of a Christmas fan myself. Family come round and eat all your prawns and you don't see them again until next Christmas!

I've got no problem spending Christmas out here. I'll be as miserable as sin but I'll find a little bar on Christmas Eve and that'll be that.

Merry Christmas,

Bumble.