The announcement of Australia’s squad for this summer’s Ashes series in England has generated plenty of publicity, but not a lot of fear in their opponents.
With England searching for a fourth series win in the last five, the prospect of facing names such as Jackson Bird, James Faulkner, Chris Rogers and Usman Khawaja will hardly have filled the home side with fear ahead of the first Test at Trent Bridge on July 10th.
The Australian squad features recalls for two 35-year-olds in the new vice-captain Brad Haddin and the Middlesex batsman Rogers, a county veteran but the holder of just one international cap which came in 2008.
Throw in three specialist batsmen who average less than 30 in Tests, just one spinner and a 33-year-old injury-hit fast bowler in Ryan Harris, and the stampede to take 20/1 for a 5-0 England series win will be heard all the way Down Under.
Patriotic punting has moved markets before, and although the more considered English fans might be better advised to look at the 10/1 available for 4-0 or 6/1 for 3-1, it is the 5-0 scoreline which immediately grabs attention.
A warning must come with the fact that England haven’t managed to prevent Australia from winning a match in an Ashes series since their 3-0 success in 1977, but they can’t have faced many poorer Australian teams than this one since then.
Following the initial confidence that will come with the squad announcement, those 20/1 odds will potentially shorten even further should England impress in the two-match Test series against New Zealand in May.
All of which means that if – like Glenn McGrath famously did in 2005 – you feel like predicting a 5-0 success, then it may be wiser to make the move sooner rather than later.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.