I have huge sympathy for Chris Silverwood and Joe Root right now because they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
They have copped a bit of criticism for their decisions so far during this series but they must be true to themselves. They are paid to do jobs that involve making decisions.
And no matter which ones they make, they will be unpopular in some quarters. That’s the nature of the beast.
Had they gone with Jack Leach at Adelaide, for example, there would have been someone questioning how he could play after he got tapped up in Brisbane.
Australian Jason Gillespie has run the rule to Sportsmail on this winter’s Ashes series so far
Joe Root (left) and Chris Silverwood (right) are up against it as they try to keep the Ashes alive
I made pretty clear where I stood on the various selections in these pages last week and advocated playing Mark Wood in that second Test.
But had he done so, there would have been an alternative argument out there that Chris Woakes bowls good line and length and adds depth to the batting.
Silverwood and Root simply have to ignore the outside noise, acquire all the evidence they can and make the best-informed choices to help England win a Test match.
Publicly, Silverwood stood by his selections for the first two Tests, saying he would make the same ones given his time again, and that is quite admirable.
However, I wonder if privately he thought a bit more pace was needed in Adelaide, or a spinner might have played.
But you also need to have the tools at your disposal and England’s thinking has arguably been changed by Australia’s treatment of Leach at the Gabba.
BURNS EARNED CHANCE TO FIRE
The evidence so far suggests that England’s openers are struggling with Australian conditions.
Rory Burns didn’t fire a shot in the first two Tests but he’s a good player, someone still finding his feet at international cricket.
Rory Burns struggled early on in this series but has now earned the right to be key for England
A lot has been made of his quirky technique, but he was picked on the back of really strong county performances for Surrey over a number of years, so I understand the selection and the reason he has been given a run in the side.
As a player you are asked to score heavily at the level you play at if you want to move up. For him it was county cricket, he did it and therefore earned his opportunity.
But, when you play for your country, everything gets scrutinised to the Nth degree, and your technique is broken down and subjected to analysis from expert commentators.
Rory is only human. He will see and hear it but he must be clear on what advice he will take on board in working on his game and what he will filter out.
Burns barely hit a ball at the Gabba but the opener has steadied the ship for the tourists
Haseeb Hameed has shown signs of promise and he copped an absolute brute of a delivery from Jhye Richardson in that second innings at Adelaide Oval. I am not sure many batsmen would have done too much with that.
But I actually think England missed a trick at the start of the series by not choosing Zak Crawley at the top of the order.
The reason? Australia has fast, bouncy tracks and you want players who play short-pitched bowling well. Crawley is one of those.
TIME TO ROLL OUT ‘BARREL’
It might not be widely known, and for a long time no one — me included — seemed to realise it but I was Australia’s first Indigenous Test cricketer.
It is something I consider to be a special honour. For 25 years, I have remained the lone representative of the community but news that Scott Boland will double the numbers in Melbourne on Sunday by becoming the 463rd player to wear the baggy green cap is my greatest Christmas present.
When I was handed mine in November 1996, my background did not come up.
Gillespie (right) was Australia’s first Indigenous Test cricketer between 1996 and 2006
Not that it was a secret. Far from it. Everyone knew I was of Indigenous descent growing up but it just hadn’t reached the cricket fraternity.
My great, great grandfather on my paternal side was an Indigenous man and my mob is the Kamilaroi tribe from northern New South Wales.
My late father Neil was the chief executive of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) in South Australia and Northern Territory.
One of my younger brothers, Robert, has been a field officer for years at ALRM, and is very passionate about the work he does, acting as a liaison between individuals and the authorities to make sure due processes are followed.
Gillespie didn’t dwell on his Aboriginal heritage as a cricketer until a journalist asked him on it
I am incredibly proud of the work he does for our Indigenous brothers. But as a 21-year-old kid, it was not something I dwelt upon. I was just delighted to get picked for Australia.
And it wasn’t until I got a call out of the blue from journalist Robert Craddock a couple of years later that it came into the public domain. No one had realised I had Aboriginal heritage, he said. You didn’t ask, I told him.
It was at the point I discovered I was Australia’s first Indigenous cricketer. I had no idea.
Scott Boland could become the next Aboriginal player to turn out for Australia this week
I presumed there must have been so many players over the years that had similar ancestry, so I was absolutely gobsmacked to discover otherwise.
Boland, nicknamed ‘Barrel’ because of the size of his chest, is one of those bowlers who runs in hard all day. A great lad who has performed strongly for the best part of a decade for Victoria.
I am pumped that he has been given his chance to play for Australia.
NO HAZLEWOOD, NO PROBLEM
We may not see Josh Hazlewood now for the remainder of the Ashes series.
I don’t know that from a medical point of view, it’s just from my own experience that side strains are tricky little buggers and take longer than you think.
Josh Hazlewood (left) could miss the rest of the Ashes after picking up a side strain
All fast bowlers have one at some point in their careers, they tend to be a six-week injury and so I will be surprised if he features again.
Hazlewood is a huge asset for Australian cricket as one of the best fast bowlers in the world and I am not sure they’re going to risk him doing further injury when they know they’ve got some back-up bowling in Jhye Richardson, Michael Neser and Scott Boland. There’s no reason to rush him back.