Such is the dearth of bowling resources in Australia at the moment that when Richie Benaud received a call checking his availability, he ploughed his car headlong into a wall. Benaud, thank the Lord, is not seriously hurt but just like every other Aussie who is pretty decent at turning his arm over, he is a doubt for the first Test in Brisbane.
Benaud, joking apart, has shoulder and chest injuries and it is hoped that he makes a speedy recovery in time for the action at The Gabba, which begins on November 21. It will be Benaud's 36th summer in the Channel 9 commentary box.
One of the first questions the great man may muse on is whether he has seen a more threadbare Australia bowling attack. As it stands, Mitchell Starc, James Patttinson, Jackson Bird and Pat Cummins, a quartet of impressive tyros, are all nursing aches and pains.
No doubt Benaud, who could probably recall the Woolongabba bus timetable from 1963, has an answer up his sleeve to make the current crisis look like an embarrassment of riches. Still, it is serious enough for some to be chattering about a 5-0 England win.
Admittedly one of those was Sir Ian Botham, whose advice is rarely sought by a punter worth his salt, but there was a bizarre headline on Cricinfo the other day which read 'Sutherland to stay if Ashes lost 5-0'. Sutherland, of course, is the chief executive of Australian cricket and it seems incredible that such a scoreline would be contemplated, let alone discussed Down Under.
England are 44.0043/1 to claim a whitewash and favourites to win a fourth consecutive series at 2.1211/10. Australia are 2.6813/8 and the draw is 5.709/2.
These are straitened times clearly. Australia have hardly been boosted by the performance of their fast bowlers in the one-day series in India. That is not to say that Mitchell Johnson and Clint McKay have been awful, it's just that neither man has, yet, demanded inclusion with thrilling displays.
Johnson is probably a shoo-in for a berth, which will please England's Barmy Army. The left-armer has been worryingly expensive in India and the haywire radar has still not been fixed. McKay, whose three wickets have cost 54 runs apiece, has played only one Test and does not look likely to add to the tally.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, 26, is also on the tour and is yet to play. With only one ODI cap he has been kept out of the side by James Faulkner, whose muscle-bound displays with bat and ball make him a tantalising inclusion for Brisbane.
Faulkner has impressed the selectors with his attitude, not least his trashing of the Poms for their negative attitude during the summer series. If Australia wanted a fifth bowler, then Faulkner would get the nod.
Darren Lehmann, the coach, has already stated that he expects to pick six batsmen, a wicketkeeper and four bowlers. Although Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Johnson will form a pace attack which has the potential for potency, Lehmann knows that over an arduous five-Test series it will be a miracle if all three stay fit.
Therein lies the fear of a 5-0 drubbing. The cupboard is pretty bare. The admirable Ben Hilfenhaus will put up his hand if Australia opt for experience while braver picks will be the untested Josh Hazlewood, the New South Welshman, and Chadd Sayers, a 26-year-old with only 16 first-class appearances.
There has been better news with the bat this week. Michael Clarke is making a strong recovery from his back problem while George Bailey's run feast in India is deserving of a slot for Brisbane. Bailey has been immense and his inclusion would at least plug a leaky hole in the middle-order underbelly.
India expected to hit back in Cuttack
India have three matches to save themselves from another series defeat by Australia. They are 2-1 down following the washout in Ranchi, a no result which proved MS Dhoni is not quite the deity billions of India think. If he really was the anointed one to replace Sachin Tendulkar, then it would never have rained at his home ground just as India's openers were flexing their muscles for a chase.
The prospect of a fifth defeat in their last six against the Aussies in a one-day series is a gruesome one, although judging by pre-series odds and the numbers through the first four games, few are aware that this is a historically one-sided contest.
The hosts are 3.55 for a comeback on the series odds with Australia 1.9010/11 and the drawn series 4.30100/30. It is slightly surprising to see the stalemate so big, particularly when the 3-3 result on the correct score market is as low as 3.55.
Indeed, the venue for the next match on Saturday at Cuttack suggests there is value to be had in such a view. The Brabati Stadium has hosted eight India victories in its last ten matches and is considered a sluggish surface.
That will suit India, who could field an army of spinners in an attempt to stifle Australia. Don't be surprised to see Amit Mishra added to the XI which would give Dhoni no fewer than five spin options.
Back Draw in the India v Australia Series Winner market @ 4.3100/30