Yet another edition of Ashes, the oldest and most prestigious, bilateral cricket series gets underway on the 10th of this month. Traditional rivals England and Australia take on each other for one of the most awaited test match cricket series of recent times.
England is currently the No.1 ranked test side in the world and truly remains so. They boast of great balance and composition to their side, both on paper and on form. In addition, they are lead by Alastair Cook, a fantastic batsman and a great leader of men. He’s got a great demeanor and is one of the coolest guys in world cricket, on par with India’s MS Dhoni. Kevin Pietersen returns to the English side after an injury sidelined him for the best part of 2013. KP is a match winner on any day and his return would surely bolster the English batting.
England looked on a different platter, ever since they won the difficult sub-continental tour. Alastair Cook’s men have showed great character and substance in living up to the pressure cooker scenario in dreaded sub-continental conditions. Their batting looks stronger, with Chef and Joe Root opening the batting. The likes of KP, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell and Bairstow beef up the middle order. Trott, in particular is in the form of his life.
English bowling looks menacing with James Anderson leading the pack. Incisive Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, the lanky pacer and the beefy Tim Bresnan make up the pace department. All seem to come up with and are capable of producing a wicket when their captain demands one. Graeme Swann lends serious balance to the side with a loopy, accurate and deceptive off-spin bowling. Matt Prior is a plucky wicket keeper, batsman who has been pretty consistent with the bat. However, they missed a trick or two in leaving out Nick Compton.
England are certainly the favorites going into the series.
On the other hand, Aussies are listless and are going through uncertain times. Michael Clarke, talks of a side in transition and thus sums up the woes in the side. They just sacked their coach, Micky Arthurs, who was eccentric and clownish in banning 4 of his players for a test match in India.
However, Australia have some experience in their skipper, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin among others. Their pace department too looks strong with James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and the bullish Peter Siddle. They also feature an young prospect in Ashton Agar, an offie.. Australia are without their stars and looks weak on paper. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to write off an Australian side, even before the series gets underway, as they are known for their ferocity and aggressive brand of cricket.
The fans, however, can sit back and enjoy a high quality test match cricket series, for the next couple of months.
image courtesy: www.mirror.co.uk