Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 34 Days Until the Ashes…
Ashes fever is really hotting up in the media. If we were to believe everything we read then we’d be left with no doubt that there are gaping holes in both the Australian and English lineups. We could be forgiven for thinking that neither side has a clue. Only this week Ricky Ponting has questioned the has pointed to rabid frailties in the England batting lineup. Meanwhile Barney Ronay, journalist in the England camp, has written about the current dire state of the Australian lineup. Even the Herald Sun has bagged its own national side.
Doom-saying and over-hyping seem to be the call of the day when the traditional media starts the bandwagon rolling. In this article however, I’d like to take rather a different tact. Instead of pointing out the seemingly large cracks emerging in each lineup, I’d rather identify 3 players for each team who might be categorised as the “Ever-Dependables”.
1. Shane Watson – Has forged a consistent opening partnership with Simon Katich at the top of the order ever since that Edgbaston Test. He has the full range of shots and plunders them at a healthy rate in the Haydenesque mould. Love him or hate him you can’t deny he’s been Mr. reliable.
2. Ricky Ponting – Ok, you can question the captaincy of Ricky Ponting but you surely cannot question his batting even in this, the twilight of his career. Even when he has a supposed slumps he manages to get out of ruts with hard fought innings exemplified in the series just played in India.
3. Ben Hilfenhaus – He has great control, bowls wicket to wicket, gets the ball to nip around a little bit and can bowl all day. Australia’s most consistent bowler in the sub-continent – he was a constant threat.
Almost made it: Katich (has an ave of 33 vs England), Mitchell Johnson (amazing player but surely not “reliable”), Dougie Bollinger (reliable but might not even start come Ashes time).
England’s Ever Dependables
1. Andrew Strauss – Has been England’s most prolific batsmen ever since taking over the captaincy. Dispatches a ball with any width outside the off stump in consummate fashion and is arguably England’s finest stroke-maker in the test format, especially when you consider KP’s slump. His captaincy looks strong and the partnership with Andy Flower has made the English team somewhat formidable.
2. Graeme Swann – What more can you say about Graeme Swann. He’s been a revelation ever since returning to the England side as a matured character.
3. Stuart Broad – Has been a consistent performer for England despite his demeanour not always being appealing to some fans. A combative hungry cricketer who can adapt his bowling to many different conditions. Hopefully he can continue his batting exploits that appeared to have been rekindled in the Pakistan series.
Almost made it: James Anderson (unproven in Aus but a completely different bowler), Matt Prior (valuable runs down the order and glovework improved immeasurably), Steven Finn (consistent and impressive career to date), Jonathan Trott (Cemented his place as England’s number 3 with endless concentration).
Do you Agree with these Selections??
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