Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 22 Days Until the Ashes
David Green aka The Reverse Sweep profiles the England Ashes squad.
With just over three weeks to go and England’s first warm-up match against Western Australia imminent, it seems an apt time to look over the sixteen hungry men with whom rest England’s chances of retaining the Ashes.
Andrew Strauss – A calm and collected head prefect who led from the front with inspirational gusto in 2009. Has a wonderful chance to consign personal nightmares of 2006/07 to the waste bin and write his name in infamy alongside other England captains who have won the Ashes on Australian soil like Jardine, Hutton, Illingworth and Brearley.
Alastair Cook – Had a disappointing summer his battling hundred at The Oval apart and has a poor record against Australia. Can expect to be on the receiving end of plenty of Australian verbals but seems pretty unphased in that department.
Jonathan Trott – England’s Mr Dependable at first drop over the summer. If he can maintain that form and unflustered approach, the naturalised South African could be set for a big series. Is sure to annoy the Australians with his crease fidgeting antics.
Kevin Pietersen – A big series for England’s key batsman. As the old adage goes, form is temporary but class is permanent. And KP is an undoubtedly high-class batsman. But the trough has now become a chasm save his man of the series performances in the World T20. Even so back him to deliver when it really counts.
Ian Bell – Finally seems to have added steel to his immense talent and could be finally set to deliver against the Australians, despite a wretched record. Our tip to be England’s leading batsman in the series along with Pietersen.
Paul Collingwood – Another who had a disappointing summer, but someone you would always want in the trenches when the battle is at its fiercest. Proof of that lies in his test average of 47 away from home. If England produce another great escape to rival Cardiff, Centurion or Cape Town expect the doughty Colly to be right in the frontline.
Eoin Morgan – Will likely start the series on the sidelines, but has all the ingredients to make an immediate impression should his unorthodox talents be called upon.
Matt Prior – England’s man with the gloves provides reliability behind the stumps and consistency with the bat. Will be full of confidence after a good summer and won’t be phased by the pressure of an Ashes series down under.
Steve Davies – Unlikely to feature, but at least will be able to mix an exquisite gin and tonic by the end of the trip. One for the future.
Graeme Swann – England’s mainman with the ball and perhaps the key to retaining the Ashes. Off-spinners don’t traditionally do well in Australia, but not many get the spin, turn or bounce of Swann and none have had his confidence and boundless enthusiasm.
Monty Panesar – Did well when belatedly called upon in 2006/07 and won’t let anyone down if a second spinner is required in Adelaide or Sydney. But, please let’s not have to rely on Monty’s batting again like at Cardiff.
Stuart Broad – Hundred in his last test at Lord’s shows he can be a genuine test all-rounder if he puts his mind to it. Should enjoy the conditions with bat and ball and could end up as England’s most dangerous seamer. Has a wonderful opportunity to emulate his father and be one of the main reasons behind England retaining the Ashes in Australia.
James Anderson – Can he produce the goods with the kookaburra on non-swinging Australian pitches? Anderson now has the opportunity to prove all the critics wrong and is a markedly better bowler than in 2006/07. Plus this time, he will have the new ball to exhibit all the tricks in his armoury.
Steve Finn – Strong start to his England career, but this is the acid test and five matches in seven weeks on the hard and unforgiving Australian pitches is a big ask. That said, has all the weapons to thrive on the quick and bouncy wickets down under.
Chris Tremlett – England’s wild card has all the ability in the world and if played at the right time could prove to be the secret weapon that wins the Ashes. Frank Tyson came from nowhere to star in the 1954/55 series and the 2010/11 edition could be Tremlett’s turn. Could put Finn under pressure for a starting place if he performs in the warm-up matches.
Tim Bresnan – When a group of Englishmen go abroad, there is normally one fat lad in their number. Beer, barbecues and a free ticket to the cricket makes Bres one lucky man even if he won’t see much action.
Andy Flower (Coach) – Has a chance to complete his transformation of the England cricket side from chumps to champs. Union with Strauss is crucial to England’s progress.
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