Cricket Fans and Writers Help “Crowdsource” The 2010-11 Ashes

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The 2010-2011 Ashes kick off this Thursday at The Gabba in what promises to be the closest fought Ashes series down under in recent history. Predicting which way this one will go is an unenviable task. England’s preparations couldn’t have gone smoother. Meanwhile, the rather shaky preparations of Australia are unusually reminiscent of English sides in years gone by. But can you really neglect the significance of home advantage and put your faith in this English side?

To answer this question we enlisted the help of a group of aspiring cricket writers from England, Australia and further afield (to try and eliminate any potential bias). We asked them for an exact scoreline for the series along with any pearls of wisdom they might have in under a 100 words. By “crowd-sourcing” these fine cricketing brains we intend to tap into their collective intelligence and shed any light on what looks like being the most open series yet.

Come Wednesday evening we’ll pool all the results from cricket writers and comments and see the outcome of this immense collective intelligence.

Here’s what they came up with…

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Alex Bowden – writes at: King Cricket | Bias: England

3-2 to England, although if Australia win the first Test, I expect England to get battered (because that’s what happens in Australia).

“Swann to take most wickets; Strauss to score most runs; Finn to be the tallest player throughout the series; Shane Watson to actually cry when Australia lose the series. And not a single, mournful tear from Watson either. I mean proper, red-faced wailing and bawling. I expect visible snot.”

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Ben Roberts – writes at: Balanced Sports and World Cricket Watch | Bias: Australia

“To begin with an honest admission: I am not bothered by an English victory. England will win the series 3-1. Truly England is the more complete side and if Australia were to win this series they will have stolen it. I now understand what supporting the English side was like in the 1990’s.

I would expect Michael Hussey to bow out with a final test at the WACA ground. Australia has not regenerated and it has become embarrassing to watch a once great player fail consistently. There is talent across the Sheffield Shield deserving of a chance.”

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Betti Woo – writes at Poshin’s World | Bias: Australia

“I’ve been predicting for well over a year now that England will retain the Ashes, either by drawing the series here in Australia (1-1) or by winning it outright (2-1). If I have to choose, I’d very reluctantly and regrettably have to say that England will win it 2-1. (Draws: Boxing Day and SCG; England win: Perth and, plausibly, Adelaide.)

“PJ O’Rourke claims that ‘age and guile beat youth, innocence and a bad haircut’. Australia has plenty of age and bad hair cuts, but is pitifully short on either youth or guile. I think that’s a losing combination.”

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Christopher Poshin – writes at: Poshin’s World | Bias: Neutral

“Never has the Australian team been so weak, and never has the English team so full of confidence and perhaps this is England’s best chance to win a test series in well over a decade in Australia.  I predict the final scoreline to be 2-1 favouring the visitors, and this series to be one of the closest we have had in recent times.”

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Daniel Gray – writes at: World Cricket Watch | Bias: Australia

“The 10/11 Ashes will be a series of contrasts. A  champion team on the way down vs. an upstart young team on the rise. The last gasp vs. the new guard. Will Ponting, Hussey & co get the send off they feel they deserve or will it be another humiliation for Punter? I don’t think the Aussies have the form or the cattle to get across the line this time. The Test side is due for an overhaul,  and will look very different in a year from now if my prediction is correct. It pains me to type this, but I’m tipping an English series win, 3-1.”

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David Green – writes at: The Reverse Sweep and World Cricket Watch | Bias: England

“This is clearly England’s best chance to win a series down under for 25 years, but whilst they would appear to have the strongest side on paper, are well led by Strauss and Flower and have undoubted resilience they will underestimate an Australian side playing on home soil at their peril. Expect to see a closely fought see-saw series with Broad, Swann, KP and Bell shining for England and Hilfenhaus, Watson and Ponting starring for Australia. We cannot split the sides so go for a 2-2 draw, which means England will retain the urn.”

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James Stephens – writes at: World Cricket Watch | Bias: Australia

“Australia to regain the Ashes wining 3-1 with one draw. England will win in Adelaide. Australia to win in Brisbane, Western Australia and Sydney Boxing Day test at the MCG to be drawn.

“This will indeed be a very close and tight series. I think the English batsmen will force changes to the Australian bowling selection, with Steven Smith to get the nod and Nathan Horrible to be dropped. Whilst I’m not a great fan of Ponting’s captaincy I think he will lift in this series and motivate his side by scoring plenty of runs and answer the critics who are saying his time as skipper is up. Jimmy Anderson will be the pick of the English bowlers, and he’ll be the only bowler in Adelaide to take a bag. Should Australia lose this series, Ponting will be dropped and wholesale changes will sweep through the Aussie squad.”

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Jarrod Kimber -writes at: Cricket with Balls and appears on Test Match Sofa | Bias: Australia

Australia 2-1

“I can never tell if I’m excited about an Ashes until it starts.  Obviously I’m as adrenalized as I can be for the key battle of Trott Vs Hauritz, but beyond that I don’t know what to think.  I feel some rain, and perhaps even some pitches that don’t come out of the Cricket Executive Brown Pitch colour guide might pop up, and that will mean something.   I need the sort of guidance that only Mitchell’s mother can provide, and where is she when you need her.  Marcus North will be the key, I’m just not sure what side he is the key for.”

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Jon Hotten – writes at: The Old Batsman | Bias: England

“God knows why, but I think there will be four results from the five games, either 2-2 or 3-1 England. I’d lean towards the former, in the same way I wouldn’t necessarily walk under a ladder if I didn’t have to…

“Australia remind me a bit of Mike Tyson in his later years – once great, now subtley altered, tortured by the past and fighting because it’s all they know. England will only fail if they take on the memory and the image, rather than the current reality.”

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Kirby Meehan – Writes at: Thoughts from the Dustbin | Bias: Australian

Australia will win 2-1.

“Australia’s recent form has been poor, but they still have a superior batting side on paper at least. If they can convert that into reality, and the bowlers stay fit, Australia should win. England are the best they have been in several years and won’t give up easily, but the home ground advantage will tip the series in Australia’s favour.”

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Matthew Wood – writes at: Balance Sports and World Cricket Watch | Bias: Australia

England 2 -1 Australia

“Why?  It comes down to talent.  England simply has more of it: a strike bowler whose best (only?) ball isn’t three-feet wide of off-peg.  A spinner who can and does take wickets.  A genuine allrounder rather than part-timers.  Batting consistency.  All these factors add up to an England series win even though it’s an away series for them.  One thing’s for sure, the Aussies won’t surrender but the team fielded by England is just better than the Aussie one.  The talent is there for Australia but it’s not yet harnessed (I’m looking at YOU, Phil Hughes) and they’re full of grit but ultimately talent wins and the Old Enemy has more of it.”

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Nick Harrison – writes at: Harris Sports Thoughts | Bias: England

“I reckon it will be a close series. With brittle batting line-ups on either side, I suspect there’ll be positive results in all test matches. My head says that the paucity of fit, in-form Australian bowlers will mean that England will edge the series 3-2. My heart says that Australia will nick it by the same margin. My heart is pessimistic and doesn’t like to tempt fate and has been broken too many times by fearless Australian cricketers with the survival instincts of cockroaches. This time I’ll go with my head though – England. Just.”

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Patrick Kidd – Writes at The Times and has a new book out called The Best of Enemies | Bias:England

Prediction: England 3 Australia 2

“A couple of weeks ago, I might have forecast an Australia win or perhaps a 2-2 draw, but the closer we get to Brisbane the more convinced I am that the stars are in alignment and that England might actually do it. Neither side’s batting looks like it will make 400 frequently, so I’m tipping no draws and a thrilling conclusion in Sydney with Swann and Panesar taking 16 wickets between them. But who will Australia’s spinner be by then, given their selection chaos since Warne retired? I reckon they’ll choose Xavier Doherty in Brisbane, Steve Smith in Adelaide, no one in Perth, Tim May in Melbourne and then, after a fast-tracked change of citizenship, Murali in the decider.”

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Rishabh Bablani writes at: The Adventures of Billy Worm | Bias: None

“25th November is an important day. Mark your calendars, you know why. Yes, we’re celebrating the opening of Agatha Christie’s classic play ‘The Mousetrap,’ and also Pakistani legend Imran Khan’s birthday. But more importantly, it’s also the day The Ashes begins. It may not have the quality that the 2005 series has, as we saw last year, but that urn is going to be fiercely, competitively fought for.The evenness makes it slightly (way) harder to make a prediction, but I think the Aussies will nick this one 2-1. Here’s why: Things are going too well for England lately, and Australia in Australia is a different team. Even North may make runs. Also watch out for the first ball of the Ashes, that could be your prediction right there.”

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Sarah Ansell – writes and photographs at Sarah Canterbury | Bias: English

England to win The Ashes 2-1.

“I can’t remember ever feeling so excited about an Ashes series or indeed filled with more optimism! I’m usually glass half full when it comes to cricket – self preservation honed through supporting England during my formative years. Plus it’s all going too well – England going from strength to strength since The Oval in 2009, the Aussies supposedly in decline…. It’s never that simple though, is it??! I’m predicting key contributions from Bell & Broad and mostly hoping to photograph Straussy lift that urn at either Perth or Melbourne. Bring It On!”

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Shane Warne – pundit and all time cricket legend | Bias: Australian and betting commitments

“Australia have only lost a couple of series at home in the last twenty years. It’s England best chance if you look at the squad with Swann giving England that added dimension. I think it will be a very close hard fought series. I’m going to tip Australia to win 2-1 but I think it will be a great series and one to watch.”

*Taken from an interview with 888 panelists.

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Steve Busfield – Writes at The Guardian and appears on Test Match Sofa | Bias: England

“I keep on changing my mind on this. I used to think that England would lose 1-2, but now I think we will win (2-1)

Brisbane – England win, Adelaide – draw, Perth – draw, MCG – Australia win, SCG – England win

Warning: I’m not a predictions expert though…”

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Subash Jayaraman – Writes at The Cricket Couch | Bias: None

1) Ashes Prediction: Australia 2-1 England (I am thinking Adelaide and Sydney would be draws. Brisbane and MCG would be Aus wins and Perth for England.)

“Australia are not as bad as what people would have you believe, especially, if Siddle comes back to take the new ball with Hilfenhaus. They are playing at home, and wounded, bleeding Australia at home conditions are always dangerous. A lot of ink has been wasted mocking the Australian batting line up but the Poms are not any better. Actually, the Aus opening pair is more solid than England’s. If Watson and Katich can give any sort of decent sort, Ponting (who knows, this could be his last Ashes!) will bring the hammer down.

There is also a lot of hype about England’s bowling line up. Besides Anderson, none of them have played Ashes in Australia. The Aussies did not do too bad against Mohd Amir and Mohd Asif when they played them in Australia earlier this year. I am not sure the English seamers are that much better than those two. Yes, there was that first inning collapse in Sydney, but that’s gonna happen here and there. The Australians hung in against India in India recently as well, and came with in inches of Steven Smith throw from winning the test match at Mohali.

Although the current form (and hype) would have one believe that England are going to win this 5-0, England won almost all of their recent matches in swing happy conditions at home.”

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Suneer Chowdhary – writes at: Cricket Diaries | Bias: None

“It is difficult to see how Australia can regain the urn. The batting looks wobbly, the bowling can easily be put under pressure these days, spin is non-existent and Greg Chappell is still a part of the think-tank! That said, what worries me about England is that they have never been in this position before – going into an away Ashes as favourites to win this. This is a new situation for them and it boils down to the matter of adaptability; how well they adapt to being favourites.

I still see an alive fifth rubber going into Sydney.”

My prediction, 2-1 for England.

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Thomas Maston – writes at Maston in the Middle and World Cricket Watch | Bias: England

My scoreline prediction is 2-2.

“Despite what many people are saying, Australia aren’t that far behind England. Both sides have weaknesses in the batting department and time will only tell how England’s bowlers will fair down under. This years Ashes could easily match the excitement of the 2005 series, and not many would be disappointed with that.”

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Help Crowd-Source The Ashes and Share in the Comments Your…

1) Exact Scoreline

2) 100 Words of Ashes Wisdom

3) Potential Bias


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Comments

  1. Matt says

    2-2, Bias to England

    Run down the batting and bowling avergaes, look at the relative experience, and things look remarkably tight between the two sides. Therefore, why go for anything other than a draw?

  2. Rooto says

    Bias: England.
    My bias is to England. I am English. This can only mean one thing – I’m tipping the Aussies to win 2-1. All this media talk of better players, better form, better management and even comparable team spirit is a clever ruse to make the inevitable fall all the more distressing and soul-destroying. Orwell described how Big Brother would only shoot you after the brain-washing. Accept your fate and the suffering will come to an end. Cricket’s crueller than that.

  3. says

    1) 2=2

    2) History shows that it’s bloody hard to come away from Australia with anything, but that’s because Australia usually have better players. This time, England have the better players and the more settled back office – so an England win? Well, history weighs heavy as does home advantage and the fact that England only need the draw and that’s what I expect them to get

    3) England

  4. says

    A crowd-sourcing suggestion: you need to pool all the predictions to come out with a crowd-sourced result and therefore show it’s power! Haven’t got time now to do it myself. It’s almost bed.

    1) 2-1 England
    2) It will be so tough. Australia on their own wicket are horrible and England will need all their mental strength to do it. They are a humble lot, though and have had an excellent build up.
    3) England.

  5. David Siddall says

    Hey arjuna, thanks for the advice. The plan is to pool the predictions from both cricket writers and fans prior to the opening Test on Wednesday evening.

  6. says

    England win 3 -2.

    Australia continue to be the only team knowing how to win at the Gabba and doing it in style.

    Pietersen kicks into form. Ricky Ponting responds.Hussey resists. Swann spins it in Englands favor.

    Aussies bounced out at the WACA. World hails Tremlett as the next ‘big’ thing.

    England unnerved by huge crowds and pressure to wrap it up. Melbourne swings to Hilfenhaus’ heroics. 2 all and all to play for.

    Three days of scrappy cricket and then it all explodes. Swann the hero, yet again. Strauss proudly holds the urn aloft!

  7. UKOH says

    (1) Depends on the Gabba. If England win, or its a draw then series is 3 – 0 for England. If Australia win the old vodoos will surface and nerves will allow Australia to win 4-0

    (2)I’m an old codger who has been following England since the 1960’s. I was in scout camp and assigned to water carrying duties constantly as a punishment for getting on everybody’s nerves during the deciding test of 1962. Richie Benoud won it for Australia then and they have a habit of comming up with unlikely heros. I’m far too long in the tooth to follow the hype and make England favourites.

    (3) Bias: England

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