Ashes series, very often, are won by individual brilliance. Cook and Anderson in 2011, Broad and Strauss in 2009, Gilchrist and Warne in 2006, Flintoff, Vaughn and Pieterson in 2005. Yes cricket is a team sport but you can’t win an ashes series without players that go above and beyond to allow the team to win on the back of their performance. So who’s the
danger mouse danger men in this series?
El capitan. In sensational form, Clarke has scored almost half of Australia’s runs in the past year. There’s no doubt that he is vital to the aussies chances this summer but there are fears about his fitness. His back has caused him so many issues recently and forced his absence from the Champions Trophy but now he’s back. In 2009 he was Australia’s lead scorer with 448 runs and there’s no doubt that if he maintains his fitness he will get close to that once again.
The steely eyed keeper and attacking batsmen, Haddin has been a servant to cricket down under for many years, digging them out of trouble time and time again. He’s a fighter. He’ll give his all and counter attack to devastating effect. He scored 360 runs in last ashes series. Not only does he score runs and is a reliable keeper but he also brings valuable experience to the team at a time when it is most needed. As an England fan he does my haddin.
Siddle is one of my favourite aussies but to be honest that’s not hard to achieve. He first caught my eye in the 2009 ashes series taking five wickets in the final test. He has a bowling average of just over 28 and is handy with the bat. Peter Siddle should not be overlooked. He bowls at a decent pace and is a character that’ll get in the oppositions face.
The run machine. Since the latest ashes series when he scored a huge 766 runs with a high score of 235 not out he has gained consistency, a hard skill to achieve as an opening batsmen. It’s easy to forget that many said he should have been dropped before the 2009 series. Proving his critics wrong a few years later, he achieved the 2nd highest total of runs in an ashes series only behind the great Don Bradman. These days he is England’s captain and there were fears hat the extra responsibility may dent his run scoring brilliance but this has not been the case. He has rapidly expanded his game forcing himself it the ODI side and when he walks out to the middle you can feel the appetite for runs and BBQ chicken.
Slow, boring, shy are word that you don’t associate with KP. On his day, he’s the best batsmen in the world and the best player to watch ever? He has all the shots but what I like about him most is the confidence. The confidence to walk down the track to a quickie and whip him over midwicket with ease. Yes it can get him out but who cares. He can score runs quickly to say the least and when you have Cook, Trott and Bell at the other end for security, KP is allowed to be as outlandish as he likes. He has the licence to go nuts.
The king of swing. In my view, equal best bowler in the world with Dale Steyn of South Africa. His control and the ability to bowl in swing, out swinger, in swinger with precise accuracy and at a decent pace is uncanny. He recently took his 300th wicket in test match cricket and has been the leader of the bowling attack for a number of years. Watching Anderson swing it round corners is probably what I’m most looking forward to watching in the ashes. Now I don’t want to comment on what he does off the field but Anderson is definitely a swinger.
“Time for a bit of Swanny” is something every cricketer has said when they’ve tried to bowl some horrid off spinners in the nets. I reckon he is the best off spinner in the world right now. He gets genuine turn at a whippy pace. Its what I like to call turn and burn. With a line up of several left handers, Swann should enjoy bowling this summer.
Both teams have players that can change games. My prediction for the ashes is for England to win 3-1