Cricket: Why the Ashes will not be a walkover for England!

11/07/2013 no comments »
Cricket: Why the Ashes will not be a walkover for England!

The Ashes start today with the first test at Nottinghamshire’s Trent Bridge ground, and I am of the opinion that it will not be a walkover for England.

I can remember when the Australians outclassed England for years, with world class players like the Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath all doing the damage, and as an Englishman it would give me great pleasure to see us whitewash them this year, but I cannot see that happening.

One reason I think it will be closer than many think, is that as a nation the Australians do perform at their best when they are written off, as the recent British and Irish Lions Tour shown, when the Wallabies who played a winger at fly-half and had three men taken off injured during the first test came within a whisker of victory. Albeit they were thrashed in the decider, but they showed that they could win in the second test and they were favourites going into the last game to completely turn the bookmaker’s odds around, as they were underdogs at the start.

One other reason I think the Australians will rise is the appointment of Darren Lehmann as coach, as he is respected and well-liked by the players, so they will give their all for him on the field. I also think their batting line up which has been a weakness recently, has been strengthened, as it is reported that Australia will have Chris Rogers opening and Ed Cowan along with Captain Michael Clarke coming in at three and four respectively. This is a good move as Rogers has experience of English conditions, so if he, Cowen and Clarke can see off the dangerous new ball, then this can lay a platform for the younger members of the squad coming in to bat later.

This would give the more destructive batsman in the Australian squad like Shane Watson, David Warner, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja a better opportunity to perform, as it is always easier coming in to bat when there are already runs on the board.

One other reason for my opinion is that England are in the unusual position of being huge favourites and this is something we have not handled well in the past, so this could be a window of opportunity for the tourists as they have nothing to lose.

I do think England will win the series but it will not be a five nil whitewash, I am predicting a two match to one result with James Anderson, Kevin Pietersen and spinner Graeme Swann all producing match winning performances along the way. Let us see if I am proved correct, it would be interesting to know other people’s opinions on how this much anticipated series will go?

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