Whilst cricket is on the down-low and is not on the minds of many (understandably so), the Ashes 2021/22 will still remain at the forefront of England’s test teams’ planning when cricket eventually resumes when it is safe too.
After the excitement of the World Cup victory, the Ashes were disappointing especially from the position they were in at Edgbaston in the first test where Australia were reeling at 122-8 before Steve Smith stole the show and the Ashes. Ben Stokes at Headingley galvanised the country with his heroic and frankly world-class batting to keep us in contention of winning the Ashes but signs at Old Trafford of the old England crept back in with a demoralising loss before an encouraging yet insignificant win n the final test. In simple, Australia’s batting was catapulted into winning positions from the genius of Steve Smith, the courage of Marnus Labuschagne and the gritty nature of Matthew Wade skillfully supported by a pace brigade of Cummins, Hazlewood, Pattinson, Siddle to an extent Starc as well as the GOAT in the form of the top quality spinner Nathan Lyon. The bowling throughout the series was exceptional and there was little difference between the quality of each line up which highlighted the class and form of Smith and Labuschagne. England’s batting was certainly improved, showed through resilient and determined knocks up and down the order at Headingley and Old Trafford in particular, but other than Stokes’ incredible knock, England were outclassed in the batting department.
From that entertaining series, England has lost in a poor series in New Zealand and signs were looking similar in the first test in South Africa. However, thanks to the introduction of pace spearheaded by Anderson and an injury-free Wood and proper, brilliant batting in challenging conditions led to a 3-1 series win. The new look top order of Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley (Biunrs injured after Test 1) showed promise, courage and a willingness to score runs whilst keeping their wicket intact. Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope in the middle order time and time again built healthy partnerships and both players scored valuable centuries with superb flair, technique and style. This was all accommodated from a firing low order and an exciting bowling attack backed up by the youth of Dom Bess in a real breakthrough series for the off spinner. The series was fun to watch at home but for the England side, it portrayed a winning formula through batting long to make a shed load of runs before knocking the opposition out into sheer obliteration. This is hugely encouraging and welcoming for England fans and players alike as the faith in youth has paid dividend so far…
Welcome to November 2021. Coronavirus is free, life has somewhat returned back to normality and sport is back on the table. Next up for the English side is Australia down under in a mouth-watering contest. The big question is who will make the England squad to hopefully gain revenge on the Aussies after they retained the urn in 2019 and thumped England in 2017/18. Here is who I will predict to see in that England touring squad to contest back for the urn: (22 players bit like Australia’s inter-squad friendly last year)
Joe Root (C)
Ben Foakes (+)
James Bracey (+)
Joe Root remains my captain for the Ashes 2021/22 series because of his improving skills and tactical nous as well as his sheer quality with the ball and improving quality with the ball. Ben Foakes displaces both Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow as my premier keeper due to his superb keeping record and his ability to score runs at the high level as well as at county level (Sri Lanka 2018 maiden century ion debut). The opening trio of Burns, Crawley and Sibley for me is the perfect set of batters to score runs and take on the new cherry at the highest calibre providing platforms for our more explosive middle order batters. At a push, I would have Burns and Sibley opening due to their current record of scoring half-centuries and centuries especially the Surrey man who despite a tough start has really nailed down his place through substantial knocks. James Bracey is a young and promising keeper who has the right technique and temperant to succeed at Test level with bat and gloves.
Warwickshire’s Sam Hain and Somerset’s Tom Abell will play as reverse batsmen as both have amazing potential on the biggest stage of them all. Hain (24) currently averages 37 in county cricket and his ability to score runs consistently is ideal for England whilst Abell (26) averages just north of 31 at some tricky wickets at Taunton. Seamers Ollie Robinson, Olly Stone and Saqib Mahmood also feature in this squad. Robinson has had two incredible years of wicket taking 74 and 63 wickets apiece in first class cricket and most recently starred in the Lions tour of Australia. He is not the quickest of seamers but his ability to maintain an immaculate line and length should suit Australian wickets. Stone has been very unfortunate with injuries but he can reach 90mph and more so he is a prime candidate to add to his only test cap. Mahmood is very similar and will be able to provide competition in the bowling ranks. The rest of the squad is fairly familiar and I have trust in the likes of Broad, Wood, Curran and Archer to lead the pace attack as well as having depth in spin with Bess, Leach and maybe even Moeen.
So there is my squad for the next Ashes down under. I hope you enjoyed reading this and it took your mind off the current situation whilst excitiing you with the depth in England’s batting and bowling. Thank you for reading and see you guys soon.