Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Ashes 2010 is here!

It is always a pleasure to watch a cricket match played in the plush grounds of countries in the southern hemisphere. The wee hour viewing adds to the thrill too! And with The Ashes starting in two days and an intriguing India vs South Africa test series set for December, the schedule offers a mouth-watering recipe for cricket lovers.

The Ashes this time is more interesting with the stage being set for a reversal of fortunes as Australia, probably for the first time in years, start as underdogs in an Ashes encounter.

Why Australia Can?
  • The last time they’d lost an Ashes series at home dates back to 1987. That’s a terrific psychological factor that might work wonders for them if they can back themselves up with a nice collective effort.
  • They humiliated England with a 5-0 whitewash the last time the two teams met in Australia.
Key Players:
Ricky Ponting – His career, more or less, hangs in the balance and it is at these times that one can expect a resilient comeback from punter.

Mitchell Johnson – His fierce bowling should fire if Australia is to start-off well. He is one person capable of causing considerable damage to the not so weak/not so formidable English batting line-up.

Surprise Package:
Xavier Doherty – A relatively new player,he could be a surprise package given England’s proficieny,or the lack of it, against spinners.He is filling the shoes of a legend whose middle name is Keith. It is mighty difficult to fit in them but in wickets such as Gabba and SCG, a spinner’s contribution can come handy & only time will tell if Australia’s decision to drop Hauritz for Doherty would help their cause.

Liability:
Michael Clarke – He has been going through a trough and has been dismal. He somehow needs to regroup . The only solace for the vice captain is the fact that his captain too seems to be sailing in the same boat.

Why Australia Can’t?

  • For the first time in about 20 years, they have had a string of three consecutive losses. They are under the phase of such an ebb!
  • In Bowling they are certainly second best to England on paper . Their batting too, based on current form of key batsmen, doesn’t seem to pip that of the English. 
Why England Can?

  • They have the Ashes with them and are considered favourites by many. This would be a new situation for them as they have always been considered the challengers for a majority of Ashes series over the past 25 years.
  • They are currently on a very good streak and there are no reasons why that should end any soon.
  • They have the trophy and a drawn series would help them retain the urn making their equation simpler.
Key Players:
The deadly duo of Graeme Swann & Stuart Broad – They more than compensate for the loss of their successful Ashes mainstay Andrew Flintoff. When they start taking the wickets, they do so in a hurry and change the complexion of games. They also come in handy with their bats and that could help when the top order collapses.

Surprise Package:
Jonathan Trott – This solid find for English cricket would want to go big this time & add to his excellent effort in the Ashes 09 & he looks capable of doing that.

Liablility:
Kevin Pietersen – All eyes will be on this dashing debonair batter. He is out of sorts and would find this big stage a good opportunity to make a sound statement on his prowess.

Why England Can’t?

  • The history of Ashes would haunt them and the fact that they are playing away from Home might also be a deterrent.
  • Their batters haven’t exactly been exemplary on the Australian wickets. Posting a solid first innings score is a must & they have a tough task in doing that.
  • The Aussies are at an all-time low and as clich├ęd as it may sound – Nothing is more dangerous than a wounded big cat on the prowl.
My Prediction: England retaining the Ashes with a 2-1 or a 2-2 scoreline. Come on Pommies!

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