With the Test series against the Indians out of their way, the countdown clock to the Ashes would have started ticking in both, the Australian and English captains’ minds. Most importantly, the fans around the world would have marked dates on the calendar, booked their tickets for the Ashes if they are in Australia or intending to get there or even booked new television sets for the match-up.
The piece previews what could lie in store for the fans in the upcoming Ashes 2010 that begins from November 25.
End of the road or a new beginning?
Evidently, Ricky Ponting has come under much pressure from the critics and the recent Twitter outburst from Shane Warne (and despite his subsequent clarification) was just one of the cases in point. Unfortunately for the Australian captain, much of the criticism that has come his way is not without basis. Ponting has lost Test series to South Africa, India (twice), England and drawn with Pakistan as opposed to the clean record that he had before the Aussie greats bade goodbye.
Ponting, in the process, had become the first Australian captain since the early 1930s to lose the Ashes twice – a record that he would like to erase by getting the better of the opposition by a similar margin that he had in the previous Ashes in Australia.
A loss to the English captain will not go down too well to the selectors, fans and critics alike and he could just be on his way out. A win, on the other hand, may not allow too much leeway beyond the 2011 World Cup but will provide him some breathing space to get his act together. Ponting would know that it is an almost no-win scenario.
English batsmen v Australian bowlers:
The Aussie captain, Ponting, had recently pointed out that the English batsmen would be nervous going into the series given that some of them have been without too many runs. Alastair Cook did have his issues with falling over facing up to the ball that left him while Kevin Pietersen’s presence and the lack of runs was defined as divisive by former Australian coach, John Buchanan.
Things may get a tad easier for the English batsmen in one sense though. The Australian tracks are usually not too famous for their ability to assist the bowlers in swing and seam – apart from, say, the Gabba at Brisbane. Besides, Pietersen’s issues were more associated with the manner in which the left-arm spinners got the better of him – something that shouldn’t affect him too much given the lack of spin options in the Aussie ranks.
What the English batsmen will need to be wary of is the bounce on the tracks. Apart from playing in South Africa late last year, the English batsmen haven’t had too much experience in the last three years or so playing on the hard and bouncy pitches. How they adjust will be an interesting proposition.
Continued in Part II of this piece…
About the Author
Written by Suneer Chowdhary
A cricket-aspirant at the age of 12, tried my hand at pace bowling, but those were the days of India aspiring for spinners! So, chose the next best option to profess my love towards cricket; became a cricket writer instead