There is anticipation in the air for this summer’s Ashes series. A clash between old rivals England and Australia on the cricket field is one to be savored and the battle for the historic urn in 2023 could be one of the most entertaining in living memory.
England will go into this summer’s Ashes in just about the best shape possible. Ten Test victories from their last 12 Test matches is stellar form and proof that “Bazball” is working well for this bullish English side. The statistics are relatively strong in England’s favor too.
England has not lost an Ashes series on home soil in 22 years, which explains why they are -130 favorites with FanDuel Sportsbook to win the series outright. These odds are fair considering this operator is known as one of the top experts in sports betting. Having originally operated as a daily fantasy sports (DFS) site, it has since expanded its offering and is now one of the top five sportsbook brands in the US according to OddsChecker, a leading comparison portal.
So let’s take a look at England’s chances and the reasons why 2023 is set to be one of the best Ashes of all times.
How will Bazball fare Against the ‘old enemy’?
England’s new ultra-aggressive approach will certainly pose Australia plenty of problems. England’s scoring rates in the recent series have averaged more than four-and-a-half runs an over. This proved the undoing of the likes of India, Pakistan, and South Africa, and should have been too much for New Zealand were it not for a late collapse in the deciding Test.
From Australia’s perspective, they will hope that England’s positivity eventually proves their undoing, as it did in their second Test defeat to New Zealand. England’s overly ambitious stroke-making to New Zealand’s short-pitched bowling saw wickets given away as freely as Christmas cards in December.
If Pat Cummins and his team can indulge England’s confidence, Bazball could yet prove a somewhat naive approach on the biggest cricketing stage of all.
Australia have plenty of experience and match-winners of their own. In fact, two of the top three batters in the ICC Test rankings are Australian. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith are the first and third-best batters on the planet right now. Smith is taking this summer’s Ashes seriously. He’s penned a short-term deal with Sussex to play a handful of games in the English County Championship to acclimatize to the English conditions.
Can the 2023 Ashes live up to its Billing?
In many ways, this summer’s Ashes has all the hallmarks of the 2005 series. Like then, this England side is full of flair and personality, with up-and-coming talent who are desperate to make their mark. Harry Brook has made a stunning start to his Test career, notching four centuries in six Tests at a strike rate of almost a run a ball.
Brook and several other England players are due to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before the Ashes, so England’s selectors will have everything crossed that they return home fit and firing for the first ball on June 16th at Edgbaston.
The Key Players Who Will Decide The Outcome
Winning (or losing) The Ashes is a team effort, but there are always a few standout performers who lift their team to victory (or in some cases, under-perform and harm their chances). So who could have a key impact in this year’s Ashes series? Let’s take a look.
Replacing Anderson and Broad
It’s not always the performing players who influence the Ashes. Sometimes it’s the ones who aren’t playing.
It’s not yet clear whether James Anderson and Stuart Broad will form part of the England Ashes squad but, even if they do, it’s unlikely that they’ll take center stage. They’ve both been terrific servants for English cricket, but they’re now both past 35, so their days of being key players for England are over.
They’ll still get field time, but England’s chances will in part rest on their ability to adequately replace the successful duo. Replacement candidates include Ollie Robinson, who has hit fine form just in time, as well as Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
Waving goodbye to Anderson and Broad is the end of an era, but one that’s necessary if England are going to retain the Ashes.
Everyone knows that having a fully fit Ben Stokes in the England squad dramatically improves their chances of success. The question is, will he be fit for the Ashes? A recurring knee issue has prevented Stokes from delivering his best form, yet, with several months still to go before the action gets underway, there’s still time for the cricketer to move past his injury problems.
The odds of Stokes arriving at the Ashes in perfect condition would be greatly improved if he wasn’t playing in the IPL, but, as it stands, he will be. As such, a 100% fit Stokes is unlikely, and that could be costly in England’s pursuit of avenging the embarrassment of the 2021/22 Ashes series.
Cameron Green is the next great hope for Australian cricket. He’ll become their best player at some stage or another and his rapid progress suggests that it could happen in this summer’s Ashes. He has a better batting average for his age than the majority of well-known batters and recently hit 100 against India.
The hopes of the nation aren’t on his shoulders yet, but don’t be surprised if he becomes the player everyone is talking about come the close of the Ashes.
How good is Marnus Labuschagne? Well, good enough to give England nightmares. He hits runs for fun and is well on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats for his country. If he can do it in England, that legacy will be assured.
There are question marks over how well Labuschagne can perform away from home, but there’s enough talent there for the cricketer to remove all doubts this summer.
Anything Can Happen
A great Australia team will be taking on a good, not yet great England team. But with home advantage, there’s more than enough scope for England to pull off a victory. At the very least, we can be sure this won’t be a repeat of the 4-0 drubbing Australia gave England in the last Ashes series. It’s all to play for.