So, England and Australia lock horns. Again. As in 2010, this is just an ODI tour. Not the Ashes; although, if you’re desperate for Ashes Tests, you’ll have 10 on the bounce next year. It’s no wonder many are saying that this is overkill.
This is one of the great rivalries in cricket. It is certainly the oldest. Yet now it is being flogged by marketing men chasing the money. You can’t blame them, it’s their job, but they are in real danger of killing the golden goose.
One of the great sights of an Ashes series, notably Down Under, is the number of travelling fans. Will they feel the need to travel and spend their hard earned if they can just wait a few months and watch the encounters on their own doorstep?
Whatever your view, this five match series is happening, starting at Lord’s tomorrow. It will all be done and dusted by July 10. Both sides are looking to the 2015 World Cup and both have mentioned the 2013 Ashes series in passing.
I doubt that this series has anything to do with the Ashes. Australia A’s tour of England, however, does. This series does offer England a look at Australia’s new breed of quick bowlers, though.
Clint McKay, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins will all be new to the England batsmen. Mitchell Johnson lurks in the squad, but Australia are looking for pace and accuracy these days.
Old foe, Brett Lee returns to English shores for what will surely be his final hurrah, too. That said, there are a few more ODIs next year, so it might not be the last Blighty sees of Bollywood’s favourite peroxide Aussie.
George Bailey, Peter Forrest and Matthew Wade will also be unfamiliar to the English audiences. For Wade, this is a massive opportunity to nail down the wicket keeping spot and Shane Watson has been talking him up as a number seven batsman.
From England, there are few unknowns to Australia. Jonny Bairstow and Jade Dernbach haven’t played against them before, although Dernbach will hardly be unfamiliar having played for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash this year. The Aussies will also be familiar with his ‘banter’.
So the days of unfamiliarity and surprise packages are long gone in England Vs Australia encounters. It does detract from them a little, but welcome to the 21st Century.
As for this series, I’ve no idea who’ll come out on top. If Australia’s thrashing of Essex is anything to go by, they’re playing with a point to prove. Alastair Cook’s England have been in very good ODI form recently, though, so this could well be a good series.
It might start quietly, but if the cricket lives up to its potential, we could all be on the edge of our seats by the end of it.
By Miles ReucroftTweet
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