It is The Ashes. Arguably the greatest Cricketing fiesta and definitely the top tier event as far as Test Cricket goes. As a rejuvenated England play host to a resurgent Australia, the series has the potential to what Bill Lawry would say – “Oh, What a Ripper!”
England would strive to bring the urn back home .They have the support of Barmy Army behind them. But even with the given Home Advantage the British have to be quick on their feet and improvise according to the situation at hand.
Given that Australian bowling attack will rely heavily on the accuracy and pace of the two Mitchell (Starc and Johnson), the English side have to be calculative to engineer the pitches to suit them. Veteran Cricketer, Sir Ian Botham has urged England to produce pitches that aren’t entirely lifeless to nullify the potency of the Australian pace attack. The great all rounder believes that such a move will be counterproductive and may come back and bite English in a bitter fashion.
Ian Botham was speaking at the Hardys Wine Promotional Event. He was quoted saying:
“We don’t want flat wickets. That’s playing right into Australia’s hands. Please don’t serve up five-day corporate pitches. If you do, we might as well send the Ashes back now because that’ll play right into Australia’s hands. If we play on good sporting pitches, England has got as good a chance as Australia. They’re at home and also nobody thinks they’re going to win.”
Botham was also impressed the efforts of Mark Wood and is a fan of his express pace. Citing him as an important cog in the wheel in the English attack, he added.
“He’s something England hasn’t had since Steve Harmison in his peak – that extra bit of pace,” Botham said. Whether he (bowls 145-150 kph) in Cardiff, we’ll have to wait and see. It’s a slow deck.”
The 59 year old is mighty impressed with Ben Stokes and feels he should be a regular fixture in the England team.
“I’ve been impressed since I first saw him a couple of years ago. Why on earth and how anybody could possibly leave him out of the World Cup is totally beyond me. But that decision was made and Ben Stokes reacted in the best way possible – he turned up, scored runs and took wickets.He’s got the right attitude. He’s a tough competitor.”
Botham wanted England to introduce variety in their bowling attack. He wants untried leg-spinner Adil Rashid to be picked ahead of Moeen Ali. Stating that Moeen is only a part timer, the Aussies will be quickly to make hay as he gets introduced in the attack.
It remains to be seen which way the Ashes go this season. We hope for a fantastic season of test Cricket ahead. An Ashes series win is the dream of every English/Australian kid who ever picked up a bat or ball. Here is hoping that some of those dream come true.