Yet another Ashes player ratings.
As biased as it may seem, this Ashes player ratings article will be dealing only with a victorious England team. My first cause for separating the two sides into different articles is simply the magnificent nature of this England victory, a team in all manners of the word from start to finish, England have overcome adversity to show their strength together as a unit and as individuals. Secondly, such is the sheer size of the Australian demise that tackling their player ratings is an article in itself, a discussion of the potential future of Australian cricket and an appraisal of an era that must be left behind for the good of world cricket.
Alistair Cook has had what can only be described as a momentous series. Originally viewed by even the most accurate and prophetic of commentators as the weakest link in this England side, Cook ends not only having broken many records in living memory, but as man of the series. Not a small accolade given the performances of the likes of Jimmy Anderson. 10/10
Captain of a winning side in Australia for the first time in over 20 years, one would think that that alone would be a merit enough to provide high praise for Andrew Strauss. On top of this though, Strauss batted well, an average in the low 40?s, and captained brilliantly, in selection, field placing and rotation of his few bowlers. This was an absolutely triumphant series for the England captain. 8/10
Jonathan Trott will return from Australia having secured his place as the most successful English no.3 in modern times. Averaging 90 away in Australia, coupled with the Ashes winning century that he made at the Oval in 2009, shows a man of extraordinary mental prowess. If Trott can continue to combine technical efficiency with the sort of mental strength that he has shown, then a hugely successful Test career lies ahead. Not only was his batting to the highest standard however, Trott also shone as a fielder with a couple of excellent run outs that one would not usually attribute to being part of his game. 9/10
Kevin Pietersen gave a fairly classic account of himself in this 3-1 series win. A mercurial talent, but one who is so accustomed now to throwing his wicket away once every few innings?. It has now come to the point where we cannot expect one side of his game without the other, but this must be considered in an appraisal of his performance. A magnificent double century showed the utter brilliance of Pietersen, but on too many occasions he threw away starts, only gaining one century and one half century in the series. Overall, Pietersen?s performance was good, but not great for a player of such brilliance. Given that Pietersen is quite possibly the most talented bat in world cricket, more can still be expected and desired. 7/10
Paul Collingwood must be struggling to completely come to terms with the past weeks. This series has seen consistent failure with the bat, retirement from test cricket, but being part of a winning team in Australia and as always being a leader in the field in voice and performance. Collingwood?s part has always been more than just his batting performance, and I have no doubt that he has been of genuine importance to Andrew Strauss despite his poor scores. Collingwood has been a magnificent servant to English cricket, and a genuine rock through some difficult and testing times. It is with sadness that we say goodbye, and how could I give a retiring member of an Ashes winning side a low rating? 6/10
Ian Bell has been a conundrum for several England coaches now, and thousands of supporters. Always a fantastically technical and beautiful batsman, as talented as any in the English game, up there with Pietersen and Trescothick, Bell has had years of underachievement before finally piecing together the mental side of his game. Derided last time out in Australia, Bell is a man with points to prove, and without doubt he has done that. Perhaps he has had the chance to perform to his best stolen away by his place down the order at 6, but despite this, Bell has proven an excellent member of a strong batting lineup, and has often shone above the others. 8/10
Matthew Prior is the most perfect example of a player being spotted with talent and progressing and evolving through consistent performance at the highest level of cricket, playing for his country. Once a good quality batsman derided for lack of keeping ability, Prior has become without doubt, in my mind, the best wicket keeper batsman in the world, with strong technical foundation to both batting and his work behind the stumps. Prior is an absolutely fantastic member of the England side, and is truly the heir to the throne of Alec Stewart. Throughout the series, Prior has batted strongly and kept wicket even better, taking a multitude of catches along the way. 8/10
Tim Bresnan is one of the true surprise packages of this Ashes series. I myself have criticized his potential selection as conservative, and suggested that he was definitely not a strong enough bowler to be considered as part of a four man attack. I was however, utterly wrong. Bresnan has proved to all of us doubters that he has tremendous potential ability, particularly in a few vicious spells of mastered reverse swing, dazzling the Australians and giving them no chance to compete. If Bresnan can continue along these lines and develop his batting, then he is the current best chance of filling the all rounder slot that England have missed since the retirement of Freddie Flintoff. 8/10
Graeme Swann has had a difficult series, a series in which he has actively been noted as the main threat and the fearful Australian powers that be have sought to negate his abilities. Playing on green, seam friendly pitches, Swann has often been demoted to the role of containment spinner, but in line with his performances over the past two years, even this is a role that Swann carried out with aplomb. Still taking vital wickets, and being a humorous pillar in the English dressing room, Swann?s tour was successful, just not in the way that we may have expected. 7/10
After my Bresnan apology I could do with a bit of glory to heal my wounds, and in Chris Tremlett I have been provided with this. I picked Tremlett to be the surprise package in Cricket Web?s pre ashes predictions, and he obliged in bringing my prediction to life. Tremlett came into this Ashes side with Stuart Broad injured and a major hole to fill, but this gap seemed like nothing with Tremlett towering over the wicket and generating pace, bounce and swing. Tremlett re-took to test cricket like a duck to water, and should he be able to continue to stay fit, he looks like a fixture of this England attack for a few years to come. 8/10
In similar fashion to my thoughts about Alistair Cook, it is difficult to praise Jimmy Anderson enough. I?ve seen many reviewers giving him 9/10, as if to elevate Cook above everyone else, but I do not think we should undervalue the success of a man who has led a thin England attack to massive success, consistently taking wickets and frightening the opposition batsmen. Not only has Jimmy exorcised his Australian daemons with an unfamiliar ball in hand, but he has been exemplary in the field, and is the undoubted leader of the England attack. Were Cook not being so groomed for the captaincy, there would be a genuine desire from me to promote this man as leader of England one day. A fine character, a fine bowler, and a threat to Dale Steyn?s current monopoly at the top of the fast bowling charts. 10/10
Steven Finn has had a slightly odd series all in all. A huge success and leading wicket taker after the first few tests, Finn became a little expensive and was dropped in favour of Tim Bresnan, a harsh albeit correct decision in the end. Finn?s series was still a definite success though, ending with an average of 33 at such a tender age, and a bagful of wickets in his first Ashes series. This will absolutely not be his last Ashes outing, and a successful career as an England seam bowler is lying in wait with a little bit of work and progression. For a performance with as much quality as his, so early in his career, Finn is deserving of high praise. 8/10
Perhaps the most disappointed and frustrated Englishman in the world right now, Stuart Broad has had to watch from the sidelines as his England team mates brought home the urn without him. In his brief Ashes spell, Broad played the containment role, and kept things very tight, only going for 2 and a bit runs an over. Although with little to speak of in the way of wickets, it would be harsh to score Broad too lowly, since he had such a minor involvement in the series. 6/10