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Ashes 2023: Who Could Make the Difference?

This summer will see the return of one of the biggest events on the cricket calendar – the Ashes series. There will be a change this year, with a more compact six-week format, but England will be hoping that is not the only shakeup.

The 2021/22 Ashes were a disaster for England who suffered a 4-0 ‘whitewash’ at the hands of Australia. One advantage they will have is that the upcoming series is being played at home and the squad will go into it with confidence.

They have Brendon McCullum installed as head coach and a new captain in Ben Stokes. Having failed to win a single Ashes series since 2015, they feel this could be the year they regain them.

Here we will look at their chances and some of the players that could make a difference.

Key Players for the 2023 Ashes

Ben Stokes

England go into this year’s series in the comparatively unusual position of being favorites to win. They are placed at around 10/11 with Australia on 6/4 to retain the Ashes.

That is largely due to the transformation that McCullum has brought about in the year since he took charge. His ultra-positive style, known in the media as ‘bazball’, has led to instant success.

At the heart of it is new captain Stokes who thrives on aggression both as a batsman and in the field. He was a major absence during the last Ashes series and England will be hoping that he can match his performances with the bat in 2019.

Stokes is an all-rounder though and rapid wicket-taking is just as important to the McCullum approach, making him even more crucial to their chances. He is a key player and should feature as part of the parlay bet action on England during the series.

Pat Cummins

One player who will be looking to make sure he does not deliver is Cummins. The fast bowler is a real danger to the England batting line-up, being currently rated the world’s top bowler.

He captained Australia in the last Ashes series and took a total of 21 English wickets, making him absolutely pivotal to their success. That is likely to prove true once again this summer.

Ollie Robinson

Like other members of the expected England squad, Robinson will go into the Ashes in great form. His five wickets for just 49 runs against South Africa during the Test series last year showed how deadly the medium fast bowler can be.

Jofra Archer is also expected to be available, which means England will be less dependent on ageing bowlers like Stuart Broad and James Anderson this time around. They have depth and quality in both the bowling and batting areas.

Steve Smith

Steve Smith is a name that English cricket fans dread hearing. His display with the bat against them during the Ashes of 2019 included twin centuries during the opening Test and saw him win the Compton-Miller Medal for the best player of the series.

Smith has not quite hit those same levels in the years since, but he will play three matches on cricket pitches in England to prepare for the 2023 series. He is a vital player for Australia and the team’s chances of holding on to the Ashes could hinge on his form.

Four years ago his average haul of runs per innings was an astonishing 110.57 and while he is not expected to match that, an in-the-mood Smith will make life tough for England.

Joe Root

Root may have lost the England captaincy to Stokes but he is still a formidable batsman. He proved that in the victory over New Zealand in McCullum’s debut Test series as coach.

During it he scored 176 in the opening innings to help England overcome a deficit of 275. He has responded well to the new style of play and will be important for his side.

Squad Comparison

There is little question that the England squad will be stronger and better balanced than the one that was thrashed by Australia in the last Ashes. It possesses real talent in both the batting and bowling areas, where it was light on attacking players and fast pacers last time.

The Australian squad is also strong though, making predictions difficult. This is expected to be a close and tense series, but England do appear to have more top players going into the Ashes in their best form.

They also have the advantage of the series being played on home soil and that is what is helping them to edge it with the bookmakers at the moment.

This will be a very exciting Ashes series and no one anticipates a repeat of the easy win for Australia that we saw last time round.

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