Five burning questions following a one-sided Ashes series

2022-01-18 00:30:00

A more pertinent question is how often Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc will all be available together given the busy schedule and question marks over player availability in Pakistan.

It will be difficult for Boland to tip out a fit Hazlewood, but selectors should now be confident the Victorian, who made his name on the once lifeless MCG track, can make an impact in any conditions.

If there is a pecking order he has risen to No.4 with a bullet, providing selectors with pace depth for series on flat pitches. He is Test quality. If swing is king, Jhye Richardson can come off the bench, while Michael Neser should aim for the 2023 Ashes.

How good is Cameron Green?

Call off the search, Australia have found their next Keith Miller. What a luxury it is for Pat Cummins to have a player who can hold down No.6 and knock over top-line batters with 140 km/h seamers.

Even if his batting fell away, Green, with his pace, accuracy and steep bounce, would vie strongly for a berth as a frontline speedster.

Batting is his weaker suit right now but also his passion. Through long hours in the nets, Green straightened up his technique to shore up a weakness around the off and fourth-stump lines, leading to vital half-centuries in the final two Tests. A first-class average of 50 is an indication of the heights he can reach with the bat.

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What’s eating Steve Smith?

It is hard to comprehend the man hailed as the best since Don Bradman has hit just the once century since the 2019 Ashes. Though many players would accept Smith’s current numbers, he is nowhere near the levels we have come to expect from him.

Opposition sides are having success targeting his body and packing the on-side to prevent find a relieving single. It has also muddled his radar, leading to un-Smith-like snicks and misses.

The great batter is a player who thrives on matches to be at his best, but the pandemic has denied him this volume. He may just need time to return to his pomp.

Joe Root and England had a miserable summer.

Joe Root and England had a miserable summer.Credit:Getty

Can England recover from such a shattering defeat and challenge Australia next year?

As pathetic as England were, they have enough talent with the ball to compete with Australia for the urn at home.

An attack of Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and Ben Stokes with the Dukes ball on English tracks will be a handful for Australia’s batters, who showed in Hobart they can be susceptible to a swinging or seaming ball. The batting is the big query.

Improvement will have to come quickly as Joe Root and Ben Stokes are their only world-class batters.

Zak Crawley showed ability but too many of England’s batters could not nail the basics to think they can turn it around in 18 months on tracks offering less bounce. The county competition has been singled out for an overhaul by Root if it is to be a breeding ground for Test players.

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Source by [earlynews24.com]