After opening their Champions Trophy campaign with a thrilling win over Australia it looks as though the England team will be looking to further their winning streak and maintain the impetus to succeed in retaining the most coveted prize of all this summer; the longed for Ashes.
I personally find myself excited and exhausted at the prospect of a stress-filled summer of cricket; England-Australia having always been a rivalry I hold most dear to my heart. It is however comforting to know that Saturday’s performance at Edgbaston will have served as a quaint reminder to the stars representing the green and gold of Australia that our countrymen will be taking the challenge ahead with all seriousness. James Anderson’s distressing reverse swing bowling is sure to head what I expect to be a ravenous attack.
Yet it is not only Anderson’s perfected recipe for destruction that will have the men from ‘Straya’ on the back foot. Alastair Cook can use his strong England team to create history for the nation’s cricket team by winning three Ashes series in a row for the first time since 1981; a time when the Kerry Packer revolution robbed Australia of their best players for the first two series. Despite Mr Packer’s unintentional help the fundamental issue of being a part of something so historic must surely prove to be an incentive for victory if ever I’d seen one!
With the emphasis of English opinion being focussed on the home side claiming an Ashes victory whitewash it seems easy to overlook the hidden factors that the Australian team has tucked away deep inside their locker that could indeed prove to help them mount an offensive of their own. With ODI results in their favour (minus Saturdays defeat) Australia should not be doubted on their prowess with regards to making runs and taking wickets when needs be against top opposition. Also, out of their last ten series results the Aussies have beaten over half of their opponents; not a fact to be taken too lightly.
But after suffering a demoralising battering in India in their latest Test series it would seem to point to the obvious that Australia aren’t the formidable force they used to be. The days of Shane Warne, Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting look to have been a thing of a once glorious past of which their reputations remain present but their now long lost skills have torn a hole in the batting and bowling elements of a past supreme team.
I would hate to become too confident and dabble with the idea of an England whitewash this summer but with a powerful team who are willing to break records and Australian dreams I don’t see why the seemingly improbable can’t become the possible. As Australians are born fighters it will be a struggle but with the right mentality and the right tactical play maybe history will be made, just maybe.