The oldest and fiercest cricket rivalry is back as England host Australia in the first Test of the 2023 Ashes series on Friday at Edgbaston, Birmingham. We look at the players to watch out for in the Ashes 2023.
Australia will come into this series brimming with confidence after they beat India to win the World Test Championship, while England have been in red-hot form in Test cricket under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.
Harry Brook (England)
Harry Brook had a fantastic 2022 when he announced himself to international cricket. He’s had an impressive start to his Test career, scoring 818 runs in 7 matches at an average of 81.8 with 4 hundreds and 3 fifties.
The 24 year old has been a key player in England’s “Bazball” approach, with a career strike rate of 99.0. Brook has made the number 5 position his own and will be crucial to England’s chances of winning the series.
Jonny Bairstow (England)
His return to the side will be a huge boost for England. Jonny Bairstow was arguably England’s best Test batsman last year and was one of the pillars of Bazball’s initial success before his injury.
He’s a player that thrives under pressure and will be looking to make a similar comeback to the one he made in the 2021 Ashes, where he scored a fantastic century in Sydney.
Ollie Robinson (England)
One of the players to watch in this series has to be Ollie Robinson. Similar to Brook, he had a brilliant 2022 and will be eager to show his class with the ball once again. In this season’s County Championship, he has taken 20 wickets in just three games and will be full of confidence on home soil.
Steve Smith (Australia)
Steve Smith has a phenomenal record in England as he showed in the WTC final against India. He scored 121 in the first innings of the Test and along with Travis Head, set the foundation for an impressive win for the Aussies.
He has played 17 matches in England, scoring 1882 runs at an average of 60.71. He’s definitely one of the players to watch out for in this series and will be key if Australia are to retain “The Urn”.
Travis Head (Australia)
If there’s an Australian batter that would be suited to England’s Bazball approach, it’s Travis Head. He showed that in the WTC final with a match-winning 163 off 174 balls. He was phenomenal in the 2021 Ashes series where he dismantled the English bowling attack with “Headball”.
Head can accelerate and take the game away from the opposition. His ability to play with positive intent in the middle order will be vital for Australia during the whole series.
Scott Boland (Australia)
With Josh Hazlewood struggling with persistent injuries, Scott Boland will be a key player for the Baggy Greens. His accuracy is simar to Hazlewood’s. He made his Test debut against England in 2021, where he took 6 wickets for just 7 runs in Melbourne.
It will be interesting to see how the English batters approach him in this series as they are a much different side with Brendon McCullum at the helm.