Blog by: Sagar
The Ashes 2013 in the backyard of the Englishmen has proved to be, more or less, a one-sided affair. England has retained the Ashes at home by a colossal 3-0 series victory. Cook and Co. portrayed a scintillating display of all-round cricket, which never let the Barmy Army down. Let us have a look at how Alastair Cook and his boys turn up on a point-wise analysis out of 10.
The England skipper was not in the best of forms in this Ashes season. His statistics for the Ashes 2013 reveal just 277 runs in the 10 innings he has played, at a paltry average of 27.70, with a best of 62 runs. Also, his captaincy became a subject of scrutiny by the critics due to his inability to inculcate something new at crucial moments. Thus, on the whole, Captain Cook deserves 6 points for his contribution to the team.
Presently one of the best rising sensations in world cricket, Joe Root has displayed a good blend of class and skill in the 2013 Ashes series. He was chosen to open the innings with Cook over the former opener Nick Compton. But he looked under pressure most of the time, except for his sensational innings of 180 at Lords. Other than this, he could accumulate only 159 runs in the rest of the 9 innings he batted in. He gets 7 points here. However, he is considered to be one of the best prospective batsmen for England.
The orthodox right handed batsman was not at his very best this time. He could get 293 runs from 10 innings, at 29.30. He, along with Cook, can be considered as the two biggest surprises as neither of them could score a century this season. The sublime timer of the cricket ball, Jonathan Trott, will just get 6 points on this table.
It is often said that KP is one man who can prove to be a match-winner for his team at any point of time. Once he gets his eye in, he becomes unstoppable. This was exactly what was witnessed in the Ashes 2013 when he thrashed the Aussie bowling attack all over the park. He was the third highest run-getter of the series, placed with 388 runs in 10 innings with a best of 113. Except for the 2nd Test at Lords, Pietersen chipped in with very valuable runs for his side, and at a good pace as well. He will get 8.5 points for his aggression and consistency.
Whenever the topic of Ashes 2013 will be discussed, this man will be talked about every time. With 562 runs in 10 innings at a sensational average of 62.44, Bell rightly deserved the Man of the Series award. The man with the wristy flicks, leaning cover drives and aggressive pulls was at his very best as he scored 3 tons and 2 fifties in this Ashes season. There is no reason why he should get anything less than 9.5 points here.
Where Joe Root has accumulated enough runs at the top of the order to cement his position in the side, another youngster, Jonny Bairstow, could not perform well at the highest level. Batting in the lower middle order, his job was to play the role of a sheet anchor when the side was collapsing, or go for big shots when the scorecard was strong. He failed to do both as he could barely get 203 runs in 7 innings at 29.00 runs per innings. He gets 6 points on the list.
Everyone was expecting him to play a role which Adam Gilchrist used to play for the Kangaroos in Tests. But this certainly did not happen as he could get only 133 runs in the 9 innings he played. He always looked perplexed by the pace, turn and bounce in the pitches. However, he was exceptionally good behind the stumps, from taking some blinders to using the Third Umpire Reviews well enough. Thus, he gets 6 points here.
The all-rounder was brought in after Steven Finn was kept out of the side from the 2nd Test at Lords. However, he could not make full use of the opportunity, as he could only get 103 runs from 5 innings. But he did chip in with 10 wickets with the ball in 6 innings. Therefore, he gets 6.5 points for his mixed performance this season.
This man has proved all those people wrong who thought that the English pitches are all about pace and bounce. This right-arm off break bowler was the highest wicket taker this Ashes, at 26 wickets from 10 innings, with an average of 29.03 and an economy of 3.03. He also proved to be effective with the bat down the order, where he got 126 runs from 7 innings, collecting runs which proved to be gold-dust for England. He deserves 9 points on this table.
Although Jimmy Anderson was expected to be the “go-to” bowler for Cook, Broad showed exceptional skills in swinging the ball both ways and getting the Aussies into a lot of trouble. His 6 wicket spell came at just the right time for England at Chester-le-Street. He finished with 22 wickets as the third highest wicket taker and with an average better than Anderson. He also contributed brilliantly with the bat, proving why he deserves the No. 5 spot on the ICC all-rounder rankings. He gets 9 points. However, he was also criticized for not walking off the pitch after he had edged the ball to the slip.
The Australians were always wary of the pace spearhead of England, Jimmy Anderson. They ended up giving 22 wickets to him at an average of 29.59. He especially troubled the Aussie skipper Clarke and the blistering opener Shane Watson, who were expected to be the match-winners for the Kangaroos. However, except for the first Test match, the Aussies negotiated him well in the other matches. He gets 7.5 points for his overall performance.
It can be very easily made out that England have flown high in the Ashes 2013, thanks to some superb contributions from Bell, KP, Swann, Broad and Anderson. The Aussies, on the contrary, were down and out as they were beaten in all parts of the game by the hosts.