2017-18 Ashes: Australian Players to Watch

Steve SmithEngland are back in Australia to defend the urn they won in 2015 and the hosts, under Steve Smith, start as favourites on paper for the 2017-18 Ashes. Will that be enough to get back the prestigious trophy? Who will be key for Australia in their charge? We look at some of the key players who are primed to make an impact.

Mitchell Starc

England will have jitters thinking about left-arm seamers and Ashes. Back in 2013, it was Mitchell Johnson who terrified the visitors with 37 wickets causing many mental scars leading them to a 5-0 whitewash.

Will that role be played by his namesake, Mitchell Starc, this year? The 27-year-old skipped the recent ODI tour to India to get fit for this marquee series. And, he made a sparkling return to action in the Sheffield Shield picking up 17 wickets in 2 matches. That included making history as the first bowler to complete two hat-tricks in the same Shield match.

The Aussie pitches are perfectly suited to his style and if he stays fit, his pace and bounce can torment the English batting line-up no end. If he plays the entire series, don’t be surprised if he surpasses Johnson’s series wickets.

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Steve Smith

He may not make his way to the cricket manuals with his batting style, but Steve Smith is one of the most effective players of this generation.

The Aussie captain, who will be leading for the first time in an Ashes Test, is the hosts’ best batting bet. With a batting average of nearly 60 in 56 Tests, and shoots up to 69 when playing at home, there is a reason why Smith is ranked no. 1 in ICC Test rankings.

Will that be enough for him and the hosts? Smith’s runs are as crucial as his captaincy, because the side will look towards him in tough times. With the squad chosen for the first two Tests already in for criticism, Smith will have to prove a point or two to his detractors and get the urn back.

Tip: Australia Australian batsman – Steve Smith – $2.75 at Ladbrokes

Cameron Bancroft

The inclusion of Tim Paine and the exclusion of Matt Renshaw for the first two matches raised eyebrows but no one questions the chance given to the prolific youngster Bancroft.

He was chosen earlier to make his Aussie debut against Bangladesh in 2015 but the series did not go through. The 24-year-old has been scoring tons of runs in the Sheffield Shield making it impossible for the selectors to look beyond him.

Bancroft has scored 442 runs this season at an average of 110.50 including an unbeaten 228 for Western Australia and South Australia. His cool and composed attitude is expected to complement the aggression of David Warner at the top. Will he be the surprise pick of this year’s Ashes?

Tip: Bancroft series runs over 340.5 – $1.83 at Ladbrokes

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November 21, 2017 by Posted in Articles
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