A One-Day International series between England and Pakistan in the middle of July normally wouldn’t register on Australia’s radar. The red-ball game is all the Aussies care about at this point, particularly after not playing much of the format in the last 18 months. White-ball cricket is all well and good, but the 2021 Ashes is the priority.
Typically, the 3-0 win by the Poms at home would have been swept under the carpet. However, it turns out that the series unintentionally showed the visitor’s hand for the upcoming Ashes showdown. If you’re a fan of Aussie cricket, you may not have liked what you saw.
A Proper Wrist Spinner
Australia knows all about the art of wrist spin after watching Shane Warne dismantle teams for decades with his wrong-uns. Even when he left, the likes of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke were able to turn to Nathan Lyon, a finger spinner who has proven he’s one of the world’s best. England, on the other hand, has a weakness to spin in all aspects.
Batting aside, the inability to produce a wicket-taking slow bowler leaves the side short of dimensions as it becomes swing- and seam-heavy. Down Under, where the Kookaburra ball rarely deviates after 25 overs, previous England teams have failed to make an impact.
What’s different? The emergence of Matt Parkinson in the ODI series against Pakistan. It’s early to call him a guaranteed starter in December, yet Warne has already backed the uncapped spinnerto play a key role in proceedings. What’s worse, he reckons the Lancashire player is perfectly suited to Australian conditions.
More Fast Bowlers
Aussie supporters also know a lot about fast bowling, and the current selection of pacemen is probably the best in the sport right now. Still, the ECB has made excellent strides in recent years, and the importance of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in the Test side epitomizes the growth. Olly Stone is another bowler with pace.
What the ODI games against Pakistan highlighted is a somewhat unknown addition to the ranks —Brydon Carse. The pacer ended an impressive string of displays with a five-wicket haul in the third match, bowling with fire throughout the series.
With Saqib Mahmood collecting nine wickets in three matches, it would be silly of England to leave these guys at home when they will cause havoc at faster tracks like Perth. Not only that, but they can give Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Board time to recover.
The End of Rest & Rotation
People like Parkinson, Carse, and Mahmood got their chances thanks to a controversial rest and rotation policy implemented by the ECB. Famously, it allowed India back into a three-match Test series in the sub-continent after Jos Buttler was sent home. The England boys were 1-0 up at the time.
However, captain Joe Root has confirmed that the strategy is behind them now, causing the cricket betting odds for the visitors to shorten. They are now 3.20 for the outright win, compared to Australia’s 1.66. It’s important to note that the hosts have good omens in their favor, including not losing a home Ashes series in the last two attempts. Of course, those England sides were under par, and the removal of the rotation policy suggests this won’t be the case in December.
All eyes will be on the India series now. England will be at home and expected to win like they did a few years ago. But any victory against Virat Kohli’s men shows solid form.