New England captain Joe Root will be the man tasked with leading the side in Australia this winter as they look to retain the Ashes.
It’ll be a challenging task for England to win Down Under. After all, as illustrated at the moment by these cricket odds from CrownBet, Australia are huge favourites to win the series.
However, in Root, England have a leader who epitomises modern cricket and he’ll truly believe that his side will return from Australia with the urn still in their possession.
But what does he need to ensure victory in Australia, both in terms of himself as an individual and as part of a team?
Firstly, he needs to score runs. Lots of runs! He was dropped from the side on the last tour of Australia but he’s a much better player now. In fact, he’s one of the best players in the world, so the onus is on him to lead from the front and score plenty of runs.
Secondly, he needs to keep the camp united. Things unravelled when England toured Australia last time and the result of which was Kevin Petersen being booted off the team for good. If England are to win Down Under, they’ll need every player focused solely on the task in hand.
Selection wise, England look to have stumbled upon a batting order that looks strong on paper. Haseeb Hameed will likely open the batting with former captain Alistair Cook, which will see Keaton Jennings bat at three with Root moving for four. Afterwards will come Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes. That is a strong, deep line up and England will need them to be at their best against a fierce Australian attack.
On paper, the line-up looks strong but too often in the last few years, England’s batting order has collapsed and they’ve simply lost too many matches.
England’s bowling resources look good and the attack has usually delivered, Root and his fellow batsmen will need to follow their lead and step up to the plate if England are to pull off a famous victory.