After its hiatus in 2020, the most iconic event of the cricketing calendar returns to Australian shores. The 2021/22 Ashes Series kicks off in its usual style, in Brisbane, where a hotly favoured Australian side, captained by Pat Cummins, face a depleted England side looking to prove the doubters wrong. Amidst scandals, COVID-19, weather predictions and team selection dramas, there are plenty of talking points heading into what will no doubt be an enjoyable series.
As current holders of the urn, following a 4-0 demolition of their rivals in the 2019 Ashes on home soil, followed up by a gruelling 2-2 draw in England, a fit Australian side goes into this series convincing favourites. With Tim Paine ruling himself out after revelations around a ‘sexting scandal’, Pat Cummins steps up as captain and Alex Carey makes his debut, where he will take over with the gloves. Also led by Cummins, Australia look to be heading into the series with the world’s best seam attack right now who will look to be supported by a relatively experienced batting lineup. The in-form batting line-up includes former skipper Steve Smith, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head, all of who will be out to further cement their names in the Australian Test side.
England arrives with an 18-man squad looking to conquer a major challenge, in the form of rewriting their record on Australian soil, where they currently post two wins in the last 40 years. The side also includes a couple of key omissions including fast bowler Jofra Archer, who notably wreaked havoc in the last series for Aussie batsmen. Joe Root’s side, however, does see the reintroduction of ‘Headingly hero’ in Ben Stokes, who has returned following a stint out of the game, where he looked to prioritise his mental health. Also, making the flight out are English veterans Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad who will be definite boosts for the squad. The old boys, along with captain Joe Root will need to be at their absolute best if they are to buck their nations trend here in Australia.
Prediction: Australia 3-1
Player of the Series: Pat Cummins