The cricketing world is now waiting eagerly to witness one of its biggest rivalries to unfold. England, who just won their maiden cricket World Cup, will take on Australia in the Ashes starting August 1 and the five-match Test series will be a massive occasion for the two old rivals eyeing cricketing superiority. Australia haven’t won an Ashes series in England since 2001 although they had last thumped the Three Lions 4-0 at home in 2017.
This Ashes will even be more special for a number of reasons. It will see David Warner and Steve Smith returning to the Australian Test side after more than a year of agony and also the series will be the first one of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. England will be looking to regain their form in Tests that was harmed during the last series in the West Indies. All in all, the late summer in England this season promises exciting times for the supporters on both sides.
Border picks three left-hand batsmen in top three
In the run-up to the first Test of the Ashes in Birmingham, former Australia captain Allan Border picked the side of his choice to play England. The former southpaw did not harbour any reservation over having too many left-hand or right-hand batsmen in the side. He said it all depends on the quality of those batsmen and if they are good, then there is no point in ditching them.
“The top three batsmen are left-handers, which is not necessarily the wrong thing. A lot of people jump up and down about picking too many left-handers but if they are your best players then go with them. If they were right-handers, no one would say anything,” Border, 63, was quoted as saying by foxsports.co.au, as he picked southpaws David Warner, Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja as his No.1, 2 and 3.
Border then picked Matthew Wade, citing his form. “I’d be very tempted to go with Wade. You talk about picking the guys in form, and he’s in great form. (Marnus) Labuschagne might get that guernsey in that he can bowl some pretty handy leg spin and he’s good in the field too,” he added.
Border, who had once broken Sunil Gavaskar’s five-digit tally of runs in Tests to become the highest with 11,174, felt that there was no need to play an all-rounder at No.6. According to the 156-Test veteran, the visitors should go into the Ashes with six regular batters.
“I wouldn’t go with the all-rounder at No.6. I’d pick a straight out-and-out batsman. England’s conditions are a bit softer underfoot and temperature-wise. There’s not as much physicality and stress on the bowlers,” he said.
Here is Border’s Australia XI: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade/Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
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