Batting Order lacking experience: –
Playing an away series to one of the fiercest rivals and having lack of experience in the batting order, sounds like square pegs in round holes. This is what England are enduring at the moment with their Ashes’ batting order. If we specifically take a look at the batsmen who flew to Australia, there is a serious lack of experience.
Apart from Cook, Root and Bairstow, none of the others have faced an Ashes ball in Australia. On top that, Malan, Vince, Overton and Foakes have not even played the Ashes before. Such is the critical situation this team is in and the tall order those batsmen have. This certainly adds to the high-pressure Joe Root must be under. He really has to lead this team from the front in batting or 2013-14 Ashes repeat might be on the cards.
Mitchell Starc is bowling well (which is an understatement) and other Aussie pace-men are very good on their turf. If England need a resistance, they have to bat well and absorb enormous pressure in order to have something for the bowlers. In hindsight, Cook, Root and Bairstow have to carry this batting order throughout the summer. Depending too much on an inexperienced duo or trio might prove fatal.
The dearth of quality depth for Rotation in between: –
Another perilous problem with England is the lack of depth they have in their batting order. The Ashes consists of 5 test matches and batsmen tend to start well and lose their form in between or vice versa. So, few rotations in the middle of the series are always good for the freshness. The visitors have none of that in good quality.
This suggests that the expected names Cook, Root, Bairstow and Ali have to virtually play every game. The other 3 slots will be picked between Ballance, Vince, Foakes, Malan, Stoneman and Overton. That is (with due respect) some serious lack of experience in the middle order with backup as equal as the supposedly first picked.
Not dwelling much in the Stokes’ saga, truth be told, having him in the squad adds that balance in the eleven. Not having the talisman will be hard to replace and it will pressurise the fast bowlers to do the job all the time. If we see the comprehensive picture, Australian bowlers must be licking their hands to bowl at this batting lineup.
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Stats pack: –
Now, let’s take a look at the stats of England batsmen who haven’t yet played Ashes cricket in Australia or haven’t played any Ashes cricket.
Ballance – 1498 runs in 42 innings at an average of 37.48, far from great being a number 3 batsmen.
Malan – 189 runs in 8 innings at an average of 23,62, hasn’t played enough International cricket so far. Not shown enough promise in the given chances.
Vince – 212 runs in 11 innings at an average of 19.27 with no fifties, has struggled in the given chances so far. Technically too susceptible for playing regular test cricket.
Stoneman – 120 runs in 5 innings at an average of 30, again, hasn’t played much to really stake a claim for the big series. Not shown enough technique to open the batting, but he will play as England are struggling for backup in that area.
Foakes – Hasn’t played International cricket yet, done well in the first-class circuit. He will be a backup to Bairstow and a surprise inclusion.
Overton – Yet to play in the International circuit. A good enough bowling all-rounder who will just hope Ali has a bad form. He can replace Stokes as a fast-bowling all-rounder but doesn’t have a great batting record to boast that claim.
Looking at those stats and past performances, there isn’t much in it apart from promises. Clearly, England are struggling even before the Ashes is underway. Extra responsibilities on senior pros can really backfire if they start tentatively. It will add enormous pressure on the whole team. It won’t be an understatement if we say English batsmen have to punch above their weights to outperform Australia this summer.