It’s been an action-packed and if unusual summer of international cricket but it’s not done just yet!
England wrap up their busy summer schedule with six white-ball clashes against the Aussies in what promises to be an exciting few weeks of cricket.
No, it’s not the Ashes but that doesn’t mean that getting one over on the Aussies isn’t going to be the perfect way to finish the summer.
The first chance Eoin Morgan’s side will get to do that is in the three-match IT20 series that begins this evening.
The big news for England heading into the series is the return of some of their big guns, with Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, and Sam Curran back in the squad after missing the Pakistan series due to their red-ball responsibilities.
There’s no place for Test skipper Joe Root, however, while Ben Stokes continues to be absent due to personal issues. Our thoughts are, of course, with Stokesy and his family at this time.
It has emerged that in the continued absence of Jason Roy, Buttler – who blazed a rapid half-century in our last T20 against the Aussies – will open the batting alongside Jonny Bairstow.
That decision that will likely leave Tom Banton, Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, and Joe Denly scrapping for two places – though given just how good Banton and Malan looked against Pakistan it’s hard to see them being left out.
Morgan has a full arsenal available to him when it comes to the seam bowling department with the swing of Sam Curran, the wile and nous of Chris Jordan and Tom Curran, and, of course, the express pace of Archer and Wood.
We’re well-stocked when it comes to spin as well. Adil Rashid has established himself as one of the best, if not the best, white-ball spinner in the world, while Moeen Ali’s heroics in the final clash with Pakistan served a reminder of his class.
As much as it pains us to admit it, this Aussies side are pretty good in the shortest format of the game. They’re the number one T20 side in the world according to the ICC’s rankings, though Morgan’s men will be looking them to take them down a notch.
The usual suspects are likely to feature but don’t be surprised if there are a few fresh faces donning the garish yellow and green as the Aussies have brought a number of players over on the back of impressive performances in the BBL in pace bowler Riley Meredith (sporting a ridiculous moustache), wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Phillipe and all-rounder Daniel Sams.
They’ve been here since August preparing so will be hoping to make a fast start but let’s not forget the result of the last white-ball clash between these two teams. Did mention something about a World Cup semi-final hammering?
What to expect
With England at near full strength, this looks likely to be a fantastic test for Morgan’s men as they face the side top of the ICC’s rankings with one eye on next summer’s World Cup.
The Three Lions will be looking to do the white-ball double in that tournament and beating the Aussies would be a real statement of intent, as well as an ideal way to cap off the summer.
This may not be the Ashes but it’s going to be ferociously fought and likely closely contested. With that in mind, it’s hard to look further than an England win given how good they’ve been at getting over the line over and winning by any means in the last year or so.