Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ashes players' ratings

Now that the dust has settled and the Oval wicket has dried out and been hosed down hopefully, it's time to reflect on which players brought what to the occasion. Starting with England.

Alastair Cook, 3/10
Having been part of the selection process for a rookie opener alongside him, Cook needed to lead from the front and he failed to do so averaging a miserable 27.7. He was also outshone by Michael Clarke in the field and looked a long way short of the batsman that dominated Australia last time around. Much room for improvement.

Joe Root, 4/10
Tough to judge Root as his huge score at Lords distorted his numbers hugely. Nevertheless he did achieve that one big ton but failed abjectly otherwise. His batting position will give the selectors much thought.

Jonathan Trott, 4/10
Another English batsmen that failed to average even 30. Trott had cemented himself previously as one of the most reliable No3s in test cricket. He quickly needs to re-find his form for England down under if they are to prevail.

Kevin Pietersen, 6/10
A 'nearly' series for KP who often threatened to take over proceedings but somehow kept falling a little short. He remains the batsman that frightens the opposition the most and at times showed a new found maturity. Looked close to 'clicking' again.

Ian Bell, 9/10
Most pundits' man of the series with an average in excess of 62 dominating a Summer of low-ish scoring. Bell played with authority and class and most importantly did it when it mattered. A high class series.

Johnny Bairstow, 2/10
A fairly hopeless effort from a player that England have such high hopes for. He was horribly bogged down in the main and looked like a man just waiting to get out. Faces an anxious wait before the touring squad is named.

Matthew Prior, 3/10
Abject performance with the bat from the Wisden cricketer of the year. Glove work was patchy at times and some over zealousness with the DRS system also. Prior needs to get his head down and regain his form quickly.

Stuart Broad, 8/10
A little inconsistent at times but Broad is a match winner and provides good support with the bat also. Will be key for England in the return series.

Tim Bresnan, 7/10
Didn't have a huge opportunity to shine but did what was required when asked of him. Always a good honest performer who never hides.

Graeme Swann, 8/10
26 wickets for England's premier spinner. Spin remains the one true area where England can claim to hold a trump card over Australia in the shape of Swann. England need to keep him fit.

James Anderson, 7/10
Patchy series from Anderson who started well and finished well but looked a little low on energy levels in between. He remains a potent weapon however and England will be sure to make sure he is well rested before heading to Brisbane.

And now for the chaps in the baggy greens.

Chris Rogers, 8/10
An excellent series for Rogers who offered stability and calm at the top of the order. Rogers has come to test cricket late in life but he definitely made up for lost time.

David Warner, 4/10
Tough to call Warner as his pugilist exploits left him out of the opening matches but nevertheless it was his own fault he couldn't contribute. Definitely added to the team on his return and will be an important player in the series to come, disappointing average however.

Shane Watson, 6/10
Finished the series with a wonderful ton but unfortunately in an effectively meaningless match. Watson's economy rate with the ball and sheer number of maidens were important in frustrating the opposition batsmen. A genuine all rounder.

Usman Kawaja, 3/10
Doesn't look to have the authority or the class to solve Australia's No3 conundrum.

Phil Hughes, 4/10
Another player tough to mark properly as he was jettisoned after just two tests.

Michael Clarke, 7/10
An average of just over 47 but it almost felt like a case of 'what if' as one was left feeling that he could have scored many more runs. Clarke was also hugely positive in the field coaxing the very best out of his bowlers. Defnitely has the captaincy edge over Alastair Cook. A good series.

Steve Smith, 6/10
Seemed to grow in stature throughout the series and will look to contribute fully from the start down under. Not always the most aesthetically pleasing but a good competitor and finished with a wonderful hundred.

Brad Haddin, 7/10
A solid performance from Haddin. His average of just under 23 didn't reflect some selfless batting trying to push the score on. Excellent glove work saw him comfortably outshine Matt Prior.

Peter Siddle, 6/10
Plenty of heart and effort as usual from Siddle but found it hard at times to make a real impact. Will however be a shoe in for the return series.

Ryan Harris, 8.5/10
Missed out on the first test but was Australia's stand out performer thereafter with a constant stream of wickets. Managed runs with the bat also. Australia will be hoping that hamstring injury heals quickly. Challenged Bell for man of the series.

Mitchell Starc, 6/10
In and out of the team and showed glimpses of his talent but needs more consistency.

Nathan Lyon, 7/10
Bizarrely left out initially, Lyon came back into the series firmly. Whilst Lyon will never be a prolific wicket taker he asked plenty of questions and bowled with control. He needs to be played from the outset in the return series.

James Pattinson, 6/10
Only two tests and didn't do a lot wrong. Like Starc he would possibly benefit from a longer run in the team.

Ashton Agar, 5/10
His famous 98 with the bat aside, Agar's contribution with the ball - what he is there for - was lacking and he needs much more work before he can be considered a true test bowler.