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England take out Windies; Look Ahead to Ashes

While England may be celebrating their 2-0 victory over the West Indies – how would they be feeling ahead of Ashes 2009? There is no doubt that the quality of the test cricket played against the West Indies wasn’t the highest, and there is no doubt that Ashes cricket will be a considerable step-up in intensity.

The West Indies didn’t come to play and basically rolled over, you would never see this from an Australian cricket side, regardless of how cold it is.

Despite the fact that the English side, seems quite settled, they have some major selection issues they need to address ahead of the Ashes. Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff were two of the main reasons why England won the Ashes in 2005. Vaughan was fantastic with the bat and his captaincy while Flintoff contributed with both bat and ball. While Ravi Bopara is a fine player, he is no Michael Vaughan. But he is an improvement on Ian Bell who didn’t contribute anything of note with the bat in the 2005 Ashes.

Against the West Indies, England played five batsmen and five bowlers. Surely the balance of the side is better if Flintoff plays as he can be in both camps.

Will England find a place for Monty Panesar? Australia’s spinning woes since the retirement of Shane Warne have been well documented. Given the stranglehold he held over England, It would be ironic if England had the better spinning options. Would England pick Panesar and Graeme Swann together in the same team?

While Geraint Jones was much maligned for his keeping in 2005 and received a lot of criticism, his batting was quite good. He was involved in a number of key lower order partnerships. England will be looking to Matt Prior to continue in the same vein. If England want to have any success in Ashes 2009 they will be looking at the lower order to show some resilience and not to crumble. Often against Australia, it’s been a case of ‘Five-out’ equals ‘All out’. England will want to make sure this doesn’t happen this time.

David Wiseman is a sports journalist for Betfair Australia who writes on a wide range of sports and topics. He is eagerly anticipating this summers cricket, and the afl grand final.

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