Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Women's Ashes - The Pessimist v The Optimist?

The Women's Ashes begins in less than a week; and you can get the full lowdown over at womens-cricket.blogspot.co.uk.

As an England fan, I'm excited... but also nervous; and in the past few weeks I've veered between optimism and pessimism.

The Pessimist

England's early-summer wins against Pakistan were a little close for comfort. Pakistan are the weakest of the "top 8" sides; and if England are going to beat Australia, you'd expect them to totally put Pakistan to the sword... but they didn't. (Which, I might add, is great news for international women's cricket in general though!)

Several of England's top bowlers have had problematic years. Four of our go-tos - Brunt, Shrubsole, Colvin and Marsh - have had serious injury problems and been out for significant periods; and if Brunt and Shrubsole both make it through 10 days of hard cricket, it will be a miracle.

Then there is Sarah Taylor; who had a dreadful World Cup; and while she has found some form this season, she no longer looks quite like the best player in the world that she did a year ago.

The Optimist

The Test is the key - if England can take the 6 points there, it is a long way back for Australia; and Lottie Edwards could be be the difference between the teams at Wormsley. If England bat first, and Edwards posts a big hundred, then England will be well on their way. And when England bowl, they'll have the most experienced captain in world cricket running the show.

Our leading bowlers may have had injury problems; but they'll be fired-up and ready to go. If England gamble on Brunt and Shrubsole for The Test, they could take a lot of wickets between them; while Holly Colvin* Laura Marsh keeps it tight at the other end. And if Brunt and Shrubsole can bring back those points from Wormsley... maybe it doesn't matter if they don't play all the limited-overs games?

Then there is Sarah Taylor! As the old adage goes, form is temporary but class is permanent;and she is due some big performances on some big occasions.

So...

Who is it going to be? I don't know! If I were a gambling man, I have to say that I might be putting my money on Australia... but my heart will always say England!

* UPDATE: Colvin has been left out of the Test squad.

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