Ashes Team of the Series

August 3, 2023
3 min read

IST’s resident cricket nerd, Rob Short, has run his rule over the latest instalment of the Ashes and selected his team of the series…


The Openers


This felt a straight forward task. Zak Crawley & Usman Khawaja, despite completely contrasting methods, have executed their roles impressively for their teams, with each batter perfectly encapsulating their side’s style.


Crawley is arguably the player who best personifies Bazball, whilst Khawaja is a devotee of the classical Test match approach to batting. Khawaja has been consistent throughout the series, particularly early on. Crawley came into his own at Old Trafford – he could do with adding some of his opposite number’s consistency to his game.


The Middle Order


None of the middle order stroke makers, for either side, have had a fantastic series. Solid is probably the best way to describe their efforts – and given the class & quality of the players occupying England and Australia’s batting line-ups, that must be a disappointment.


Take the players I have selected. Marnus Labuschagne has struggled at times, but his century at Old Trafford went a long way to saving the Test match (along with the Manchester weather). Joe Root has looked a million dollars and only Stokes’ bizarre Edgbaston declaration stopped him recording a daddy. At times, however, he has seemed carried away with attacking – notably at Lord’s with his side in control. Talking of carried away, Harry Brook is another who seemed to over commit to Bazball to begin with, before calming down and playing an integral role at Headingly (honourable mention for Travis Head here, who has had a lean series but very similar average to Brook).


Only one man for the no.6 role of course. Ben Stokes may well be a player of great innings, rather than an all-time great, but when England need someone to come up with something special, he delivers.


The Keeper


Odd one, this. Alex Carey has scored fewer runs than Jonny Bairstow; is averaging almost half of his opposite number, scoring at a demonstrably slower rate, with just one 50 to his name. All that before we even mention the biggest controversy of the series – no, not the mystery haircut. So why have I picked him?


I am very much of the opinion that a keeper is, first and foremost, a keeper – growing up, as I did, watching one of the finest ever inJames Foster. It’s not an exact science, but if you look at extras throughout the series (taking away no balls and wides, often not down to a keeper) you seeAustralia have conceded (80) to England’s (100).


This is without mentioning the missed chances and how much they cost a team. First test – Bairstow’s missed stumping of Cameron Green cost 38 runs. Carey was dropped twice by the Yorkshireman on his way to 66. If those chances are taken, England win at Edgbaston.


The Bowlers


An even split here. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc for the Aussies; Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes for England. There are honourable mentions here for Hazlewood and Mark Wood, but the four selected have been a cut above. Stuart Broad deserves incredible credit for playing all 5 tests. A six with his final ball in test cricket with the bat and a wicket with his final ball.  The curtain comes down and a perfect good-bye for an all-time great. Thank you Nighthawk.


The Skipper


Neither captain has shone, let’s be honest. I’ve given the nod to Cummins. I simply can’t forget Stokes’ declaration on Day One of the series, with Joe Root in sublime form, two wickets in hand, just shy of 400. You can’t win a five Test series on the first day, but you can lose the initiative – and Stokes’ declaration did just that. Although Cummins has had his own horror moments, he just about shades it.



1.    Zak Crawley (ENG)

2.    Usman Khawaja (AUS)

3.    Marnus Labuschagne (AUS)

4.    Joe Root (ENG)

5.    Harry Brook (ENG)

6.    Ben Stokes (ENG)

7.    Alex Carey (AUS) (wk)

8.    Chris Woakes (ENG)

9.    Pat Cummins (AUS) (c)

10.  Mitchell Starc (AUS)

11.  Stuart Broad (ENG)

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