Ashes 2013/14 – England Player Ratings

England have suffered an embarrassing and humiliating 5-0 series defeat to Australia over the last six weeks and there will undoubtedly be much written about the new direction that this England team needs to take. I am however going to look back at this painful Ashes series and give my thoughts and rating on all the England players.

Alastair Cook – 246 runs @ 24.6

Cook came into this tour with a superb record as captain after series victories away in India and home to Australia but his batting form was something of a concern. During the Ashes series his dreadful run with the bat continued – a top score of 72 from 10 innings is just not good enough for someone of Cook’s ability. His defensive and atrittional tactics continued during this series and his inability to think positively was showcased as Haddin and Lyon added 40 on the third morning in Melbourne. If Cook is seriously considering continuing as England captain then he will need to change his mentality into a more positive one and look to bring the best out of his players rather than strangle their creativity. His batting form should come back to him eventually, he is still a young man and 25 test hundreds don’t lie.

Series Rating: 4

Michael Carberry – 281 runs @ 28.1

The Hampshire opener was the surprise selection for this tour and came into the side through his one day reputation. However as the tour wore on, Carberry became almost strokeless and looked a pale imitation of the man who had flayed county attacks to all parts. Continued to waste good starts throughout the series and really should have score a hundred at some point. He showed good signs of improvement in the final innings at Sydney and looked more comfortable against Johnson and for me has done enough during this wretched tour to deserve a chance at the top of the order during the summer.

Series Rating: 6

Jonathan Trott – 19 runs @ 9.5

England’s troubles on this tour all started when Trott left the team after the first test due a mental illness. He has been a consistent run scorer for England for the past 4 years but looked technically and mentally gone during his two innings at Brisbane.

Series Rating: 2

Kevin Pietersen – 294 runs @ 29.4

The fact that Pietersen was England’s highest run scorer during the series says a lot about their batting troubles. Pietersen was guilty of getting starts and then failing to kick on, he showed some increasing signs of form, especially at Melbourne. He looks as though a big score is just around the corner and a five test series at home to India might be just what he needs to showcase himself on the grandest stage once again. He has to play on for a few years yet to help nurture this new England team through to the next phase. However, still an extremely disappointing series from a world class player.

Series Rating: 5

Ian Bell – 235 runs @ 26.1

Struggled to continue his good form from the summer and was overlooked at three for most of the series. He showed some fight at Adelaide with 72 not out before running out of partners but when finally promoted to three at Sydney he looked completely devoid of confidence and form and could have been out three times during the first innings. Needs to be given some responsibility during the summer (vice captaincy?) to allow him to fulfil his potential during the last few years of his career

Series Rating : 4

Joe Root – 192 runs @ 27.4

Ended the series out of the side after batting himself to a standstill in Melbourne. Started the series at six and this is probably where he belongs at this stage in his career. This tour will be a useful learning curve for the young batsmen and he will come back stronger during the summer where I expect him to bat at 5. His bowling also continues to impress, being used ahead of Monty at Melbourne.

Series Rating: 4

Matt Prior – 107 runs @ 17.8, 10 catches

After being England’s player of the year in May, Prior endured a torrid tour. His batting form deserted him and his usual strengths, his aggression and staying legside of the ball, became his glaring weaknesses. His batting will come good again and his style is suited to fluctuating form but it was his keeping that will have worried England more. His dismal showing at Perth was embarrassing for somebody of his class. However, he should walk back into the side in June because his replacement Bairstow is not yet test quality.

Series Rating: 3

Stuart Broad – 24 wickets @27.5, 155 runs @ 19.7

Undoubtedly England’s best bowler during this series and by the final two tests he had overtaken Anderson as the leader of the attack. Found the right mixture of aggression and control to consistently trouble the Aussie top order and is maturing into one of the finest fast bowlers in the world. His batting was a little disappointing, he is capable of making fifties and the way he was worked over by Johnson was worrying but he fared no worse than some of the top order. Still has a tendency to try to captain the side when in the field, needs to allow Cook to take control more often.

Series Rating: 7

Graeme Swann – 7 wickets @ 70

Started the series as the best spinner in the world and ended it battered, bruised and retired. Never has man’s career changed so drastically within three tests. After being the leading wicket taker during the 2013 Ashes series, Swann was targeted by Australia and looked devoid of any ideas. He appeared to lack the confidence to rise to the challenge of the Aussie top order and his subsequent disintegration was shocking. Left the side in the lurch after a cowardly decision to retire mid series, a sad end to a brilliant career.

Series Rating : 1

Chris Tremlett – 4 wickets @ 30

Looked short of a game during his only outing at the Gabba, however I thought he showed enough during the second innings to warrant selection later in the series, especially at Perth. I’ll be surprised if he plays a test again.

Series Rating: 3

James Anderson – 14 wickets @ 43.9

Anderson struggled to replicate his form from the 2010/11 Ahses series and appeared unable to make the Kookaburra ball work to his advantage. Despite this poor series, he will undoubtedly bounce back during the English summer but when watching hime throughout this series you can help but worry that his best years may be behind him. He’ll benefit from time off before the summer and should be back to lead the attack against Sri Lanka.

Series Rating: 3

Ben Stokes – 279 runs @ 34.9, 15 wickets @ 32.8

The main bright spot from this tour for England – at just 22, it looks like England may have unearthed a real test all-rounder. He was surprisingly brought into the side at Adelaide and impressed from there on. If his development continues then he will allow England the luxury of being able to play five bowlers in any conditions. His batting looks technically good and his mentality is aggressive and combative, which were all qualities lacking in the rest of the top order. His bowling is still raw and he leaks runs too easily but he appears to have the happy knack of taking wickets when it matters.

Series Rating: 9

Monty Panesar – 3 wickets @ 85.7

Alongside Tremlett, Trott, Swann and Rankin, I fear we may have seen Panesar’s final test for England. This series just came to soon for him after a torrid summer in England, he was completely dropped in it by Swann’s retirement but he just didn’t acquit himself as we would expect. Cook’s decision to bowl Root ahead of him on the final day in Melbourne spoke volumes.

Series Rating: 1

Tim Bresnan – 5 wickets @ 41.20, 34 @8.5

Another player that looked short of match practice before being picked for the Adelaide test. His bowling appeared down on speed and on hard, fast Australian pitches, bowling in the last 70’s mph just won’t cut it. He is another who should also come back into contention during the English summer, but if England are looking towards the future and trying to build a new team they could do worse than to cast Bresnan aside from the test game.

Series Rating: 4

Johnny Bairstow – 49 runs @ 12.2, 10 catches

Quite simply not a test player, his glove work was shoddy and his missed chance at Melbourne, when he didn’t move on an edge that Cook fumbled, could have turned the game for England. His batting looks far too loose for test cricket and he gets bowled far too many times to be a test player. Needs at least two good summers for Yorkshire before being looked at again for Test cricket.

Series Rating: 1

Gary Balance – 25 runs @12.5

Should have been given his chance much earlier in the series. And he showed enough skill and bravery to battle for an hour in Melbourne. Looks like a serious player for the future, this summer may be a year too early for him but he is certainly a good middle order prospect for England.

Series Rating: 5

Scott Borthwick – 5 runs @ 2.5, 4 wickets @ 20.5

Despite being primarily a batsman for Durham during the summer, he was selected for the final test as the lone spinner. Was drastically underused by Cook and when asked to bowl he showed good consistency for a leggie and he appears to have the right character to succeed as  a spinner in the modern game. His batting needs to given more of a chance and I’d like to see him play in the summer. He won’t be required to bowl too much on the seam friendly pitches in nearly season England and I believe he should be given a go at number 6 with Stokes at 7 and Prior at 8.

Series Rating: 5

Boyd Rankin – 1 wicket @ 81

A horror debut for the Irishman, looking like a member of the one test club already. Showed some initial promise during his first 4 overs but was let down by his poor fitness and his inability to bowl consistent spells. I’ll be very surprised to see him feature during the summer.

Series Rating: 1



5 thoughts on “Ashes 2013/14 – England Player Ratings

  1. It’s amazing how such a turn around can happen in the space of a few months. I was over in England for the final test (wash out) at The Oval and you blokes couldn’t have been happier with a 4-0 series win. England have always been a great foe and they will bounce back this.

  2. Interesting what you say about Panesar. I do agree though, he hasn’t bowled well this season and in my opinion got in the squad on the basis of past performances not form. Biggest problem England has is their lack of spin options. Borthwick is not good enough, Tredwell may be an option but isn’t the long term solution and Kerrigan will have to turn it round massively. Talk of Olly Rayner being given an opportunity but he’s hardly a major threat or of the required quality

  3. Really interesting to read your opinion; obviously to argue on player ratings is a waste of time, as it’s an entirely personal viewpoint, but I thought your comments, which read to the tune that on Borthwick having “the right character” for a test match spinner was interesting. I think he bounced back from his first spell to do what test leg spinners used to do before Warne raised the bar; Borthwick ripped the ball past the outside edge a few times, bowled a few rippers, and at least one full toss or half tracker per over. And the way he seemed keen to be bowling, as opposed to his predecessor in the spin-debutant-potential-train wreck department, Kerrigan. Basically he has the ability to be the old-style, pre-Warne leg spinner, the guy who knows he can bowl the odd unplayable ball, and just tries to reduce his ratio of decent balls vs full tosses and half trackers. If England want to usher in a new era of more aggressive cricket, a leg spinning all rounder who bowls an unplayable leg-break and a rank piece of garbage in the same over could not possibly be any more representative of aggressive bowling. Plus, that type of bowling demands more aggressive captaincy, which might just shove Cook into that frame of mind.

    At the least, it would be fun, although I suspect that Borthwick actually doesn’t have Cook’s backing. Cook would almost never have played with a leg spinner before, and definitely wouldn’t have captained one, so I think if he makes the eleven again, Borthwick would need to be patient with Cook as much as Cook would need to be patient with him. Definitely an interesting scenario to watch out for in the England summer.

    Note *On Borthwick as a bowler; there’s a fair bit wrong with his action, but he’s short enough so that as he gets better, he won’t need to be a top-heavy, Cameron White style leg spin bowler (ie high action, bowling 80% straight top spinner, 10% leg break, 10 % googly) just to get more accurate.

    Wow, that comment became far more rambling than I had planned. Oh well.

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