19/04/2024

Rory Burns is one of five who could play major roles in England retaining the Ashes this summer. (Photo: ICC/Twiter)

We've taken a look at some of the lesser known English players that will be taking on Australia in the Ashes series, starting next week.

England and Australia have named fairly strong squads ahead of The Ashes beginning in Brisbane next Wednesday.

While many of the Australian players have reputations that precede themselves, but a group of talented English players remain relatively unknown on foreign shores.

Now some have gotten a bit of an idea on talented fast bowler Ollie Robinson, but here’s a brief look at the unknown England players who could take Australia by storm.

Rory Burns: Opening batter

The left-handed Burns has been a mainstay of the England test team since his debut in 2018. You could almost argue he’s Alastair Cook 2.0.

In fact here’s why: he’s left-handed, an opening batter, and was brought in to replace England’s test top-run scorer. And the opener has done really well in replacing him.

Since his debut against Sri Lanka in 2018, he’s socred 1712 runs at an average of 32.3, picking up three hundreds and 11 fifties. The last Ashes series in England he scored 390 runs at 39, making a hundred at Edgbaston and two fifties.

Is a prolific run-scorer at first-class level for London county Surrey. Following his debut in  2011 he’s gotten 10,714 runs at an average of 41.9, and has 63 fifties and 21 hundreds.

Whilst his last series vs India wasn’t the best, he will still be vital to England’s chances of getting The Ashes back this Australian summer.

Zak Crawley: Top order batter

One of the young up-and-coming batters in the England squad, Crawley is both a solid player and a strokemaker.

He’s been a bit in and out of the England XI, but in his 15 matches, he’s scored 737 runs at an average of 28.3. 

Crawley has scored four fifties, and has the seventh highest score for a maiden hundred in test cricket with his 267 vs Pakistan.

Playing his entire first class career for south-east county Kent since his 2015 debut, he’s scored 3415 runs at 31.3, with five hundreds and 21 fifties.

In England’s last series against India he only played the one match, scoring 33 runs in the first test. He hasn’t had a major impact in England’s test side (bare that double hundred), but can be a danger if he finds form.

Haseeb Hameed: Top order batter

Another of the young brigade for England, Hameed again brings class up front with a strong cover drive and powerful wrist work.

He is the youngest English debutant to open, making his debut at 19-years-old in Rajkot against India. 

Since that debut he’s played five more tests, all against India, scoring 359 runs at an average of 35.9. He’s made four fifties in his test career, with his highest score of 82 coming in that debut match in Rajkot.

In first-class cricket, he’s been a consistent performer for East Midlands side Nottinghamshire. Since his debut in 2015 for Lancashire, he’s scored 4123 runs at 32.7, getting 24 fifties and eight hundreds.

Hameed recently got back into the England side and showed promise in the series against India, scoring 140 runs at 28. If he gets going, he’s a massive threat.

Ollie Pope: Middle order batter

Still young at 23-years-old, Pope brings a bit more class when he plays for England. However, it’s been a rather up and down test career for him so far.

He made his test debut in August 2018 against the Indians. While he’s been in and out of the test side, he has still managed to play 20 tests in his career to date. 

In those 20 tests he’s scored 965 runs at an average of 32.2, hitting six fifties and one hundred. His high score of 135* was enough to earn him a player of the match performance against South Africa. 

Pope’s first-class numbers are prodigious though. Playing his entire career with London county Surrey, he’s scored 4153 in only 91 innings at 53.2. He has 12 hundreds and 13 fifties, including a high score of 274 against Glamorgan.

He’s also fairly versatile, having batted from numbers four to seven in the England side. While Pope might initially struggle to get a game, if he does play is a major threat for the Aussies.

Dom Bess: Bowling all-rounder

Handy with bat and ball, Bess is another big part of England’s future and is a proven test performer.

He’s another who made his debut in 2018, this time against Pakistan. Since that debut he’s taken 36 wickets at an average of 34, including a best of 5/30 in Sri Lanka. 

Bess also scored 319 runs at an average of 22.8 with his highest score of 57 coming in his debut match. 

The 24-year-old has been a terrific first-class player for powerhouse Yorkshire and Somerset. In 65 matches he’s taken 174 wickets at 30.3, with a best of 7/43 against Northamptonshire this year. Has also scored 1874 runs at 22.9, with eight fifties and a high score of 107 vs Essex in 2018.

He’ll be battling it out for the spinner’s spot with Jack Leach yet again. If he is selected, he’ll play a big role in locking down one end bowling and getting in some tail-ender runs.

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