Australia and England are all set to revive their traditional rivalry with the first test of the Ashes starting on August 1, in Birmingham. Both teams are expected to go all out to win the prestigious Ashes urn.
Before the start of the tournament, Ricky Ponting, the former Australian cricket captain and the assistant coach of Australia’s World Cup 2019 side cautioned the team about Ben Stokes, the prolific all-rounder of England. In his opinion, Stokes can prove to be a major threat to Australia’s chances of winning the Ashes this time.
Often times the betting markets are a very good indicator of who’s going to win and lose in the end. If you look at the odds, England go in as favourites to win the Ashes this time, at odds of 10/11 and Australia are not too far behind at 11/8. The possibility of the series ending up in a draw is being offered at 13/2 by bookmakers. Anyone interested in betting on the ‘series winner’ or other options like the ‘top Australia batsman,’ ‘top England batsman’ can get a full list of all bookies offers here. These are the best betting offers and bookmakers available in the UK as of now.
Talking further about Ponting’s opinion of Ben Stokes playing a key role in the outcome of Ashes 2019, the ex-captain seemed mighty impressed by the mature approach of Ben Stokes during their recent World Cup 2019 campaign. He believes that the English all-rounder is a lot like Andrew Flintoff.
Ben played a very critical role in helping England win the World Cup and has successfully re-established himself as an important player of the side after the off-field incident which had threatened his career in late 2017.
Talking to the cricket.com.au, Ponting heaped praises on the English all-rounder saying that he plays with a lot of maturity now and doesn’t come across as being in a lot of rush these days, something that used to be the case earlier. There is something about his personality too as he’s a strong, brash and big guy with a certain bit of ego as well. Ponting feels that when Stokes was young, everything about him was one speed and flat out. However, he understood situations very well during the crucial World Cup matches and played according to them. By doing so he displayed very good understanding of his own game, as well as maturity to put his team’s interests first. Chris Woakes, Ben’s English teammate had also expressed recently how everyone’s pleased by how Ben has emerged as a whole package for the team.
Ponting seemed worried that the current form of Ben Stokes could spell a lot of trouble for the visiting Australian team in August, when they start their quest to win the first ever Ashes series on English soil since the year 2001.
He further said, “He’s a key man and more a key man because I think he’s that real heartbeat for their team, a bit like ‘Freddie’ Flintoff in Ashes series gone by. Whenever they were in trouble and they needed something, they tend to go to those sort of guys.”
Right now Ben Stokes has been rested for the one-off test played by England against minnows. The team is also nursing a sort of World Cup hangover, which was very evident in their embarrassing 85 all out collapse in the first innings!
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