After a long summer of cricket, the Australian team has finally departed the English shores after four months. The 2019 edition of the Ashes was played in fantastic spirit. There was a redemption story for the ages, while many heartbreaks were also witnessed. Finally, there wasn’t much to seperate between the two sides, as the scoreline ended at 2-2. Despite not winning the series, the urn will return to Australia on the virtue of them winning the 2017-18 series.
Though there were some brilliant individual performances from the likes of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Pat Cummins, the English summer was a nightmare for some big names. They severely underperformed and often had a torrid time in the middle. Here we take a look at some big names who had their reputations severely dented at the conclusion of the Ashes.
Unlike his compatriot Steve Smith, it was not meant to be a big redemption arc for opener David Warner on his return to Test cricket. After enjoying a fantastic World Cup campaign, big things were expected from the fiery opener. But Stuart Broad tormented him throughout the series, bowling from round the wicket. Warner faced 104 deliveries from Broad, managing to score only 35 runs, being dismissed 7 times. Overall, Warner scored only 95 runs in 10 innings at an average of 9.50 with one half-century. Well and truly, a series to forget for the Australian opener.
Joe Root made a bold call to promote himself up the order and bat at No.3 during the Ashes. His preferred position has always been to bat at No.4 and his performance severely suffered due to this. Often exposed against the new ball against a fantastic pace attack, the series ended with many questioning Root’s standing amongst the ‘Big 4’ of international batsmen. Completely overshadowed by Smith, Root scored only 325 runs in 10 innings at an average of 32.50. His failure to convert starts into centuries again reared its ugly head. He scored 4 half-centuries, with none of them being converted into a big score. Apart from his failure with the bat, Root’s captaincy also severely came under criticism during the series.
The 2019 Ashes was the biggest indication that Mitchell Starc is no longer the pace spearhead of the Australian bowling attack. His stock majorly crashed as he was not considered for four out of the five Test matches during the series. His fitness in the longest format of the game remains a big question mark. He also has the tendency to be wayward and seems out of place in an Australian pace battery who are relentless in nature. Starc only played the Manchester Test, picking up 4 wickets and scoring a half-century. He was then dropped for the Oval Test, and his future in Test cricket hangs in the balance.
Jason Roy came into the Ashes with a reputation of being one of the most fearsome players in the shorter formats of the game. Many expected him to become the next Virender Sehwag of international cricket. But his lack of technique to deal with the swinging ball was thoroughly exposed. Such was his failure as an opener, that he was demoted down the order at No.4 for the Manchester Test. Eventually, he was deemed not good enough, being dropped for the final Test. He aggregated only 110 runs in 8 innings at an average of 13.75 and a highest score of 31. The Roy experiment backfired miserably for the English think-tank.
Khawaja’s failure to be a steady influence at the crucial No.3 spot saw him getting dropped for the final two Test matches. His career has been bogged down by inconsistency – moments of brilliance followed by long stretches of failure. After his efforts against Pakistan in UAE, Australia believed that they finally had a long-term No.3 and Khawaja had unearthed his potential. But the Ashes have again raised big question marks over his future with Marnus Labuschagne looking a much safer bet in the batting order. Khawaja often looked decent in the middle, getting off to starts. But none of them were converted into scores which could have earned him a long rope. In six innings, he only scored 122 runs at an average of 20.33.