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Ashes 2010/11 Player Ratings
by Readers Columnist Corner (Other)
Posted on January 12, 2011, 12:04 AM

ENGLAND

Alastair Cook
The player of the series. A return of 766 runs at the scarcely believable average of 127 would have been enough to place him at the top of the list, but even more impressive has been the manner in which he has achieved these remarkable numbers. Four years ago he toured as a frightened 20-year old and was bullied by Warne, McGrath & Co. This series he has looked every inch a Test opener, scoring freely off the front and back foot and demonstrating a previously unseen aggression. Australiaís attack simply had no answers for him. 10.

James Anderson
Only Cook stands above him this series as a matchwinner. While he has always been a threat in English conditions with the Duke ball in his hand, this summer he proved that he is a world class swing bowler capable of ripping through any batting line up. His 24 wickets for the series put him miles ahead of any other bowler, but more important were the batsmen he dismissed and the manner in which those wickets were taken. His three wickets on the first morning in Adelaide tore the heart out of the Australian side and set the tone for the rest of the series. With the possible exception of Daye Steyn, Anderson must now rank as the worldís premier fast bowler. 9.5

Jonathon Trott
Another player for whom Australia seemed to have no answers. Virtually unmovable at the crease, he is capable of batting for hours on end without playing a false stroke. This discipline enabled him to rack up more than 400 runs for the series at the remarkable average of 89. The value of a number three batsman who simply refuses to lose his wicket cheaply cannot be overstated. When a batsman scores very close to 75 per cent of his runs on the on side though, questions must be asked though about an international bowling attack that cannot keep the ball off leg stump. 8.5

Ian Bell
Cook and Trott may have scored more runs, but no batsman was better to watch than Ian Bell. Possessing the highest left elbow in world cricket, his cover driving in particular was a joy to behold. Australia has never completely rated Bell as a top level batsman and his breakthrough hundred in Sydney was as a tremendous personal triumph. An immediate move to number four or five must surely follow a superb series. 8

Andrew Strauss
A solid series with the bat was complemented by a tremendous display of leadership and authority. Always composed and positive, his 307 runs came at his career average of 43. He has built a disciplined, battle hardened side who are capable of beating any team in world cricket. He will be 34 in 2013, but must be at very short odds to lead the defence of the urn. 8

Matthew Prior
Superb with the bat, impressive behind the stumps and he did it all with a smile on his face. Not as gifted a batsman as Brad Haddin, he played with more discipline than his Australian counterpart and his wicketkeeping was of a different standard. Overall Haddin is probably still the better player, but England finally have a world-class wicketkeeper-batsman. A very good series. 8

Chris Tremlett
Stuart Broadís injury proved a blessing in disguise for England, as it allowed the giant Tremlett to make his mark. Moved the ball in the air and off the pitch, troubled every Australian batsman and was a constant threat. With Anderson, Tremlett, Broad, Finn, Bresnan and Swann, England suddenly have the most balanced, threatening and deepest bowling attack in the world. 8

Tim Bresnan
Good pace, constant movement through the air and off the pitch and a relentless length meant that for the two Tests in which he featured, Bresnan was all but unplayable. His 11 wickets came at an average of 19 and his bustling style perfectly complemented Tremlettís steepling bounce and Andersonís dramatic swing. Englandís attack looked at its most balanced with those three, so expect Bresnan to retain his place for the foreseeable future. 8

Graeme Swann
Perhaps less effective than was expected, he maintained his reputation as the best spin bowler in the world with his ability to switch from an attacking role to holding up an end as required. He was far from the worst batsman on show too, and his very presence builds morale and confidence within his teammates. 7

Kevin Pietersen
An immense double hundred in Adelaide and not a lot else. Pietersen remains the most mercurial of talents for England, capable of winning games with his talent but all too often let down by his temperament. Never let the side down though and the perceived weakness against left-arm orthodox spin was nowhere to be seen. His tongue-in-cheek comments in Melbourne where he claimed that the Ashes win was largely due to his sacking as captain two years ago provided one of the great quotes of the summer. 7

Steven Finn
At only 21 years of age he is far from the finished article, but he showed plenty of promise during the first three Tests and will surely be a large part of Englandís future. Looked threatening with his consistent bounce and proved he can both swing and seam the ball. If he can continue to take wickets and learn to be more economical, he could be a truly top-class seamer. 6

Stuart Broad
Managed only two wickets in two Tests before a stomach injury ended his tour, but his control was impressive. His misfortune allowed Tremlett and Bresnan to prosper in his absence and he must now force his way back into contention. 5

Paul Collingwood
Failed consistently with the bat, but his bowling was handy and his catching extraordinary. The stunning leap at third slip to remove Ricky Ponting in Perth will live long in the memory. With the promising Eoin Morgan snapping at his heels though, he chose this moment to end his career on a high and his professionalism and all-round ability will be missed. 5

AUSTRALIA

Michael Hussey
One of the very few Australian positives to emerge from this series. Was fortunate to retain his place for the first Test, but managed to enhance his reputation while others around him were destroying theirs. Finished second to Cook in the run-scoring charts, with 570 at 63 including two centuries and three big half-centuries. Without him, Australia would have been out of contention well before Melbourne. Has an important role to play over the next 12 months or so. 9

Shane Watson
Few players are so frustrating. Since being thrust into the side as a makeshift opener on the last Ashes tour, Watson has proved he has the technique to bat at the top of the order with a consistent string of solid scores. Has an appalling conversion rate though, failing to convert any of his four half-centuries this series into hundreds. This ratio is worse over his career, with only two Test centuries to his name despite having passed 50 on 17 occasions. One of the few reliable batsmen at the moment though, and at times looked Australiaís most threatening bowler. 7

Brad Haddin
Batted well for his 360 runs at 45 and is one of the very few Australian batsmen who can be moderately pleased with his efforts. His wicketkeeping was below its best though and was shown up by the consistency of Matt Prior. That said, the disparity in dismissals between the two though is more a reflection of the relative bowling attacks than anything else. Remains an important player in the short-term, though Tim Paineís stocks continue to rise and he is already knocking on the door. 6.5

Peter Siddle
A very mixed series for the bustling Victorian quick. Took six wickets and a hat-trick on the first day in Brisbane and a more expensive six-wicket haul in Melbourne, but otherwise struggled throughout. His heart and determination unfortunately couldnít inspire his teammates though. Needs a bit more variety though, as his lack of attacking weapons allows batsmen to become accustomed to him fairly quickly. Should keep his place as the workhorse of the attack. 6

Usman Khawaja
Should have played from the start, but injury to Ricky Ponting allowed him to make his debut in Sydney. Showed enough in his first innings 37 to prove that he has a long future at Test level. His position in the immediate future depends on whether the selectors recall Ricky Ponting for the Sri Lankan tour and, if so, where Ponting bats. Has all the skills to bat at number three though and will be a vital player for Australia as they look to rebuild. 6

Ryan Harris
Australiaís most consistent bowler when fit, he missed the first Test through injury and broke down in Melbourne, limiting his opportunities this series. He was the only Australian to regularly swing the ball with any pace and he never stopped trying to take wickets. Should regain his place when he returns to fitness, though at 31 the selectors must assess his long-term viability, especially with some promising young quicks waiting for an opportunity. 5

Mitchell Johnson
Was at his unplayable, match winning best in Perth and his undisciplined, wayward worst everywhere else. As the leader of the bowling attack he needs to find something approaching consistency as a captain must be able to rely on his strike bowler. One positive to emerge from Sydney though was Michael Clarke putting the new ball in his hand. If Australia are to again be a threat at Test level, Johnson must be a danger with the new ball. 5

Simon Katich
May have played his last Test in Adelaide, where he was cruelly run out for a diamond duck in the first innings and batted bravely with a torn Achilles tendon in the second. His grittiness and determination make him a valuable asset and his potential replacement Phil Hughes would do well to put so high a price on his wicket. He will be 36 this year though and the selectors must put sentiment aside and look to the future. 5

Steve Smith
Remains an enigma for the selectors. While his talent is unquestioned and his potential almost limitless, he is yet to convince that he is ready for Test cricket. Was initially picked as a replacement batsman for Marcus North at number six, but batted at seven in Sydney. In three Tests he didnít do enough with bat or ball to suggest he is of international standard in either aspect. With time, experience and some direction he will surely evolve into an outstanding cricketer. First though, it must be decided what role he will play. 4

Michael Beer
A shock selection for the third Test, he carried the drinks in Perth and Melbourne before making his debut in Sydney to mixed reviews. He looked to have a reasonable amount of control, but didnít get any flight or dip nor did he turn his stock ball enough. Also looked to be short of variety. He is still in the infancy of his professional career though so this will likely come in time. Given he is already 26 though, one wonders why he is a better option than Hauritz, Doherty, Krejza, Holland, etc. Shouldnít be cast aside after one Test though. 4

Michael Clarke
Such a disappointment. Has been the most consistent batsmen for most of the past two years, but managed less than 200 runs for the entire series at the paltry average of 21. Finally achieved his dream of captaining the Test side in Sydney, though itíll be a debut heíd rather forget. Needs to tighten up his technique, with too many of his dismissals coming from loose shots outside off stump. With serious doubts over whether Ricky Ponting will return to the side, the captaincy may soon become permanent. Either way, Australia need so much more from him. 3

Phil Hughes
Extremely frustrating. Has a tremendous eye and unquestioned natural ability, but his unorthodox technique and complete lack of footwork continue to cost him big scores. The English bowlers were patient and relentless, knowing that eventually he would hang his bat out and throw his wicket away. Is struggling to get on top of his technical issues at present and desperately needs some confidence. Must learn to leave the ball outside off stump and work on playing with a straighter bat if he is to succeed as a Test opener. 3

Ben Hilfenhaus
Simply wasnít enough of a threat to the English batsmen. He didnít swing the ball at any real pace and wasnít capable of offering any variety. He was economical and held down an end, but Australia needed him to attack and take wickets in the same way Anderson did for England. It remains to be seen whether he will keep his place as the selectors look to the future. 3

Ricky Ponting
It was horrible to watch one of the all-time great batsmen struggle with the basic fundamentals, before a broken finger forced him out of the final Test. Managed only 113 runs for the entire series at 16 and embarrassed himself with a prolonged onfield dispute with umpire Aleem Dar in Melbourne. Is now considering a move down the order to alleviate some of the pressure on him, but the selectors must be considering whether he will be in the side at all. If he has played his last game, it will be a tragic way for one of the finest players Australia has ever produced to bow out. 2

Marcus North
A class batsman who should have enjoyed a long, successful Test career. He has a remarkable conversion rate, with five Test centuries and four half-centuries. To put it more simply, North tends to either fail horribly or make a big hundred and this is reflected in his Test average of just 35. In a side where too many batsmen are struggling, this inconsistency is untenable and North lost his place following the second Test. With young batsmen like Khawaja, Cameron Smith and Callum Ferguson all pushing for selection, Northís international career is over. 2

Doug Bollinger
A real question mark for Australia. He missed the opening Test following an injury he picked up playing in the Twenty20 Championís League tournament for NSW several months earlier. After Australia struggled for wickets in Brisbane, he was recalled for the second Test in Adelaide, but was dropped after he returned 1/130 in never really looked threatening. At 29 years of age and with a raft of young quicks waiting in the wings, one wonders what future Doug the Rug has at Test level. 2

Xavier Doherty
Itís hard to know what to say about the left arm orthodox spinner. Selected for the first two Tests on the strength of his domestic limited overs form and a superb ODI debut against Sri Lanka, he struggled to take the next step against a good very good batting side. He bowls good lines, but his lack of attacking weapons render him rather ineffective at Test level. Three wickets at 102 though represent a failure for a front line spin bowler. That said, the selectors who were so bold in selecting him showed no faith in discarding him so quickly. 2

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