The Ashes is arguably the greatest rivalry in the game of cricket. A few years ago, every Ashes tournament used to be a feast for the fans. However, lately, coming into the tournament, one or the other squad is having issues. This is making the rivalry one-sided. Although in 2021, the Aussie team looks strong, the English team has a few game-changers. The Australian squad also has some weak areas. On that note, in this article, we take a look at the best Ashes combined XI of 2021.
Openers: David Warner and Haseeb Hameed
David Warner and Haseeb Hameed will open the batting for this best Ashes combined XI of 2021. Warner has been the mainstay in the Aussie Test squad for a while now. The player, who was initially considered as a T20 specialist, has played above 85 Tests for his country. Even in the first game, he got a 94 that helped the Aussies start well.
For England, though, the opening has been a clear problem for a while now. However, one player who looks promising is Haseeb Hameed. Despite a few failures, the management seems to have made the decision to back him. The youngster did show some mettle in the middle at Brisbane.
Middle-Order: Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Joe Root (C) and Jos Buttler (WK)
It will be a blockbuster middle-order for this XI. Three of the Top-4 batsmen in the world are currently taking part in the Ashes. At No.3, we have Marnus Labuschagne, the Aussie who stands No.4 in the list of ICC’s Test ranking charts.
Steve Smith and Joe Root will form the heart of this batting department. Amongst active cricketers, no one has made more runs than Smith in the Ashes. The Australian vice-captain has smashed close to 3000 runs against England in the Ashes.
The English duo of Root and Buttler will also feature in this XI. While Root is the No.1 Test batter at the moment, Buttler is the obvious pick as the wicket-keeper between the two sides. Root, thanks to his experience, will captain this squad ahead of Pat Cummins, who is just recently aboard the job.
All-Rounders: Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes has returned from injury, but he is a class player and the impact that he can have cannot be ignored. In fact, in the previous Ashes, it was Stokes’ performance that helped the English team. Compared to Cameroon Green, Stokes is more experienced and a proven candidate to take this slot.
Bowlers: Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, James Anderson and Nathan Lyon
Pat Cummins and James Anderson will headline the pace attack for this best Ashes combined XI of 2021. While Pat is the No.1 Test bowler on the planet right now, Anderson is the all-time highest wicket-taking pacer and is the leader of the elite list. Pat is also Australia’s skipper for the event, the first instance of a pure bowler leading the country in whites.
Although the English Team does have a few good bowlers like Ollie Robinson and Stuart Broad, due to the variety he brings to the team, Starc will operate as the third pacer in the XI. Starc, despite the talk around his form, did decently well in the first game. Nathan Lyon will be the sole spinner in this team. Having picked up 89 wickets so far in the Ashes, the right-arm off-spinner is one of the most successful bowlers in the rivalry.