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Ashes 2019 preview: Ex-England cricketer Monty Panesar on Jason Roy, Steve Smith and who will win the iconic urn

There’s real potential for 2019 to be the best summer of cricket in England ever.

England’s dramatic triumph over New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup final has got things rolling for Trevor Bayliss’ men.

The feeling is good in England Cricket at the moment

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The feeling is good in England Cricket at the moment

But they’ve got another giant task ahead of them with the Ashes series against bitter rivals Australia.

Their foes are the current holders of the Ashes having given England a pasting Down Under between November 2017-January 2018, winning the five-match series 4-0.

However, Joe Root and co. are on home soil and will feel they can win back the iconic urn but what can we expect from this series?

With the first Test match beginning on Thursday, talkSPORT.com consulted former England spin bowler Monty Panesar, who played in three different Ashes series, to preview the upcoming series.

talkSPORT.com spoke to Panesar to preview the Ashes this summer

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talkSPORT.com spoke to Panesar to preview the Ashes this summer


What will the mood in the England camp be like with the Ashes about to begin?

“They’ve recently won a World Cup so I think they’ll be very pleased with themselves and they’ll be confident.

“They did well against Ireland [winning by 143 runs] last week so they’ll be confident against Australia.”

Where will the Ashes be won and lost?

“The Ashes is always the pinnacle for any England cricketer because of the rivalry with Australia and over the years we found a way to beat Australia.

“It was nice to even see England dominate Australia at points when I was playing.

“This Ashes series could be slightly different. I think it will be about who bowls better. It’s a question of whether pace has more of an impact and it depends on the types of pitches.

Panesar played in the Ashes in 2006/07, 2009 and 2010/11

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Panesar played in the Ashes in 2006/07, 2009 and 2010/11

“If the pitches are flat pitches and slow then we [England] have a better chance but if they produce anything with a bit of pace and green in it then I think Australia will have an upper hand. They seem to bowl a lot quicker. I don’t think they’re as good or as skilful when it comes to flatter pitches.

“The pitch at Edgbaston for the first Test should suit England better because they tend to play better at Edgbaston than Australia but with this pitch, even if Australia bowl quick on it and the ball isn’t getting any movement, then I think it’s quite easy for the English players to bat on it.”

How will the England and Australia bowlers do?

“With the rain in the air and the weather conditions then it’s probably not favourable for batting it could bring the Australian players into the game but it really depends on how much movement they can get.

“The Australian seamers could get exposed by England if there is not a lot of movement.

“Spinners will play a huge role at these Ashes series, you can’t just have fast bowlers all the time. I think Australia’s Nathan Lyon is a slightly better bowler than Moeen Ali but Ali bowls well when the English seamers are on good rhythm.

Moeen Ali stars as England wrap up victory over South Africa A team

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Panesar fears Ali could get exposed by Australia this summer

“But if the pressure is on Moeen Ali and the other bowlers aren’t bowling as well as they should then I think he could be exposed at this Ashes series.

“Jofra Archer is a great bowler, he’s got a great action but I would back Anderson and Broad as an opening pair and maybe Archer as a No.3.

“I always back experience over fresh talent and I think if Jimmy Anderson is fully fit then I don’t think Archer should be playing in the first Test. I’d have Anderson, Broad, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran in.”

Who will be the standout players for England and Australia?

“It’s an interesting one but I think the standout player is going to be Jason Roy. If he can get going then he can take things away from the Australian bowlers.

“Roy is very similar to a Virender Sehwag type of cricketer. He hasn’t really played much Test cricket and if Australia can’t get a lot of movement then I can really see Jason Roy taking it to them.

Can Roy emulate his ODI form at the Ashes?

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Can Roy emulate his ODI form at the Ashes?

“I think Australia’s key batsman is going to be Usman Khawaja actually. He looks good on spin, he’s a good player of seam bowling and he manages to play long innings.

“That No.3 spot is really up for grabs and he can really nail his spot and show the Australian selectors that he can bat when the conditions are tough and the wicket is flat and bat long periods. This is a pivotal moment in his career.

“If he doesn’t perform then it’ll raise real questions on whether he really is a solid No.3. This is the series for him to nail down that spot.

“There will be times when David Warner and Steve Smith get out and it’ll be up to Khawaja to think ‘I’m going to take that responsibility, I will bat when the bowling is swinging and seaming, I’m not going to give my wicket away and I’ll see out the good spell.’”

Will Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft get some stick for ‘Sandpapergate’?

“I’ll be surprised if they don’t [get a hostile reception] because the Ashes is about winning. It’s not about ‘are we going to win this in a friendly manner?’ it’s about winning the Test match.

Australia’s Smith was banned for a year after being caught ball-tampering with Warner and Bancroft in South Africa in March 2018

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Australia’s Smith was banned for a year after being caught ball-tampering with Warner and Bancroft in South Africa in March 2018

“If we don’t go hard on Warner, Smith and Bancroft about the incident in South Africa and Australia win comfortably, then people will think they should go hard on them in the next Test match.

“Sledging has always been in the game and it’s about being subtle. You don’t want to affect a player’s mental or emotional state but just the odd thing to disrupt their rhythm, get them out and that’s it.

“You don’t want them to go into their rooms and think ‘oh I feel like a cheat and I don’t want to play in the Ashes’.



“I’m sure the fans will give them some stick especially if Australia are on top. Ideally we’d just win and dominate them without sledging but if we have to then why not? Sport is about winning.

“The fans will be very important because they’ll liven up the team and they’ll make the opposition feel uncomfortable and I think the Barmy Army will get stuck into the Australian players.

Who will win, England or Australia?

“England have a very strong middle order, they have experience in bowling. The only question mark around them is the openers.

“And if you look at Australia then they’ve got good opening bowlers and good top order batters but their middle order is fragile. We don’t really know how good their backup bowlers are and how good they are under pressure.

“Overall England have the stronger team and although Australia may have better individuals, I think England as a team should win the Ashes.”

Panesar expects Joe Root’s men to regain the Ashes

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Panesar expects Joe Root’s men to regain the Ashes

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