Since the first time it was played in 1882, the Ashes has been one of the most popular tournaments in cricket. Played by two of the best teams in the world (Australia and England), the test series pits the players against each other in a display of sheer cricketing skill.
Alongside the action on the field, the matches between the two have also been the source of some controversial—particularly regarding team lineups. In 2021, this came to a head when Stuart Broad and James Anderson were excluded from the English side.
With England yet to announce their lineup for the 2023 Ashesmany wonder whether the national team will secure a win without them. Others, however, are saying that not having them isn’t going to be a problem.
All that is known for sure is that the reputation of the two speaks volumes—so let’s see who these incredible bowlers are.
Stuart Broad (born on 24 June 1986) began his career in 2004 before turning 18. Playing for Leicestershire, he displayed such skill that he was quickly given a contract and made his first-class debut in 2005. He was drafted for the national team only a year later and began playing in ODIs, with his test match debut in 2007.
While initially a batsman, he quickly showed that bowling was the area in which he truly excelled. Within only a few years, he amassed a massive following of fans due to his ability to bowl out opposing teams and, by 2020, became the seventh player to take over 500 wickets in test cricket.
However, in addition to taking over 575 test wickets so far, he has taken over 175 ODI wickets and 65 T20 wickets. Due to his prowess as a bowler, he has received the Wisden Cricketer of the Year award.
Born on 30 July 1982, James began playing cricket at Burnley Cricket Club. By the time he was 17, he was playing for the Lancashire League and was regarded as one of the fastest bowlers anywhere. As his bowling skill developed, he became known as one of the greatest swing bowlers ever to play the game.
He made his professional debut in test cricket in 2003. Since then, he has raked up an impressive list of achievements that few bowlers can come close to. Amongst these are achieving the most five-wicket hauls of any English cricketer and becoming the first batsman to remain not out in over 100 instances of test cricket.
All these achievements have garnered him some prestigious awards as well. Amongst these is the Freedom of the Borough of Burnley award, and, even more impressively, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire due to his services in cricket.
The Dynamic Duo
While both athletes have their own accolades and worked hard to be worthy of their titles as the best bowlers in the world, the pair together are a force to be reckoned with.
Beginning to play for the national team together around 2008, the two immediately hit it off and started working together to make records seem like mere milestones. As such, the English team soon gained a reputation as unbeatable if both bowlers were listed in a lineup together .
Over the 133 test matches they have played alongside each other, the pair are responsible for the fall of over 1,009 wickets. This surprises the previous bowling duo record of 1,001 set by Australian cricketers Glen McGrath and the late Shane Warne.
The Ashes 2021/2022
Despite having a pair of seemingly lethal weapons at its disposal, the management of the English national squad (or, more specifically, Andrew Strauss) decided not to add the pair to the lineup for the 2021/2022 Ashes squad. The move raised many questions and caused a stir among fans and other cricketers.
When asked about the decision, Andrew insisted it was solely so that other aspiring cricketers could have their own chance to prove themselves and build their reputations. However, excluding the two meant it was only the third time since 2008 that the team would play without at least one of the star bowlers.
And as England headed Down Under for the tournament, proof that this was a mistake quickly began to materialize. By the end of the five-match series, Australia had beaten England by 4-0, with the British squad heading home holding their heads down. .
The Ashes 2023
While many players have speculated that the devastating loss in the 2021/2022 season wouldn’t have occurred had Broad and Anderson been playing, many others have stated that the loss was due only to the games taking place in Australia.
With the 2023 Ashes around the corner, the betting market for cricket matches is rife with odds on whether or not the duo will be chosen for the team. While fans hope they will be, others are doubtful, as the team’s management may still want to make space for rising stars.
The difference between not having these two incredible cricketers playing versus the previous season is that the matches are to be held in England. As such, those saying it doesn’t make a difference if the duo is chosen are confident that England won’t have a problem securing a win.
One of the main reasons for this is that Australia has not won an Ashes tournament held in England since 2001. While the team did draw with England in 2019, they have not achieved an outright win.
So, while many wait with bated breath to hear who will be chosen, it remains to be seen if the team can pull off a victory without Broad and Anderson—regardless of whether they’re on home ground. is most likely the two will be pulling into the matches again with surprising haste.