By George Marrable

LONDON, UK – October was a busy month for cricket as England Women begin their Ashes series against Australia, whilst the men’s side begin preparations for their own Ashes starting in November.

 

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England fly out to Australia

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The England Men’s team flew out to Australia this month, landing down under on 29th October. The side, flying without Ben Stokes, now have their sights firmly set on the Ashes upcoming series.

Captain Joe Root was fired up as England landed in Australia. As reported by The Telegraph, Root said:

“We’re very confident. We’ve got very good experienced players that have been here and won before – and some very young, exciting players that are desperate to prove to everyone how good they are. We’re a completely different side to the last time we came here.”

Their focus will now be on the warm-up matches and preparation for the series, starting with a four-day tour match against Western Australia at The WACA, Perth. They will then move on to two four-day tour matches against a Cricket Australia XI; the first at the Adelaide Oval, and the second at the Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville.

 

England Women trail 4-2 in Ashes after ODI matches

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Whilst the men’s side preparations get underway, England Women have already begun their Ashes contest. England currently trail 4-2 in the series after 3 ODI matches, with each ODI win being worth 2 points.

Despite being 4-0 behind after two games, England showed excellent resilience to fight back and win the 3rd ODI at Coffs Harbour, beating Australia by 20 runs. Captain Heather Knight led the team with an unbeaten 88*, and a standout bowling performance spearheaded by Alexandra Hartley’s 3-45 allowed England to cut the deficit to just 2 points.

Sarah Taylor, as reported by BBC Sport, said:

“We had to put a good target on the board. Australia did get away with the bat but that rain break gave us a chance to regroup. I’m really proud of the way the bowlers bowled; those middle overs were key.”

 

Ben Stokes doesn’t travel with squad to Australia

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Ben Stokes has not travelled with the squad after an incident outside a Bristol Nightclub on 26 September. Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm after the incident.

However, as reported by BBC Sport, two men have since come out and defended Stokes, saying he was standing up for them after they received homophobic abuse.

Although Stokes’ county, Durham, have said they will not launch an investigation, the ECB have said Stokes will not being considered for selection until further notice.

Speaking to Sky Sports, England’s James Vince believes England can cope without Stokes. Vince said:

“It is disappointing but at the same time it gives other guys the opportunity to stand up and make a name for themselves. We have a big squad and guys that are capable of stepping up and taking his spot.”

 

War of words begins between England and Australia

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The war of words between both present and former England and Australia cricketers has been heating up throughout the month, as the build-up to the series intensifies.

Outspoken Australian batsman David Warner described the series as a “war”, as reported by The Guardian, as well as discussing “hatred” during the series:

“You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to actually get some hatred about them to actually get up when you’re out there. History is a big part in this and that is what carries us on to the ground.”

However, former England opening batsman Marcus Trescothick hit back at Warner. Trescothick, part of the victorious Ashes 2005 squad, said as reported by BBC Sport:

“I don’t think they will get that involved. To come out with those sort of comments is not needed. There’s always the hype that comes around before the Ashes, so I don’t think it’s something the players will be drawn into.

“I think it will just be a good distraction, hopefully, for Australia and they can get caught up in the war of words. I think it’s pathetic.”

Mitchell Starc, leader of the Australian bowling attack, also chimed in, saying he hopes Australia can “terrorise” England, just like Mitchell Johnson did in 2010/11. Australia won that Ashes series by a 5-0 whitewash, with Johnson taking 37 wickets.

Starc, as reported by The Telegraph, said:

“We’ve got a really good attack there. It’s not down to one person – everyone will like to bowl like Jono and terrorise the Poms like he did … but the great thing for us is we’ve got a young group that complement each other really nicely.”

 

England find Ottis Gibson replacement

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Chris Silverwood has taken up the vacant England fast-bowling coach role on a permanent basis. The 42-year-old takes the position after Ottis Gibson left to become head coach of South Africa.

The former Yorkshire, Middlesex and England seam bowler was a key figure in leading Essex to County Championship glory this year. Ater working with the England Lions, Silverwood will join up with the side mid-series after interim coach, Shane Bond, leaves to work with Big Bash side Brisbane Heat.

The England Women continue with their test against Australia on 9 November, whilst England Men kick off their Ashes series on 23 November.

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