Ben Duckett has been named among the top five players in the game for last year by Wisden.

The outstanding performance of the Northants batsman in 2016 earned him a spot in the 154th edition after he scored 2706 runs.

The feat by the left handed cricket star is the highest in seven years in an English season since Marcus Trescothick. Trescothick, who is also a left hander, scored 2934 runs in 2009 in an English season but no one has come close to breaking his record.

Duckett played for Northants in all formats last summer, scoring the match winner in the semi final of the NatWest Trophy T20 Blast. He also impressed for England at the tri nations series and in the one-day international series in Bangladesh.The player hit two half centuries to help his country win the series and it earned him a spot in the Test team in the India tour. (more…)

Graeme Swann on Ashes Series

Graeme Swann believes that the England team can clinch the Ashes series that is going to take place next year if their players step up. Swann says Pakistan has shown recently that Australia can be beaten if the opposition is good enough to get them out of their comfort zone.

Swann admits that Australia is a very fine test team, but, according to him, the Kangaroos have their weaknesses and if the Three Lions exploit those weaknesses in home conditions next summer, they would be able to avenge the humiliation that they suffered down under a few months back.

In England, surely, the pitches would not be as fast as they were in Australia. So, it would be easier for the hosts to neutralize the Mitchell Johnson factor.

It would probably be more about the seam and swing bowling during the Ashes series 2015 and when it comes to seam and swing, England has got an absolute master in their ranks and that is James Anderson.

Anderson might have struggled a bit in Australia, but, he showed during the last home season what an asset he is on English pitches.

Australia also has got Ryan Harris who is difficult to face in swinging conditions, but, he has had a major operation of his knees and nobody has the idea how his comeback turns out to be.

The other Australian swing bowlers, the likes of Hazlewood and Pattinson are very young and are bound to be undisciplined at times.

Also, after the last Ashes series, some of the Australian players seem to be on decline. The captain Michael Clarke and the vice-captain Brad Haddin have not been scoring too many runs of late and they are not getting any younger. That’s another problem for Australia.

So, Swann is not overly optimistic in believing that England can get the urn back next year.