The 2023 Ashes is still a few months away, but England were handed a huge Ashes series boost when influential fast bowler Jofra Archer finally returned from injury in the South Africa T20 league last week. The match was the 2019 World Cup winner’s first outing since the latter end of 2021. And if England can get Archer ready for Test match cricket by the summer, he surely boosts the hosts chances of reclaiming the Ashes from Australia.
- What; England vs Australia Ashes Test Series
- Where; England
- When; June and July 2023
BUZZING BUZZING BUZZING to see @JofraArcher back on the field 🙌🙌
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) January 10, 2023
Who is favorites to win the 2023 Ashes?
At the moment Australia is still the favorites to win the 2023 Ashes with the best cricket betting sites. They were around -150 to -200 after they completed their 4-0 series win over England in the 2021/22 tour.
But a change of coach and captain for England last year resulted in the transformation of the Test side. And ever since the appointments of Brendon McCullum as coach, and Ben Stokes as captain, the Aussies odds have since been on the drift.
|Ashes Series Winner Betting|
Australia is now +110 to win the Ashes in 2023. While England are into a best price of +135 with BetOnline (more details about this top cricket betting sportsbook can be found on our BetOnline review), but are as short as +110 with some of the best cricket betting sites. A drawn series (like in 2019) is currently a best price of +600.
Caution is the key word with Archer
After nearly 18 months out with an elbow injury, Jofra Archer finally returned to competitive action for MI Cape Town in their recent South Africa T20 league fixture against Paarl Royals.
It wasn’t a bad return either, with Archer picking up three wickets in the match.
— The Cricketer (@TheCricketerMag) January 10, 2023
Archer’s return to action for MI Cape Town is part of a carefully planned out phased return for the quick bowler.
The original plan was for Archer just to play the two matches in the South African T20 competition. Then if he comes through that without any issues, he is scheduled to be picked by England for the upcoming three match ODI series in South Africa – starting at the end of January.
If Archer comes through that series unscathed, his workload will be increased.
Unlikely Archer will play all five Ashes tests
Even if England does manage to get Jofra Archer fit and firing in time for the Ashes, it’s highly unlikely he will play all five Test matches. The Test matches will be coming quick and fast, with all five scheduled to be played within a period of six and half weeks.
The chances are, both sides will have to rotate their fast bowlers at some stage with a workload like that. Meaning having a full quota of bowlers to choose from will be vital.
England need to get some fast bowlers fit
Not only do England need to get some bowlers fit, they need to be able to keep them fit.
Over the past few years it’s not just Jofra Archer that has been injured. It’s been nearly all of England’s out and out quicks.
Ever since Mark Wood broke into the team in 2015 he’s been beset by injuries. Wood is fit now, but England have to handle him carefully. And especially given that at one point last year England were without Archer, Olly Stone, Matt Fisher and Saqib Mahmood. They can’t allow for that situation to be repeated this year.
The main reason why Fisher and Mahmood made their respective debuts last year was only because Archer and Stone were injured. And then they also got injured!
All four are playing at the moment. But Archer, Fisher and Mahmood are only just starting to come back.
Jamie Overton ruled out of the Ashes
And for England, the quartet’s return can’t come soon enough after the news that Jamie Overton has been ruled out of the Ashes with a stress fracture of the back. Quite a common injury for English bowlers.
Jamie Overton has suffered a back stress fracture and will be out until the middle of summer 🏏
Get well soon lad 💪 pic.twitter.com/XVymht3NIn
— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) January 18, 2023
Overton was by no means one of the players set to play against Australia. But he was in the mix. And he is a guy who has the all round potential to force his way into the team. He would certainly have been one of the players earmarked to come in should Archer or Wood get injured, or need rotating. England simply can’t afford to start losing bowlers again.
Fitness of bowlers could decide the Ashes
With the series looking close on paper, the quality of the squad players each country has to call on could well be the difference when the Ashes is decided. Both nations have quality in reserve, but if these guys aren’t fit, they’re not much use to anyone.
Could one of the deciding factors of the Ashes be how well each nation looks after their fast bowling stocks over the next few months? Quite possibly.
Players’ workloads will have to be carefully planned and monitored. Yes, freak injuries can always happen. But one thing neither nation can risk in the build up to the series is overburdening any of their fast bowlers.
It’s still a bit to early for cricket betting picks on the Ashes, but if England have Archer and Wood available to play all five matches, it greatly improves their chances of victory. They can both be rotated, and both be kept fresh. The real question is, can England have them both fit and firing at the start of the Ashes?