Shane Warne to McGrath: Biggest Ashes Cricket Stars Over The Years

If you talk to any former Australian or English cricketer, they’d take a second to tell you that the pinnacle of the sport is Ashes cricket. The fever is back on as two historic rivals go head-to-head in Australia in what promises to be a gruelling five-match Test series. Each cricketer from either nation is judged on how they fared in the Ashes during their career.

Hence players like Shane Warne or Sir Ian Botham would forever be known as the greats of the game due to their exploits in the pursuit of the little urn. As a buildup to this much-anticipated series, we are looking at five such cricketers who saved their best for Ashes cricket.


SHANE WARNE (Australia)

Arguably the greatest bowler to ever grace the game, Warne exploded on the scene with his ‘ball of the century’ to Mike Gatting in his first-ever Ashes Test. Warne was forever the biggest threat Australia possessed against England and the English batters struggled miserably against the genius of Shane Warne. It comes as no surprise that Shane Warne ended up as the highest wicket-taker in Ashes cricket with 195 scalps to his name in just 36 matches. He averaged 23 against England and picked up 11 five-wicket hauls with four 10 wickets in a match.



The 1981 Ashes series is famously known as ‘Botham’s Ashes’. Such was the impact of the great English all-rounder Sir Ian Botham. Despite having been 1–0 down after two Tests, England won the next three Tests to finish 3–1 victors and went on to retain the urn. Botham was magnificent with both bat and ball. He was the second-highest scoring player in the series with 399 runs and picked up 34 wickets as well. It may well have been the greatest all-round performance in the history of the game. Botham was also one who saved his best for the Ashes and is surely one of the Ashes greats.



Talking about the all-time greats, one can’t look beyond the greatest ever, Sir Donald Bradman. He still holds the record for the most runs by any player in Ashes cricket. In 37 matches, Sir Don scored 5028 runs at an average of 89.78 which is remarkably lower than his career average of 99.94. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Bradman was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else in the sport. In 1930, he scored 974 runs in the series, 309 of them in one amazing day at Headingley, and in seven Test series against England, he remained a figure of utter dominance. One of the most influential players in the history of Ashes cricket.



Often labelled as a man with pure lazy elegance, David Gower is one of the most stylish batters England has ever produced. He was easily one who didn’t shy away from the tough situations and his record in Ashes cricket is proof of his steely nature. Lord Gower is the all-time fifth-highest run-getter in Ashes cricket and scored 3037 runs in 38 games. 



Glenn McGrath or ‘Pigeon’ as he was fondly called by his Aussie mates, was one of the toughest bowlers to face in the early 2000s. His relentless accuracy and the ability to move the ball both ways from hard lengths not only made him a lethal bowler but an annoying one as well as it seemed impossible to score off his bowling. McGrath along with Warne formed one of the deadliest bowling combinations this sport has ever seen. So it isn’t surprising to see him as the second-highest wicket-taker in Ashes cricket just behind Warne with 157 wickets in 30 matches.

Read: How Ben Stokes’ Addition To The Ashes Squad Boosts England’s Chances?




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