For three consecutive Test series Michael Clarke has been by far the superior Australian batsman and as a result, 7/4 may actually prove a decent price that he ends the upcoming Ashes series as their highest-scoring batsman again.
Clarke topped the run charts for the whole series in efforts against South Africa and Sri Lanka in late 2012 going into early 2013 and was Australia’s leading scorer in the 4-0 hammering most recently in India, despite only playing in three of the Test matches.
He will certainly be the most prized wicket of the English bowling attack in the Ashes and the naming of the 16-man Australia squad may well have boosted the chances of a home victory.
The squad have only played in 24 Test matches in England between them and there is a feeling that this is the worst to have travelled over since the 1980s.
Yet this should not mean England underestimate their opposition, as the last Australia team that were labelled in such a way romped to a 4-0 win in 1989, with Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Terry Alderman shining despite being the butt of some pre-series criticism.
The inclusions of Brad Haddin as vice captain to Clarke and forgotten man Chris Rogers are of most intrigue and the fact both are now aged 35 suggest the Aussie selectors have picked a squad purely with the present in mind.
Experience was clearly needed in the batting line-up since the retirement of Mike Hussey and Rogers may well prove Australia’s hero in this regard. In fact, no English county player has scored more runs in England since 2010 than Rogers.
Rogers, who is the current Middlessex captain, will therefore have strong knowledge of English conditions, while only Ricky Ponting registered more runs in the latest Australian county cricket season.
The other thing in Rogers’ favour is that with arguably six batting spots available in Australia’s line-up for the first Test, he does seem more assured than most of gaining one and 12/1 may well prove a generous price that he ends the Ashes as Australia’s top runscorer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.