Monday 18 December 2017 / 04:39 AM

ASHES CRYSTAL BALL: ENGLAND’S BOLTERS

English cricket has reinvented itself over the last 12 months.

A change of coach and mentality has the England performing strongly in all formats of the game. Their positivity and ability to win matches from tough situations will make them a handful in the 2017/18 Ashes series.

Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Stuart Broad should lead the side when they head Down Under, but who will be joining them?

Here are some candidates that possess the necessary traits of a 2016 England international:

Jason Roy

Kevin Pietersen rates him as one of the best in the country. He can do a job in the longer format in the middle order – a hard-hitting right-hander who fits the mould of this new-look, aggressive England side.

He is a brilliant fielder, but his biggest area for concern will be playing on pitches that move and being able to tone down his game for the situation.

Alex Hales 

Hales is the type of opener England has always said they wanted, but aren’t persistent enough to keep persevering with.

The tall right-hander is known for his one-day performances, but his recent series performance against Sri Lanka showed the grit and mental toughness needed to succeed in the longer form of the game.

Dan Lawrence

Lawrence is a bolter for the Ashes side; he’s a highly-rated youngster who has moved through the English academies.

He’s a confident player, always looking to score, and has a strong bottom-hand grip. Lawrence scores primarily through the leg side, while his longer innings have shown a superb ability to hit the ball late and he can flip balls from off stump through the offside.

This methord of scoring is reminiscent of Steve Smith and Jonny Bairstow, and Lawrence will be aiming to follow the developmental paths of these two stars and build his mental side of the game.

Steve Finn

Holds the hope of England post-Broad and Anderson. The beanpole Finn has struggled to hold down a regular spot since his debut in the Test arena. There has been brief flashes of excellence from Finn, but the consistency hasn’t been there.

His ability to bowl over 150kmph and extract vicious bounce would be a handful on the hard Australian pitches.

Zafar Ansari 

The spinning all-rounder from Surrey has brought a modern approach to cricket, looking holistically at the game that can consume so much.

This outlook might rub some coaches the wrong way, but Ansari’s performances on the field have shown this might be the best way forward for him.

All-rounders are predominantly being looked at in the shorter forms of the game, and while Ansari has performed well in these situations, it’s in the Championship he has shown his mettle.

A strong opening batsmen who has the ability to dig in for long periods of time, Ansari could provide the England batting lineup with the anchor they need. His record suggests that he should perform down the order with England, and he’s certainly a man who shouldn’t be overlooked.

Tymal Mills 

Mills could be the firebrand England need; the left-arm quick has been clocked at speeds of near 145kmph. His aggressive approach and slinging action has brought comparisons to Mitchell Johnson.

Mills has a serious congenital back condition where his spinal cord and vertebrae are too close, and bowling can agitate his spine.

This injury has drawn the curtain on a long Test career but he could be employed as a serious strike weapon in short stints when the English visit Australia in 2017.

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Mitchell Van Homrigh

Brisbane-based Mitchell arrived at CBS in 2016 to bolster the site’s football and cricket coverage.

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