THERE’S no better place to announce yourself as a test cricketer than in the Ashes.
The greatest of all cricketing rivalries is where champions are made.
Over the course of five test matches, the two teams battle it out for the urn, creating cricketing folklore as they go.
The award for player of the series in the Ashes is one of the most sought-after in the game. The challenged of sustained performance with bat and ball over five matches is one that only the greats of the game seem capable of doing.
Starting with Australian cricketing legend Donald Bradman and continuing with stars like Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, performing in the Ashes is what the greats of Australian cricket are judged upon.
England has its fair share of stars that have won the award too. Captains like Freddy Flintoff, Ian Botham, Michael Vaughn and Alastair Cook have all starred for mother country in recent times.
Is there value in betting on the player of the series in the Ashes? Do stats have a big say? What homework can you do before you bet?
We take a look at the popular betting market in our guide, beginning with the best bookmakers to lay the bet with this summer:
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How to bet on the player of the Ashes series
The player of the series is judged over all five matches played in the summer of test cricket.
Batsmen and bowlers are equally capable of winning the award.
While the best odds you will get for certain players come before the series starts, this is a market that will update and continue to be available right up until the fifth test, or for as long as the bookmakers keep the market open, in the event a certain player is an unbackable favourite.
The player of the series will often be the leading run-scorer or wicket-taker. Be sure to keep an eye on averages and all-rounders who are able to contribute with both bat and ball.
Simply find the Player of the Series market at one of our recommended online bookmakers, pick the player you think who is likely to dominate over the five tests and enjoy the ride.
Odds for the 2017/18 Ashes player of the series
Australian opener David Warner will start as the favourite for the 2017/18 Ashes player of the series.
The left-hander is at $5.50 with Sportsbet, followed by captain Steve Smith at $6 and English captain Joe Root at $7.
The shortest bowler in the betting is Aussie spearhead Mitchell Starc at $7, while for England, veteran swingman James Anderson is paying a healthy $11.
The full Sportsbet market is below:
Tips for the 2017/18 Ashes player of the series
Our tip for the player of the series in the 2017/18 Ashes centres around one man.
The Australian captain Steve Smith.
Smith ticks many of the boxes we are looking for in this market.
- Batting at number three in the lineup, he will have every opportunity to see plenty of action and never miss out on an opportunity to bat because of the state of the match or Australian innings.
- Smith is in-form with the bat, dominating in his warm-up matches prior to the Ashes.
- As captain, Smith will receive extra kudos from leading from the front if he is to succeed with the bat.
- Smith’s career average of 59.66 is the best in world cricket – but the skipper is remarkably better on home soil where he averages 68.65 from his 24 matches in Australia.
- His odds of $6 are healthy.
- Australian pitches have been more and more batsmen-friendly over the last few years and we don’t see the trend reversing, giving Smith a slight edge.
- We are also tipping Australia to win the series as the $1.40 favourites – which will only improve his chances.
The scene is set for Smith to dominate and we expect the $6 for the captain to come in sharply during the series.
If you fancy someone from England spoiling the Australian party, the $7 on English captain Joe Root is value.
Root is far and away the best player in the England squad and if the Poms are to have any chance, he will have to lead from the front.
A list of Ashes player of the series winners
The list of Ashes series results dating back to 1990/91 provides some insight into how the award is judged:
|ASHES SERIES||ASHES RESULT||PLAYER OF THE SERIES|
|2015 (England)||England 3-2||Chris Rodgers (Australia), Joe Root (England)|
|2013/14 (Australia)||Australia 5-0||Mitchell Johnson (Australia)|
|2013 (England)||England 3-0||Ian Bell (England), Ryan Harris (Australia)|
|2010/11 (Australia)||England 3-1||Alastair Cook (England)|
|2009 (England)||England 2-1||Michael Clarke (Australia), Andrew Strauss (England)|
|2006/07 (Australia)||Australia 5-0||Ricky Ponting (Australia)|
|2005 (England)||England 2-1||Andrew Flintoff (England), Shane Warne (Australia)|
|2002/03 (Australia)||Australia 4-1||Michael Vaughn (England)|
|2001 (England)||Australia 4-1||Mark Butcher (England), Glenn McGrath (Australia)|
|1998/99 (Australia)||Australia 3-1||Steve Waugh (Australia)|
|1997 (England)||Australia 3-2||Glenn McGrath (Australia), Graham Thorpe (England)|
|1994/95 (Australia)||Australia 3-1||Craig McDermott (Australia)|
|1993 (England)||Australia 4-1||Graham Gooch (England), Shane Warne (Australia)|
|1990/91 (Australia)||Australia 3-0||Bruce Reid (Australia)|
Some important points to take away from the results obtained since 1990:
- Series in Australia reward only one player of the series from both sides, while series in England will reward a player from each team – the next Ashes series in Australia will reward only one player of the series.
- An Australian player has won player of the series in the Ashes in five of the last seven series down under.
- Only one player in the last 25 years (Michael Vaughn) has won a player of the series in a losing effort – collecting the accolade despite England’s 4-1 defeat in 2002/03.
- There has not been one wicket keeper to win the award in this period.
Is a batsman or bowler more likely to win Ashes player of the series?
Unlike other awards from different sports that tend to favour players from a certain position, the Ashes player of the series award provides an even opportunity for both bowlers and batsmen.
In the last 14 Ashes series, 11 batsmen and eight bowlers have won the award.
While the roles of batsmen and bowlers are obviously different, cricket analysts have always been able to use the statistical impact on matches to accurately compare the two different kind of players.
For example, a five wicket haul in an innings is often seen to be the equal of a batsmen’s century – and the economy of bowling is also a factor, as is the the strike rate of a batsmen.
We can safely say that there is an equal chance between the two to be given the award of player of the series.
If there is one recommendation we can make, it is to steer clear of wicket keepers. No gloveman has won the player of the series in the last three decades and that trend shows no signs of ending, given who the sides have selected for the 2017/18 series.