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Ashes 2017/18: Top 5 English players

961   //    06 Nov 2017, 00:12 IST

The Ashes is one of the oldest surviving bilateral series in the history of cricket. It began in 1882 when England lost to Australia at The Oval. The Sporting Times declared it the death of English cricket in a mock obituary, stating that "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". In its next tour Down Under, England promised to bring the "Ashes" home.

The English team, minus Moeen Ali and Steven Finn, started its 2017/18 tour with a two-day campaign against Western Australia XI at Perth.

WA XI v England - Two Day Tour Match
WA XI v England - two-day tour match

England is the current holder of the trophy, winning it at home in 2015. It has also been the dominant side since 2005, winning five of the last seven series.

This year's tour is going to be interesting because the last time England toured Australia, it was routed 5-0. Australia is always tough at home, and England will need highly-spirited acts from all its players to retain the trophy.

Let's take a look at the top five English players whose performances will be crucial to the team's progress.

#5 Chris Woakes

England v Pakistan: 1st Investec Test - Day Four
Woakes earned his place in the Ashes after a good summer for Warwickshire

With the absence of Ben Stokes, England will need this all-rounder to support the opening pair of Stuart Broad and James Anderson. Woakes's performance will be key to England's chances.

Though he hasn't had much success in away Tests, his recent performance in the domestic season guaranteed him a place in the XI. His contribution with the bat has been significant, and he has had some decent knocks in his short Test career.

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