After a long and often controversial build-up, the 2021/22 Ashes series is finally about to begin.
At midnight (GMT) tonight, players from Australia and England will walk out in Brisbane to begin the latest battle in cricket’s oldest rivalry.
The tourists are looking to secure their first series win over the Aussies since 2015 and their squad features two players who play their county cricket for Nottinghamshire, opening batsman Haseeb Hameed and seam bowler Stuart Broad.
The pair are at very different stages of their career with Hameed just beginning to establish himself in the side, while Broad is entering his final years of a remarkable England career.
While Hameed is certain to be picked for the first test, Broad’s place in the team is no longer automatic.
The reason for this is both the conditions in Brisbane and the other bowling options England have – with Ben Stokes as an all-rounder and Jack Leach as a spinner it means there’s hot competition for places.
The Gabba, which hosts the first test, is known for being a ground that favours fast bowlers due to the pitch being traditionally quick and bouncy.
In their squad, England only have one bowler who possesses real pace, Mark Wood, who looks like an absolute certainty to play.
Meanwhile, England have found a promising bowler in Ollie Robinson.
The Sussex paceman is a tall swing bowler who has a style similar to Broad and made a good start to his test career this summer.
And then of course there’s James Anderson – who, despite being left out of the 12-squad for Brisbane, will be a key part of the touring party.
Indeed, Anderson is the only Englishman to have more test wickets than Broad’s 524 and will lend essential experience in a young squad.
Therefore, it is likely that three of those four will make up the final places and Nottinghamshire fans will be hoping that both of their players will be named in the side.
Whether Broad is picked or not in Brisbane, the fans shouldn’t worry about him not playing at all, as he will surely be picked for the day/night game in Adelaide where conditions will be perfect for him.
Nottinghamshire residents can watch the Ashes starting tonight on BT Sport.