It is not Steve Smith or England skipper Joe Root but another surprise package who former South African skipper AB de Villiers is predicts to turn out deciding factor in the Ashes 2019 series.
The five-match Test series begins in Birmingham on Thursday with Australia looking to end their 18-year dry spell in England. The South African swashbuckling AB de Villiers believes Jonny Bairstow will finish at the top of group, ahead of the likes of Joe Root and Steve Smith in the top run-scorers list.
Although Bairstow was in great form in England’s ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 winning campaign, he scored couple of ducks in the one-off Test against Ireland at Lord’s recently.
“The biggest run-scorer, I feel, is going to be Bairstow,” de Villiers was quoted by BBC. “He has been in incredible form and I feel he has taken his cricket to the next level.”
The former South African captain also stated that Smith and Root won’t decide which team goes on to win the Ashes. Lauding both cricketers as leaders, de Villiers said Root will enjoy a small advantage over Smith, considering England will be playing at home.
“Both are very talented players, but I don’t feel it will come down to the two of them to decide who is going to win the Ashes series.” De Villiers said.
“But both have captaincy experience, are big leaders and are big characters in their respective teams. I feel both teams need the two of them to have a big series. Root, playing at home, will have the slight advantage.”