Australia Cricket Team
Australia Cricket Team | Image source @theguardian

Australia retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw against England in 2023, but Pat Cummins and his team exited the series with a pang of disappointment. The Baggy Greens had established a 2-0 lead after beating Ben Stokes’ side at Edgbaston and Lord’s before England mounted their comeback to tie the series. It was their best chance at securing a win in England since 2001, only to spurn the opportunity. For many of the touring party, it may have been their last chance to win an away Ashes series.

Australia still retained the urn and their current crop of players will likely have one last hurrah against their old foes in the 2025/26 series on home soil, where the Baggy Greens have crushed England in their last three visits. But, there will be cause for concern about the future of their side, especially in the batting ranks.

Faded Talent

For all the potential concerns, the home side are the favourites in the cricket odds to win the series and will be confident after winning 13 out of the last 15 Tests against England down under. Steve Smith has been England’s tormentor-in-chief over the last decade, boasting an incredible average of 56.01, while scoring 12 hundreds and 13 fifties in 37 Tests. Smith turned the course of the Ashes series in Australia’s favour with his brilliance against the England seamers.

However, England have appeared to have solved their Smith conundrum at long last as he scored 244 runs at an average of 30.50 in the last series in Australia. He endured a similarly underwhelming series in England in 2023, averaging 37.30 with one hundred and two fifties.

By the time of the next Ashes series Smith will be 36, and he has already indicated that he has one eye on his future. Smith should still be operating at a high level by then, but the evidence suggests that his once imperious aura has been shattered. 

Marnus Labuschagne was seemingly heir apparent to Smith. He made an outstanding start to his Test career but was also troubled by the England attack in 2023. The 29-year-old has a lot to prove heading into the next series where he will be expected to play a leading role. Travis Head was the main man for the Aussies last time out on home soil in the 2021/22 series. He made a fast start in England too, but his weaknesses were gradually exposed by Stokes and company to end the tour on a low note.

Low Stock

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja | Iamge source

The other players in the ranks could be retired or extremely close by 2025. Usman Khawaja played brilliantly and top-scored in the 2023 series with 496 runs as he continued his late-career renaissance. If he was 10 years younger, Australia would be building their future around the left-hander. Unfortunately, he will be 38 by the time of the next series and was already rattled by the pace of Mark Wood in England. David Warner had his longstanding troubles with Stuart Broad and the England attack and he had another poor series, but there’s still no outstanding candidate to replace him as closes in on retirement.

Australia are heading into a desperate situation of recycling past players, who failed to convince the selectors the first time around. Marcus Harris, Matthew Renshaw, Cameron Bancroft, and Peter Handscomb could be given the opportunity to slot back into the side, although they too are not youthful players.

There are not many youngsters knocking on the door in first-class cricket. For the first time in 15 years, Australia’s ranks could be exposed by Stokes and company, especially if they can keep their battery of quick bowlers fit. Australia have two years to conjure an answer to their issues.