Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image-BBC

The Ashes series tends to place players into the spotlight. For some players, it can signal the start of a special career. They are thrust into the limelight and can only grow from there. For some, think a captain or coach, a heavy defeat in this series can often be the beginning of the end.

Let’s have a look at a player that might improve his already legendary status in the upcoming series before moving on to some icons from history.

Who will be the hero this time?

Let’s have a look at the upcoming series from England’s perspective. They haven’t won a series in Australia since 2010/2011. The team are currently 4/1 outsiders to win the series at Paddy Power cricket betting, so you could argue that any player that plays a big part in an English victory will be placed on a huge pedestal by the media and general public, who are desperate for this to become a reality.

Ben Stokes will be part of the travelling squad despite not having played much cricket this year. As an all-rounder, he is likely to be integral to England’s chances in different areas. It will be interesting to see him perform in one of the toughest environments in world sport. Should he perform well in the build-up, many cricket tips sites might start to promote him as a force in the series. The current odds of 9/1 that he’ll finish as ‘Top Series Runscorer’ might start to change to indicate the confidence placed in him.

Kevin Pietersen impresses in his first Ashes series

It would be an understatement to say that Pietersen had a controversial career in international cricket. Looking back to the memorable 2005 series, he was still new on the scene and looking to impress. He performed well throughout a magical summer and played a part in England regaining the urn. It’s certainly a shame that people now see Pietersen for his later career controversy rather than a player who helped captivate an entire nation.

The ball of the century from Shane Warne

Shane Warne quickly became a superstar with a delivery that has been described as the ball of the century. What’s more remarkable is this was his first ball against England in his first Ashes Test. Some experts have since argued that this delivery signalled the start of domination by the Australian team. Warne played a big part in this.

Jack Leach becomes an unlikely poster boy for Specsavers

It’s not always an explosive batting or bowling spell that can make you an English or Australian hero. This tail-ender showed great calmness and composure in 17 deliveries to allow Ben Stokes to lead England to a stunning victory. The contribution of Leach made him a hero amongst England cricket fans. He was even endorsed by Specsavers. Free glasses for life is a fair reward for this performance.

What makes a hero?

Ultimately, being a part of a winning side helps. You can occasionally be an inexperienced player placed in the spotlight and rise to the occasion. Becoming an unlikely hero can also give you that iconic status. Will anyone have a Ben Stokes or Jack Leach moment in this upcoming series?