5-0? Not even with­out Ben

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS & VIEWS -

WITH a few no­table ex­cep­tions (stand up Mr Flintoff), why is ev­ery­one so neg­a­tive about the pos­si­bil­ity of Eng­land re­tain­ing the Ashes this win­ter?

Although I ac­cept that Eng­land do not have a set­tled top or­der, do Aus­tralia? No. Who has the best wick­et­keeper/bats­man? Eng­land. Is Nathan Lyon in a dif­fer­ent class to Moeen Ali? No. Has Aus­tralia got a more po­tent bowl­ing strike force? Yes, but only if they are all fit, and James Pat­tin­son has al­ready with­drawn.

If Aus­tralia can keep their re­main­ing strike bowlers fit, cou­pled with the fact they have home ad­van­tage, they are slight favoutites.

But I em­pha­sise the word “slight”, and I think it is go­ing to be far closer than the 5-0 that cer­tain doom mer­chants would have us be­lieve (with or with­out Ben Stokes).

So let’s be pos­i­tive. We have a crack­ing squad full of tal­ent, ca­pa­ble of beat­ing any­one on its day. Will we ever be able to say the same about the foot­ball team?

MAR­CUS TAPLEY PE­ABODY, via email

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