Botham tips England in Ashes

2010-11-19 19:50
Ian Botham (File)

London - Ian Botham is tipping England to score an "emphatic" first away Ashes series win in more than two decades and believes Australia are in disarray ahead of next week's first Test.

In his column in the Daily Mirror, the English cricket legend accused Australian selectors of "muddled thinking" after naming a "cast of thousands" in their squad.

"England should win the Ashes at a canter. At least that is what normally happens when a decent team meets an average one," Botham wrote.

"England are on the way up and Australia are on the way down. They are a poor side living off former glories and it is up to this England team to take full advantage of that. And I think they will.

"I can see Andrew Strauss' side dishing out an emphatic defeat for the home fans to suffer and they won't like it."

England have enjoyed a smooth start to their Australian tour, with key batsman scoring runs and bowlers taking wickets in first class matches leading into the first Test in Brisbane.

Botham said England's form augured well for the Tests while claiming Australia were gripped by uncertainty over their best XI.

"(Australia) have gone and picked a first Test squad larger than England's entire touring party, which is astonishing," Botham said.

"If anything smacks of muddled thinking that is it and it will only serve to create more uncertainty in the players' minds before the biggest series of their lives.

"Quite simply Australia are in disarray and the in-fighting, whining and grumbling that I've been hearing out here is music to an Englishman's ears.

"I don't even know who is going to be turning out for Australia after naming a cast of thousands in their squad, but whoever they are, they are under some pressure and a ball hasn't been bowled yet."

England have not won an Ashes series in Australia since 1986-1987 and were thumped 5-0 when the sides last met Down Under in 2006.

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