London: Former England Test cricketer Paul Collingwood has said that the Ashes are like the Olympics for the national cricket team, and has as much meaning for them as the ancient sporting event.
According to the Independent, Collingwood, who played the last of his 16 Ashes Tests in Sydney in 2011, six years after his first, is aware of what it is like to win the Ashes and lose them, to have moments of triumph and dejection alike, and to feel the full cricketing range, which also includes a victory accompanied by tears. Stating that the Ashes is on a higher level for England than any other cricket, like the Olympics is for every sportsmen, Collingwood said that the series is different from others in that they bring an extra pressure and nervousness on the players, along with a higher intensity and speculation, adding that every player is desperate to get into them and get their creative juices flowing.
Stating that the England players tend to go into other series almost knowing the outcome of the game, Collingwood further said that for a number of players, the Ashes is a nerve-wracking time, which build up until the first day of the series. With his numerous Ashes experiences, Collingwood has gained a wariness of Australia and insisted that the current touring squad, despite its trials and tribulations, will pose a threat to England, both at home and, in particular, back in Australia this winter. Ridiculing the reports comparing England and Australia ahead of the iconic series, Collingwood said that it would be foolish to write off Australia just on the basis of their India Tests and ICC Champions Trophy performances, adding that the conditions are vastly different in India and England.
According to Collingwood, in India, a player relies on spin, reverse swinging the ball and scoring big runs, while in England, those conditions will not be tested much, adding that the Australians have an abundance of skills related to swinging the Dukes ball and bowling fast in good areas, which is a must in England. Although Collingwood placed the English spin-bowling department higher than the Australian one, he, however, said that the Australians will be dangerous with their seam bowlers, adding that they can be a handful for England batsmen and in English conditions, despite England having a better batting line-up than their arch rivals.
Collingwood further said that even though the Australians need to score runs, they have a point to prove, especially David Warner, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, and will be a competitive team to beat.