Chappell says Australia will struggle against English pace attack in Ashes

Sydney: Australian cricket great Ian Chappell has put a damper on Australia`s hopes for the 2013 Ashes by claiming that the team`s batsmen will struggle in the back-to-back series in England.

Expressing his confidence that England will win the series and retain the urn, the successful former Australian captain said that although he is hoping that Australia will win the series, he expected them to be swept away by their rivals.

According to Chappell, although Australia has a strong crop of pace bowlers, it does not have the batting strength to match England, adding that that the system was to blame for such a poor condition of the team.

Stating that England is well ahead of Australia in terms of both spin bowling and batting, Chappell blamed the cricket officials and claimed that the lack of attention to problems with the batting production line were dragging Australia down.

Criticising the rotation system and challenging the need to rest batsmen and then letting them play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Chappell said that the early 20s used to be the normal debut age for batsman at international level but it is now the late 20s and even into the 30s.

According to Chappell, the dismal performance of the team in the India Tests and the damage it has inflicted on the batsmen`s confidence will also impact on Australia`s chances in the Ashes in July and August.

Meanwhile, Chappell also hit out at the Shane Watson drama being played out in the media instead of keeping it closed doors.