England favourites to win Ashes: Symonds

New Delhi: England are the favourites to win this year`s Ashes as Ricky Ponting`s men have lost their aura of invincibility, feels former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

Symonds, who turned into a freelance cricketer last year, feels Australia is no longer winning machine which it used to be in the past.

"If you look at form, England have to be favourites. That`s what people say but that means nothing. Obviously, Australia had some injury problems with their bowlers, but come Ashes I think they will have their full quota of bowlers to select from. Personally, I will love to see Australia win," the 35-year-old England-born Australian told reporters.

"But it will be an even contest. England will think they definitely can beat Australia. I think every team is realizing that Australia is a team that can be beaten. Australia is not the team it once was," added Symonds, who has been roped in as a commentator for this year`s Champions League Twenty20 to be held in South Africa from September 10.

Australia thrashed England 5-0 the last time the Ashes were contested Down Under in 2006. England, however, returned the favour by winning the home series in 2008 and will be looking forward to retain the honour when the two arch-rivals meet in November.

Symonds` 11-year-old career with the Australian team might have been marred with off-field controversies but the strapping all-rounder played a crucial role in the Deccan Chargers` success in the first three editions of the Indian Premier League.

But with the players open for auction for the fourth edition of the cash-rich Twenty20 league, Symonds expressed his desire to remain with the Chargers.

"I would like to stay with Deccan but obviously with the rules of IPL, it is pretty difficult to retain players. Hopefully, they (Deccan) can sort out the things to retain the player they want to," he said.


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