England should win the Ashes at a canter

Updated: Nov 20, 2010, 18:20 PM IST

Sydney: Former England all-rounder Ian Botham is tipping the Andrew Strauss-led England team to score an “emphatic” first away Ashes series win in more than two decades.

England has 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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“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 in an article for the Daily Mail.

“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,” he added.

The 54-year-old further criticized the Australian selectors for picking a provisional 17-man squad for the first Test, saying that that the action was “un-Australian”.

“Australia have gone and picked a first Test squad larger than England’s entire touring party, which is astonishing. 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,” Botham said.

“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,” he added.

ANI