Ashes talk begins

England’s recent 3-0 Test series victory over Pakistan has made many observers sit up and take note. The latest of these observers come from inside the ranks of the next team to take on England in a Test series – the mighty Australians.

After losing the Ashes in last year’s series in England, a series which was hailed by many as the greatest of all time, Australia will be champing at the bit to get them back – however, the war of words has begun in a very different fashion to last time around.

Opening batsman Justin Langer, who has spent much of the past few months playing county cricket for Somerset, says he expects England to be “even better than they were last summer”, while Shane Warne has even said that “if we are not at our best, they can beat us”.

Contrast this with Glenn McGrath’s prediction ahead of last year’s series that Australia would win 5-0, and a very different approach to mind-games seems to be present in the Australian camp. Warne also dismissed talk that England would be weakened by injuries, saying that “they’ll have a full-strength side – they’ve got plenty of depth”.

One of England’s injured players is Andrew Flintoff, the key man in their historic series victory last summer. Adam Gilchrist has chipped in with his two cents on the man who caused him so much trouble in that series. “He’s obviously been a focal point of our discussion and will continue to be so such is his impact in the world stage over the last two or three years,” said Gilchrist.

Michael Clarke, however, appears to be expecting miracles from the England side – he claims he is still expecting them to be captained by Michael Vaughan, despite Vaughan himself having issued confirmation that he will miss the entire series through injury.

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