I'm dissappointed with England, 5-0 - McGrath
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Glenn McGrath is at it again, proclaiming Australia will win the forthcoming Ashes series 5-0 despite being left red-faced after the same prediction 18 months ago in England.
McGrath, who is continuing his return to action after taking time out of the game to care for his wife, refused to concede any chance for England in the series that starts on November 23 in Brisbane.
"I reckon it will be 5-0 this time, as well,'' he said in the Mail on Sunday. "To say anything else would be negative. If we're going to win 2-1, or 3-2, which games are we going to lose?'' Last time around he said rain would be the only factor that would stop Australia winning all five Tests.
Now he says he is disappointed at the current England side, claiming that they are a lesser unit than during the last Ashes series when Michael Vaughan, Simon Jones and Ashley Giles - who have since had long-term injuries - played crucial roles. He also claims that it was his injuries in the last series, which forced him to miss Australia's two defeats at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, which were the deciding issue.
"England are not as strong as they were last year,'' he added. "But Australia are a lot stronger. And I'm fit, unlike last time. Put it this way, in the three Tests I played in last time, we drew two and won one.
"England are not the same team as they were. I'm disappointed in them. I expected them to kick on after beating us and conquer the world but it just goes to show how losing players through injury can unsettle the side.''
Typically, McGrath then proceeded to dissect the England team and pinpoint where he believes they will struggle during the series. "Michael Vaughan and Simon Jones are huge losses for them. There are doubts over the fitness of Freddie Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Ashley Giles, while things are not too good for Marcus Trescothick.
"They have new guys who have done well but have never played in the Ashes series, let alone one in Australia. We'll see how the likes of Alastair Cook get on down here and we'll try and open up old wounds with Ian Bell."
To round off his blow-by-blow account of the opposition he downplayed the problems Australia could face from Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar, who both played vital roles for England during their series win against Pakistan.
"Pietersen will find a second season in international cricket is always harder than the first and I'm sure our batsmen will plan to get after Monty Panesar. As for me, I'll be paying attention to their openers, and to their new boys.''
The contest between McGrath and England's batsmen will start before the opening Test at Brisbane after he revealed he'll be lining up for New South Wales, who play England in a warm-up match at the SCG starting on November 12.
"I'm going to the Champions Trophy at 75-80 percent and believe that by the time I play for New South Wales against England in the tour game before the first Test I'll be up to 90 percent.
"That should give me the perfect opportunity to fine-tune and be completely ready for the start of the Ashes."