Australian fans will be outraged by this with them viewing the current English team as being over rated in many regards and a shadow of the Team that reached Test Crickets pinnacle a few years back. There is merit in this, but even if you were to concede it as a fact and downgrade England from the A Grade side they were a few years ago to a solid B Grade Team now it still does not redeem Australia's current Test standing. Which after an embarrassing whitewash against an average Indian Team struggling in the midst of rebuilding made you think they would find it tough against Minnows like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Let alone have a chance against an England Team that revels in Home Conditions.
Here are a few more factors to cement my belief that Australia has no chance in the Ashes
1.The Teams lack of Continuity
Think of any successful Team in any Sport and one thing will be consistent in regards to a continuity of personnel which imbibes a familiarity and understanding amongst the players allowing a consistency of performance
As we sit on the eve of the Ashes, the very make up of the Team is a cause of constant discussion in particular the top 6 in the batting where none of the positions are settled. The farcical nature of this is seen in the fact that aside from Michael Clarke the only other batsman that seems assured of a place is the one Test veteran Chris Rogers at the top of the order. After a 5 year absence from the Test Team. The rest including the masterful Clarke has no idea where he will be expected to bat either.
Adding to this musical chairs type farce is that of the 7 specialist batsmen chosen, 6 could be deemed as openers with very little experience in the middle order. This uncertainty very much fosters instability, and hardly does anything to support the Teams greatest weakness.
away from the batting, the bowling is expected to be excellent in conditions that will suit, but yet again has been stricken by the same curse. The retarded rotation thery to keep the bowlers 'fresh' during the Aussie Summer was almost criminal in its big picture approach with the Ashes in mind. Where the excellency of the bowling will not only be determined by its skill, but by their cohesiveness as a unit.
The same is apparent in the Spin corps, and even more so with the post Warne era showing an impatience in the spinner entrusted in the role. Meaning they are always looking over their shoulder rather than being entrusted with faith from the Selectors that they will be persisted with. Nathan Lyon, who is in the role now is in no way a World beater, but will rarely let you down.
But as seen in India with his shameful treatment culminating in a dropping and even now with talk about Pakistani leggie Fawad Ahmed being rushed into the Team how can he feel any confidence when he feels such little support?
2, Hope versus Belief
When you run the rule over the Teams going into the Ashes you come to the conclusion that Australia is a team clinging to hope whereas England is a team sleeping soundly at night comforted by belief
On the Australian viewpoint every hope of success is about what might be, such as as their under performing batting finally finding its feet and being a factor, rather than an anchor around the teams neck.
Or hope that a bowling line up that is notoriously frail from an injury point of view will suddenly not only remain fit but will be decisive.
Little if any certainty surrounds the teams personnel outside of Michael Clarke
Which hardly inspires faith in Ashes success when you consider 'hope' is the domicile of the damned.
A quality that is so easily broken down when pressured by opposition and is accentuated in this Aussie line up because of its lack of real leadership in its ranks. The team might have an excellent leader in Clarke, but no on field leaders that can keep up the Team morale underlined when the team has had Mr Identity crisis Shane Watson in a leadership role recently and is touting the Man child David Warner in the future.....OUCH!
The butt end of this is not only is the Team easy to break down but then dominated for it is so probe to inexplicably give up.
Compare this to the English Team, that even when they are under the pump and threatened by defeat- their belief is so strong that they are nigh on impossible to beat
3, The Conditions
As I watched the Indian debacle with an eye on the Ashes the first thing that entered my mind was that if Aussie fans think their batsmen are weak against spin, then they are much worse against the swinging ball........