New Delhi: Legendary Australia cricketer Ian Chappell has fired the opening salvo at the English cricket team ahead of the blockbuster Ashes series, which starts on November 23.
In his column for a cricket website, Chappell wrote that the visitors haven't had a good show down under in the recent past and skipper Joe Root will have to be a 'very strong leader' to keep his team in contention throughout the course of the series.
"Apart from the militarily planned, successful assault on Australia in the 2010-11 Ashes series, the story of English tours in the last 30 years has been one of futility. Joe Root will need to be an extremely strong leader and his team exceedingly resilient if the current Ashes tour isn’t to unravel like so many in the recent past," Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo
Drawing parallel to the 'disastrous' 2002-03 series — which Australia won 4-1 — Chappell wrote that England suffered huge injury setbacks before the start of that campaign and this tour is starting to look eerily similar to that, following injuries to Steven Finn and Jake Ball.
"Commencing with the considerable setback of Ben Stokes’ arrest in late September, this tour is shaping up as a replica of the disastrous 2002-03 campaign. In an act of supreme optimism, the 2002-03 tourists arrived in Australia with injury-ravaged fast bowlers. The two main protagonists, Darren Gough and Andrew Flintoff, failed to overcome their injuries and then, to rub salt into English wounds, the speedy Simon Jones damaged his knee in the opening contest and flew home," Chappell wrote.
"In the lead-up to the tour England featured a strong pace attack and a dodgy batting line-up. Australia were similarly placed but they have since lost only one pace bowler to injury, while England’s fast men are going down like ninepins. Thanks to Stokes’ self-inflicted wound and the long injury list that followed, Australia’s brittle batting line-up will now be facing a seriously challenged string of England seamers,” he added.
The visitors have only one tour game left to iron out the glitches before the big day. The third game starts on November 15 in Townsville, and the English side would like to test the new players who have been drafted into the team because of injuries to Finn and Ball. Tom Curran and George Garton, the seamers, have been named their replacements respectively.
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