Thursday, 6 November 2008

Botham Stokes Ashes Fire

England legend Sir Ian Botham has predicted an "Easy" Ashes series win for England over Australia next summer. Unusual for an Englishman to make this kind of a prediction, it normally comes in the form of a 5-0 to Australia from the likes of of McGrath or Warne. Indeed Shane Warne has already made that exact prediction.

In a radio interview on Radio 5 Live Botham said "We'll win easily. I do believe we'll win quite comfortably over here," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The Australians might start banging the drum saying they're going to win next summer, but I don't think so for one moment."

Botham on the other hand completely disagrees with Warne's prediction and instead believes that the outcome will be very different to the 5-0 whitewash during the last series and in favour of England; mainly due to a weaker Australian bowling attack.

"I don't think they've got the bowlers - they're weak in the bowling attack and getting old," added the 52-year-old.

"I predicted it in 2005 and I predict it again now.

"It's never straightforward, but I think we'll dominate because we have the bowlers and that's the one thing Australia are lacking.

"They've got Brett Lee who's a terrific performer and after that there's no spinner, there's no McGrath out there."

Botham used Australia's lack of potency in the bowling attack during their current test series against India (in which they are trailing India 1-0) as a perfect example to highlight his point.

"What I've seen so far, I don't see as too much of a threat and if England's bowlers stay fit then they'll win the series," said Botham.

"Batsmen have obviously got to score runs, but you have to take 20 wickets to win the Test match."

Botham also believes that appointing Kevin Pietersen as captain of England could be an inspirational masterstroke by the selectors.

"Kevin averaged 50 plus runs before he was captain and I think you'll see that go up maybe as much as 10 runs as captain, because I think he'll thrive on it," he said.

This would be unusual as many captains have worse averages once they take over the role. It would indeed be no surprise if Kevin Pietersen was completely the opposite to the average; he seems to take things in his stride and thrives on pressure. Botham continued.

"Little things he's done have impressed me. For instance England players used to come on to the field and have that ridiculous huddle as if they had forgotten what they were talking about 20 yards away, I've never quite worked that out.

"He's got rid of that and said 'come on boys let's get out and get into the opposition'.

"So he's very much an 'up-and-at-'em' captain and I think he will do well."

So that's Sir Ian Botham's view, you can read our prediction of the ashes here ashes preview which also questions Australia's bowling attack.