England start favourites for Ashes, says Gilchrist

October 29th, 2010 - 11:20 pm ICT by IANS  

London,Oct 29 (IANS) Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist Friday picked England as favourites to win the Ashes series against arch-rivals Australia, starting Nov 25.

Gilchrist, one of the most explosive batsmen of the last decade, said the English look like a team oozing with confidence and have an upper hand in the five-Test series.

“I see a very confident, compact England unit about to arrive. England should start favourites as they are the most composed group at the moment and seem to have confidence about each other. That will serve them well on that first morning.” Gilchrist told the BBC Radio.

“But either team could win it. I agree with (England captain) Andrew Strauss. I think you can hardly split the top four or five teams in world cricket at the moment.”

“There is no dominant team in cricket at the moment. On any given day, one can beat the other,” he said.

On Austaralia’s current form, Gilchrist said: “Australia have a tremendous home record and have been particularly strong over the last 15-20 years. The West Indies did well in the 1980s and early ’90s but since then it has been a bit bare for the touring teams.”

“Australia play the conditions well and (captain) Ricky Ponting plays particularly well in home conditions. There is going to be a lot of weight on his shoulders if they are to be successful and I suspect he will be up for it too,” Gilchrist said.

“But there is uncertainty about what their best 11 is when everyone is fully fit. The bowling has suffered a great deal of disruption and that makes it difficult.”

“The spin bowling position has always been under question since Shane Warne left. Nathan Hauritz has tried his best and received great support from the selectors and that will be another contentious issue as the series hots up,” said Gilchrist.

The Aussies went back home winless from the India tour and Gilchrist said the recent defeats have hit the team’s confidence.

“The team have taken a blow in confidence with a series of negative results and I think we are realising we do not like losing. We took it for granted that we were winning so often. But it is a new period in Australian cricket and there is no need to talk about the previous group,” he said.

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