Former England captain Andrew Strauss has told GiveMeSport he does not see this summer’s Ashes series as a foregone conclusion, and thinks Australia are an underrated team.

The 36 year-old was part of three Ashes winning teams, and lead the first England team to win a test series in Australia for the first time in 24 years in the winter tour of 2010/11.

But despite most pundits and bookmakers making his former team mates strong favourites ahead of the first Test, which starts at Trent Bridge on Wednesday, the ex-Middlesex batsmen thinks the Australian bowlers can cause the hosts some problems.

He said: “I think they are stronger than people give them credit for. They have a very good bowling line-up with strong seamers.

“Their batting looks weak on paper but an Ashes series isn't played on paper, it's played out in the middle, so it's going to be interesting to see how some of these less experienced players do in England.”

His comments contrast those of another former skipper, as Ian Botham has predicted back-to-back whitewashes will be dished out to Australia over the coming two series.

“I haven't seen anything to remotely make me feel as though I need to change my initial prediction of a double 5-0,” he wrote in his column for the Daily Mirror.

“There is simply no department in which I think Australia have got an edge over England.”

Australia’s former captain Steve Waugh believes that the visitors can win the series if they have the right team spirit, drawing on his experience from their victorious tour of 1989.

He wrote in the Herald Sun, an Australian newspaper: “Back in 1989 we began the series by being labelled the worst touring team ever to contest the Ashes, but what these experts hadn't factored in was the unbreakable team bond that we formed as we journeyed up and down the motorways.”

“Each victory gave us strength and belief but the number one factor for all of us was the enjoyment we got from seeing our mates succeed and the notion that the team always came before the individual.”

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