Is it possible that the current England test team not only have the ability, but also the belief that they can go head to head with a rampant Australian team this summer and win back the Ashes?
Australia have arrived in England on the crest of a wave having demolished India and the West Indies in their last two test series, while England have limped to two successive drawn test series against New Zealand and the West Indies.
England are simply not in the kind of form that is needed to challenge the current Australian team, who are playing an aggressive brand of cricket that they will find hard to compete against at test level, especially as a number of batsmen need to find a run of form and very quickly.
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The selectors have kept the squad very much the same as for the series against New Zealand, leaving out Footitt and Plunkett and bringing in Adil Rashid, the leg spinner from Yorkshire.
To me, it seems that the selectors place continuity of selection above current form and it could lead to an embarrassing defeat in the first test Cardiff. In a squad of thirteen there are four quickies, Broad, Anderson, Wood, and Finn, an all-rounder in Ben Stokes, two spinners in Rashid and Moeen Ali, a wicket keeper in Jos Buttler and five batsmen, and all of them will almost certainly start.
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They are Cook, Lyth, Ballance, Root and Bell. Two out of those five batsmen, Bell and Ballance are in very poor form, Lyth will be playing in his first Ashes series, and as for Alastair Cook, as captain he always seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
It seems fairly obvious, if Rashid plays then Moeen will not, so why haven't the selectors picked another in-form batsmen in his place, someone like Eoin Morgan or James Taylor?
As for the bowlers again it is fairly obvious that one of the four will miss out, and it is likely to be either of Wood or Finn. In truth, some people might ask is Stuart Broad worth a place in his current form, but I cannot see Alastair Cook or the selectors leaving Broad out of the side.
Australia is not invincible and they have a number of thirty something's in their squad, and if England can be aggressive and target the likes of Rogers, Clarke and Watson, then we could have a lot of success, but it seems to me the series will be decided by whoever is more successful out of England's batsmen of Australia's bowlers.
That is the key to the series, but it would be nice if the groundsmen around the country produced wickets that help both batsmen and bowlers, and not the wickets we have seen in the recent one-dayers, which have been a total batsmen's paradise.
Can England win the Ashes back from Australia this summer?
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