In the build up to the Ashes, bold predictions of confidence are rarely far away.
Today, former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting has made a massive statement about how he sees his nation's chances in this series.
England's problems have been well documented in the run up to this year's series, with off the field incidents involving Ben Stokes giving unwanted headaches to squad selectors.
Ahead of the first Test next week, Ponting has said that the Aussies will whitewash England, confidently predicting a 4-0 Ashes win after the final Test.
Ponting gave his damning assessment of the England squad's chances after slamming their batting order, pointing out all-rounder Stokes' absence, and commenting that the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad are in 'steady decline'.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, he said: "I've been a bit more outward than normal about this one because I honestly think that Australia will win really easily.
"If you look through the current England team, they're searching for an opener, they're searching for a No 3, Stokes might not be there, a couple of their quicks have gone down.
"James Anderson and Stuart Broad, as good as they've been over the years, I think they're on a steady decline. They're not going to get better from here as cricketers, [though] they're hanging on to a reasonably high level of performance."
Ponting then went on to point out that in his eyes, while established England players were declining, Australia would pit up and comers against them in the order.
He said: "You match it up against what we've got (Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins and (Josh) Hazlewood who are skyrocketing - those guys are on the up.
"I'm pretty confident that we've got a group of guys there who are going to make it really hard for England to win a game."
Throwing a slight crumb of comfort their way, Ponting said the only chance he saw for England to take a match would be the day/night fixture in Adelaide.
An extremely confident prediction will have gone down well in Ponting's native Australia, and when looking at his points, it is hard to argue with his assessment of an England squad who will go into the first Test as clear underdogs.
Whilst the squad doesn't have the star names of the past, no one in the England camp will be resigning themselves to a whitewash defeat in the Ashes.
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