Sir Ian Botham has refused to back down on his prediction of England recording two whitewashes in the upcoming back-to-back Ashes series.
This summer’s home series gets underway at Trent Bridge on Wednesday, and with the Australians currently ranked fourth in the world, the former England captain feels they will not be strong enough to trouble the hosts.
He wrote in his column for the Daily Mirror: “I haven't seen anything to remotely make me feel as though I need to change my initial prediction of a double 5-0.
“There is simply no department in which I think Australia have got an edge over England.”
Botham, who was part of four Ashes winning teams in his career, went on to praise the appointment of new coach Darren Lehmann, who has recently replaced the sacked Micky Arthur.
“Darren Lehmann is the best thing to have happened to Australian cricket recently,” he wrote.
“They have gone for a coach who understands the game deeply, but perhaps more importantly understands the cogs of Australian cricket inside out and the players will respond to him.
"But he cannot wave a magic wand and turn this Australian team into world beaters."
England are aiming to win their third Ashes series in succession, but have not whitewashed their Australian opponents since doing so in a three match series in 1886.
Alistair Cook will captain the side for the first time in an Ashes series, before leading the team down under in October.
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