Ricky Ponting has not seen a weaker England batting line-up than the current one which will take on Australia in the upcoming Ashes series Down Under. The former Australia captain has said that England will find it difficult to compete against the home team and they should look at themselves before pointing fingers at Australia’s team.
“I’ve been a bit more outward than normal about this one because I honestly think that Australia will win really easily,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “If you look through the current England team, they’re searching for an opener, they’re searching for a number three, Stokes mightn’t be there, a couple of their quicks have gone down.
Further assessing the England team, Ponting said that England pacers, especially Stuart Broad and James Anderson, are on a steady decline and will not be able to compete with their Australian counterparts.
“Anderson and Broad, as good as they’ve been over the years, I think they’re on the 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. Then you match it up against our team and we’ve got (Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins and (Josh) Hazlewood who are skyrocketing – those guys are on the up.
“And you see this around all sporting teams, you look at guys that are on the way up, that are starting to progress. If they get a sniff early then they’ll run with it and they’ll be near unstoppable, those three guys.
“(Spinner) Nathan Lyon’s last few years have been outstanding, so I just think right now England have got more gaps and more cause for concern in, not only in their eleven but in their entire squad, than what Australia have.”
Ponting also replied to former England cricketers Ian Bothan and Gramme Swann’s criticism of Australian team and said that the Aussies have got a good bunch of players who can make it really hard for England to win a game.
“Let’s wait and see, everyone’s got their own opinion on the way they think this series will go and how the individual players will go, but 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,” Ponting said.
“I think they (Botham and Swann) should be looking in their own backyards before they start worrying about ours.
“I don’t remember seeing too many England teams, certainly in the last 15 years anyway, with some of the batsmen that I’ve seen them play over the last six to eight months. Some of the guys I’ve seen I’m not too enamoured with,” he said.
The former Australia captain predicted that Australia are going to win the series 4-0 and the only chance England have to win a Test will be in Adelaide where the game will be played with pink-ball and under lights.
“My prediction is that I think it will be four-nil Australia, and I think the best chance that England have got will be in Adelaide where a night game, pink ball, the night time conditions will suit Anderson and Broad down to the ground.
“But if they don’t win that one, I can’t see them winning one.”