England captain Joe Root has to convince his side that they can win in Australia even if it takes conning and lying to them, is the suggestion by former skipper Michael Vaughan. The former England captain has led England to an Ashes win and knows what it takes to bag the high-profile series. He acknowledged that Australia are the favourites to win the Ashes even though they are not the force they once were.
England’s biggest question mark remains over the top order amid Ben Stokes’ absence which could hurt the side significantly. The Three Lions would be eager to avoid a 5-0 drubbing they faced the last time they went Down Under in the 2013-14 Ashes.
“His (Root’s) greatest challenge is going to be to convince the team they can win,” said Vaughan as per cricket.com.au. “It may be that he has to lie a bit and con them. He might have to blow up a few tyres that might be flat and convince them they are good enough to beat this Australian team.”
“I don’t think it is right to go there and talk down the Aussies. I’ve been around captains that do that and it doesn’t work. It is worth saying they are good. They are not what they were 20 years ago but they are dangerous and you know what they will produce over five matches.”
Vaughan captained the England side to triumph at home in 2005 to end Australia’s dominance of the Ashes that existed for 16 years. He suggested that Root would have to make sure that the players know that they can’t blitz past the hosts in three days. “I don’t see them blowing Australia away in three days,” said the former captain. “They will win over there by playing how they did in 2010-11, by scoring lots of runs in the first innings, batting for periods of time, nullifying good spells of bowling and not thinking ‘we are going to attack all the time’.”
The biggest test for England will be how they cope without Stokes who is likely to miss the flight to Australia on October 28 with investigation into his night brawl in Bristol ongoing by the police and by the ECB. He has been included in the squad but will not be travelling.
“I am sure Australia respect a lot of our players but the one they fear the most is not going to be there,” he said. “I’ve not seen too many celebrations from the Australians but I am sure in private they have cracked open a few bottles. If (batsman David) Warner was injured next week and out of the Ashes I am sure you would find the England players celebrating.”
“It is not disrespecting Alastair Cook but I would say Stokes is England’s second best player with the bat. With the ball he is erratic at times but he has an impact. In the field you know he will produce something. More importantly it is his mindset. I watch England walk out on the field and when Stokes is in the team they walk out two inches taller. If he is not there in Brisbane you would have to say the Australians are clear favourites to win the series.”
Ashes begins on November 23 at the Gabba in Brisbane. It will be followed by Tests at the Adelaide Oval, WACA, MCG and SCG.