Former captain Ian Botham believes Australia’s long list of injured cricketers make England ‘red-hot favourites’ in the Ashes 2013-14, as he once again repeated England’s chances of registering a clean sweep over Australia.
“Are Australia better than the recent scoreline suggests? No,” Botham told Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek, said Cricket Australia (CA) on its official website.
Botham added, “They are rebuilding but I think they are struggling. They have got a lot of injuries. I look at their attack and they are struggling with bowlers. No I think England are red-hot favourites.”
The former cricketer has repeatedly termed England as the favourites and tipped them to secure their first-ever whitewash Down Under.
Australia is set to be without the services of pacemen James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird in the first Test match at Brisbane on November 21. The report added that a quick return remains a distant possibility for all three.
The current scenario has once again prompted Botham to predict a 5-0 scoreline as he did before the Ashes series in England earlier this year.
“What’s my forecast? Oh I have to stay with 5-0. Just to annoy the Aussies. It’s possible. It really is possible. We will have to wait and see what surfaces they play on but if they play on the surfaces I think they are going to play on, then yeah, 5-0 is a real chance,” he said.
“I expect Australia to make a bit more of a go of it down there.”
Botham also thinks that Australia’s hard and pace-friendly tracks will benefit England, who have the likes of tall bowlers such as Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and Chris Tremlett.