Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss is confident England will take full advantage of the Australian angst © Getty Images

London: Jun 29, 2013

Former England captain Andrew Strauss believes his country have never been stronger favourites to win the Ashes after Australia’s descent into chaos in recent weeks.

Strauss, who masterminded back to back Ashes triumphs in 2009 and 2011 before retiring last year, has been stunned by the turmoil gripping the Australia squad ahead of the forthcoming series between the old rivals in England.

Australia batsman David Warner missed the majority of the recent Champions Trophy after being suspended for punching England star Joe Root in a Birmingham bar.

Then just weeks before the July 10 start of the Ashes, Australia sacked coach Mickey Arthur and replaced him with Darren Lehmann, while captain Michael Clarke asked to step down from his role as a selector.

Strauss is confident England will take full advantage of the Australian angst.

“England are in very good shape. The Aussies have been in turmoil over the last few weeks, sacking their coach and David Warner whacking an England player,” he told Live at Wimbledon, where he was set to take his place in the Royal Box on Friday.

“England have gone about their business very quietly and have never had a better chance to win an Ashes series. The guys will be excited and I’m starting to get nervous.”

Strauss, a former England opener, also backed Root to make the opener’s spot his own against Australia.

Nick Compton was given the chance to cement the role as partner to captain Alastair Cook and scored back-to-back centuries in New Zealand in the winter.

But a slide in form led to chairman of selectors Geoff Miller to say Root was “currently the best” option ahead of the Trent Bridge opener next month.

Compton impressed for Somerset this week against Australia, scoring 81 in a tour match, and will turn out as a guest for Worcestershire against the tourists next week.

But Strauss still feels Root is the man for the job.

“He’s dealt with everything that’s come his way, including that punch [by Warner],” Strauss said.

“He looks very composed, looks entirely capable of making that job his own and I’m looking forward to watching him and Alastair Cook.”