England stronger than 2005, says Warne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England stronger than 2005, says Warne

By Chris Lines 13/09/2006 06:46:38 PM Comments (2)

England's squad for the approaching Ashes series is stronger than the one that beat Australia in 2005, says Shane Warne.

The Australian spin king has dismissed talk that England has gambled on too many injured players, and has backed the decision to appoint Andrew `Freddy' Flintoff as captain.

"One thing that leaps out of the squad is the number of players who are not fit at the moment, but I can't see why this is such an issue," Warne said in The Times.

"By my reckoning the first Test is 10 weeks away and with the cricket ahead, the break could be the best thing for the likes of Ashley Giles and Steve Harmison.

"I don't agree that England are weaker than a year ago.

"In a couple of areas I feel that England are actually stronger.

"Chris Read is the best wicketkeeper in the country and Monty Panesar is a more dangerous and aggressive spin bowler than Giles."

Warne agrees with the appointment of Flintoff to replace the injured Michael Vaughan as skipper ahead of present captain Andrew Strauss, and has likened the choice to the one between himself and Steve Waugh when Mark Taylor bowed out.

"Freddy has become a good mate of mine and I know how much he wanted the job," Warne said.

"That is always a good start.

"He will lead by example and somebody of that ability is bound to have the respect of the team.

"The Flintoff/Strauss combination could be pretty effective.

"They remind me a bit of Laurel and Hardy - although I saw Fred at a charity event on Monday and I probably shouldn't say that because he is rapidly fasting away into a rake.

"I have some sympathy with Strauss as I know what it is like to be in the running for the job and then not get it.

"Initially I felt very down and wondered if I just wasn't good enough."

Another question mark over the England squad is the mental state of opener Marcus Trescothick, who is currently on stress-related leave, and how he will be treated by Australian fans as a result.

"I don't think he will get a hard time in Australia," Warne said.

"But if the crowds do start to get on his back then he must try to ride it instead of letting it get under his skin."

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2 Comments about this article

  • As Ooh-Aah would say - we will win 5-0
    Posted by James Ashton Thu Sep 14, 2006 04:22pm AEST
  • Some say god, I say Warne
    Posted by Peter Butler Thu Sep 14, 2006 05:56pm AEST

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