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Flintoff says England need to improve

04/11/2006 05:47:34 AM Comments (0)

England captain Andrew Flintoff believes the team will have to improve on their 2005 performance if they are to retain the Ashes in Australia.

The England squad will arrive in Australia on Sunday.

"We'll have to play well to succeed, probably even better than we did in 2005," all rounder Flintoff told Friday's edition of The Sun newspaper.

"But we have lads who can perform at the highest level. I believe we have a good chance."

England won the Ashes 2-1 last year to end 18 years of Australian domination but have been frustrated since by injuries.

Regular captain Michael Vaughan and fast bowler Simon Jones will miss the tour and left-arm spinner Ashley Giles has been included in the squad despite spending most of the year out with a hip problem.

Australia fast bowler Glen McGrath has repeated his prediction of a 5-0 whitewash, a forecast that came back to haunt him last year.

England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar said previous poor results would not affect the team.

"We as a squad have a good togetherness and results or series don't really affect us," he told reporters.

"We've shown that in the recent test series against Pakistan and also against Sri Lanka. Okay the one-day series didn't go as well as we'd like but then we came back in the test series and did well.

"So it does show that things like that don't affect us and everyone is highly motivated and very much looking forward to the Ashes," the 24-year-old added.

England open the tour with a match against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on November 10. The first Test is in Brisbane, beginning on November 23.

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