Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2013/10/21/botham-predicts-ashes-whitewash

Botham predicts Ashes whitewash

UPDATED 21 October, 2013 4:18PM AEST | by PAA 55

Former England captain Sir Ian Botham believes Australia's list of injuries ensures England will be "red-hot favourites" ahead of the return Ashes series.

Botham has repeatedly tipped England to secure their first-ever whitewash success over the old enemy and says injuries to the hosts' bowlers mean a "rebuilding" Australia side will struggle.

Australia will be without James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird when the first Test begins in Brisbane on November 21, and a quick return after then remains doubtful for all three.

QUICK SINGLE: Pattinson ahead of schedule

Botham does expect the series to be more closely fought than during the first leg, when England emerged 3-0 winners, but suspects the tourists will have too much firepower.

"Are Australia better than the recent scoreline suggests? No," Botham told Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek program.

"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."

That has convinced Botham to again predict a 5-0 scoreline, as he did before the series in England.

"What's my forecast? Oh I have to stay with 5-0. Just to annoy the Aussies," he said.

"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.

"I expect Australia to make a bit more of a go of it down there."

Botham believes Australia's hard and fast pitches will also play into English hands.

England, who fly out for Australia this week, have prepared themselves for such conditions after naming a cast of giants to front their pace attack including Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and Chris Tremlett.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.

First Posted 21 October, 2013 4:03PM AEST

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