Flintoff confident England will beat Australia in Ashes series

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

LONDON - Double Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff believes England has a better crop of players than Australia and expects them to retain the coveted urn.

Flintoff told BBC Sport: “Looking at the two teams, I reckon we’ll beat them.”

The former England all-rounder thinks Kevin Pietersen, James Anderson and Graeme Swann can be the difference.

However, he says Ricky Ponting’s Australians should not be underestimated.

England won the Ashes in England in 2005 to end an 18-year wait for success in the competition, only for Australia to record a whitewash on home soil in 2006/7.

England then regained the Ashes in a closely fought series in 2009 and is attempting to defend the urn by winning in Australia for the first time in 24 years.

“It’s going to be interesting watching it but I think we’ll just edge it,” said Flintoff, who expects Pietersen to play a key role despite some indifferent performances.

He also tips Swann to make a big impact after claiming that he has “reinvented the art of off-spin”.

“He’s a clever bowler. He’s got his natural variations and I don’t think Australia play off-spin too well,” said Flintoff.

Flintoff officially retired in September after an injury-plagued career in which he played 79 Tests, scoring five centuries and 26 half-centuries. His best Test bowling figures came against the West Indies in Barbados in 2004, when he took 5-58.

The talismanic Lancastrian admits he is still coming to terms with the end of his playing career.

“I look back at the 70-odd Tests I played and sometimes it was an effort to get on the field. Every game I played for the last five years could have been my last, so I just wanted to enjoy it. I’m only 32, I think I’ve got a bit left in me… both mentally and physically, I want to keep busy,” he said. (ANI)

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