Smith starts Ashes war of words

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia batsman Steven Smith has started the war of words over this summer’s Ashes, insisting England will not “come close to us” if his side fulfil their potential.

England’s focus is currently in the Caribbean, where they have a 1-0 series lead heading into Friday’s third and final Test against the West Indies.

But with the old enemy looming in the summer, it is never too early for warning shots to be fired.

And Smith, who played his part in the 5-0 whitewash of 2013/14, has taken aim first.

“I can’t wait to get over there and play another Ashes against England in their conditions after beating them so convincingly in Australia,” Smith told ESPNcricinfo.

“It’s going to be nice to go in their backyard. If we continue to play the way we have been playing over the last 12-18 months, I don’t think that they’ll come close to us to be honest.”

Shane Watson, who is currently representing IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals alongside Smith, was more measured but was also looking forward to battling once again for the urn.

“There is a huge hunger within the group because we know that we haven’t won in England for the last three series (2005, 2009 and 2013),” he added.

“I’ve been involved in two of those. There’s a big burning desire to be involved in an Ashes winning campaign in England. I’m incredibly excited about what’s on the horizon with the Ashes and everyone else is as well.”

England, meanwhile, will have their first net session in Barbados on Wednesday since sealing a nine-wicket success in Grenada.

There is intrigue over whether head coach Peter Moores will be tempted to change a winning team, with Adam Lyth casting covetous glances at Jonathan Trott’s opening slot and Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood pushing Bajan native Chris Jordan hard for the third seam position.

Spinners Adil Rashid and James Tredwell are likely to miss out again in favour of Moeen Ali, and any of those players who are not selected on Friday morning could soon be packing their bags for Dublin.

The ECB has named a callow 11-man squad to play Ireland on May 8, including six players who have yet to make their ODI debuts, but additions to the squad will be made from those who do not make the XI in Grenada.

James Vince, Sam Billings, Lewis Gregory, David Willey, Jason Roy and Zafar Ansari will all be hoping to start their one-day careers against the Irish, in a side captained for the first time by James Taylor.

”I see this as an exciting time for England,” said Taylor.

”We have to put the World Cup behind us – not ignore it, but learn from what went on, and put it to bed.

”This is a fresh start, it has to be a fresh start.

”When you think of the guys we’ve got out in the West Indies, to see the quality of the squad we’re taking to Ireland is exciting for English cricket.”

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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