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Cook’s men ready for old rivals in Ashes clash
February 14, 2013
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LONDON: England wicketkeeper Matt Prior believes Alastair Cook’s men are ready to “bully” old rivals Australia in this year’s back-to-back Ashes series. Cook’s side are bidding to become the first England team in over a century to win four straight Ashes campaigns, a chance they have this year when a trip Down Under follows on from a home series in order to set up a new cycle that ensures England are not always in Australia immediately before a World Cup.

Prior, a key figure with both gloves and bat in England’s 2009 and 2010/11 Ashes triumphs, grew up in an era when Australia dominated cricket’s oldest Test rivalry, with the likes of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath starring during a run of eight straight series wins for the men in Baggy Green caps.

“I remember watching Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath, and the way they walked around and bullied England,” Prior told BBC Sport.

“Maybe it’s our time to do a bit of bullying ourselves. “If we prepare and perform as we want to, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t dominate Australia in these two Ashes series.

“You look at our dressing room and the skills we have in our team — batters, bowlers, the spin department, it’s all there. “But Ashes series are strange — there is no such thing as a weak Australian Test side and we will have to be on our game to do it.”

The Australia side that tours England this year will have an unfamiliar look, with the top order missing two mainstays following the retirements of both former captain Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. Meanwhile, although Australia have a raft of promising fast bowlers doubts several have already suffered injury setbacks in their short careers and much will depend upon the durability of the likes of Peter Siddle.

The Australia teams captained by Steve Waugh, of which McGrath and Warne were key members, used to revel in what their skipper called “mental disintegration” and the rest of the world knew as “sledging”. England too have shown lately they can dish out verbal abuse .

Agence France-Presse

 

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