SYDNEY:(Reuters) Australia have a huge hunger for an Ashes triumph in England, according to all-rounder Shane Watson, while batsman Steve Smith believes this year’s series will not even be close if the tourists play to their potential.
After the 5-0 sweep in the 2013-14 series Down Under, Australia head to England in July and August in possession of the coveted urn with a chance to claim a first Ashes series win away from home since 2001.
Watson has played in two of the four series Australia has lost in England since then but believes the current squad, with the core of the team that won the 50-overs World Cup in March, should break the drought.
“We’ve got a very strong squad that’s going over to England,” the 33-year-old said on Wednesday. “We’ve got good depth and the best part is everyone is in nearly career-best form right now which is most important as well.
“There is a huge hunger within the group because we know that we haven’t won in England for the last three series. I’ve been involved in two of those.
“There’s a big burning desire to be involved in an Ashes winning campaign in England as well. We’re as well prepared as we can be within our group. I’m incredibly excited about what’s on the horizon with the Ashes and everyone else is as well.”
Smith, captain-elect for when Michael Clarke decides to call time on his Test career, also experienced defeat in 2013 but thinks the side, which has enjoyed Test series wins over England, South Africa and India since that reverse, will be too strong.
“I can’t wait to get over there and play another Ashes series against England in their conditions after beating them so convincingly in Australia,” Smith said. “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.”
Australia play West Indies in a two-Test series in the Caribbean in June before heading to England, where the Ashes series opens in Cardiff on July 8.
Published in Dawn,