Graeme Swann says Mitchell Starc is the only Australian player to fear in the Ashes.
Australia are heavy favourites to retain the Ashes when it starts in July, but Swann says England doesn’t have a lot to fear, reports ESPNCricinfo.
Swann was the highest wicket-taker when England won in 2013. According to Swann Mitchell Johnson, who played a big role in the whitewash of 2013-14, is unlikely to retain his place in the side and suggested Steven Smith, the No 1 rated batsman in Test cricket at the moment, could struggle against the swinging ball.
However, Swann believes the other Mitchell, Starc, has the ability to singlehandedly win the series for Australia.
‘I don’t think Mitchell Johnson will play in the team,’ Swann said at a Chance to Shine school in Nottingham, where he helped launch a new card game for the charity.
‘He’s not the Mitchell to worry about. Mitchell Starc is above and beyond the best match-winning player they’ve got at the minute.
‘Forget about the batsmen. If Mitchell Starc bowls well, I don’t think England have got any hope of winning the Ashes. If they nullify him in some way, then they’ve got a chance.’
CLARKE DENIES SLEDGING INSTRUCTIONS
Michael Clarke says he has never instructed Australia’s David Warner to sledge an opponent and supports the opener’s apparent desire to retreat from being the team’s chief on-field instigator in the Ashes, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Warner gave an interview during the series in the West Indies in which he indicated he was looking to change his approach in the heat of battle in the middle and not necessarily, as he’s often previously been, be in the thick of the action when it comes to barking at rival players.
The 28-year-old was twice last summer found guilty of code of conduct breaches and following a pre-World Cup crackdown from the ICC on on-field behaviour, and is among a number of players who could face a possible suspension if they transgress in the upcoming Test series against England.
‘In the past I’ve been someone who’s been told to go out there and do this and do that, but at the end of the day I’ve got to look after myself, and that’s what everyone does,’ Warner told ESPN in the Caribbean.
‘There are people who do talk and don’t talk on the field. If I don’t want to be that instigator, I don’t have to be that instigator.’
Speaking during Australia’s first full training session since landing in England, Clarke said he was fine with Warner’s shift in attitude, so long as he pumped out runs with the bat. The Australian captain predicted the Ashes series would be played in good spirits, but after an often hostile showdown two summers ago the last time they came together forecast that both teams could ‘headbutt’ the line between what is acceptable and not.
‘I didn’t hear what Davey said but I can guarantee that as captain of Davey I have certainly never asked him to go and sledge somebody and I think I can speak for the coach as well, that he certainly has never done that,’ Clarke said.