Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 8th 2013 Contents A39
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Former England captain
Mike Gatting has warned Alas-
tair Cook s men not to under-
estimate Australia during the
Ashes---as he knows first-hand
how it feels to be written off
Batsman Gatting guided Eng-
land to a 2-1 series win in Aus-
tralia in 1986---a last success
Down Under until two years
ago---despite the tourists under-
Australia captain Michael
Clarke now finds himself in a
similar position ahead of this
week s first Test at Trent Bridge,
but Gatting has reminded Eng-
land how powerful a skipper
having "belief in the players"
He told the Daily Mirror: "The
great thing about Ashes cricket
is that you cannot say for
absolute certainty what is going
"Teams often do much better
than people think they will.
You ve got to have belief in your
James Anderson is confident
England s quest to retain the Ashes
will not be unhinged by the same
problems that resulted in them los-
ing the number one Test ranking
England suffered a 2-0 series
defeat to South Africa amid the
Kevin Pietersen texting controversy
that resulted in the star batsman
being exiled from the squad.
YouTube videos, player unrest and
ultimately the retirement of skipper
Andrew Strauss---who had been the
subject of Pietersen s erroneous
communication---all reflected a for-
gettable summer that undermined
the work that had seen England
climb to the summit of the five-day
Fast forward 12 months and Eng-
land now appear in a much better
An historic series win in India
heralded Alastair Cook s arrival as
skipper before a comfortable 2-0
home triumph over New Zealand
ensured the reverse tour blank could
Perhaps even most poignant of
all has been the reintegration of
The 33-year-old was painted as
the misfit of the squad but his
match-winning potential was on
show in India and sorely missed in
the Antipodes when a knee injury
sent him home early.
He is yet to pull on an England
shirt in anger since but, after return-
ing from three months out with an
unbeaten 177 for Surrey a fortnight
ago, he has shown no signs the break
has done him any harm.
He was welcomed back to the
national fold for last week s warm-
up game against Essex---when he
coasted to 49 in the first
innings---and Anderson believes life
in the England dressing room has
never been better.
"There is no downside at the
minute. We had a really good week
at Essex," said Anderson, speaking
on behalf of ECB s £RISE pro-
gramme when hundreds of local
cricket clubs will hold open days
over the five Investec Ashes Series
"The dressing room was relaxed
when it could be. It was switched
on when it needed to be just before
we went out into the middle and on
the field. I thought we were very
"Generally there is a really relaxed
feel in the camp and an excitement
of what is about to come.
"We are aware what that slip in
form (against South Africa) did to
our rankings. We are determined to
put that right."
Anderson also confirmed
Pietersen s return had been most
welcomed, adding: "He s an extraor-
dinary player. We saw that last week,
I know he only got 49 but it just
seemed far too easy for him.
"He was in great form---he s on
the back of a big hundred for Surrey.
An in-form KP is vital to our team
The apparent cosiness of the Eng-
land set-up is a far cry from the ills
that have beset Australia as they
have prepared for the start of the
first Test at Trent Bridge on Wednes-
Mickey Arthur s shock sacking as
coach left new man Darren Lehmann
with just 16 days to drag the tourists
out of near disarray.
He has attempted to hasten that
process by vowing to return to an
aggressive Australian style that has
accommodated a fair share of Baggy
Green success in the past.
That has, initially at least, been
rewarded with a couple of dominant
performances in their two warm-
up games and Anderson is wary a
nothing to lose mentality has been
generated that should be feared.
"They basically have got not much
to lose," the England fast bowler
"A lot of them don t really have
any (Ashes) memories. A lot of them
won t have played in the Ashes
"That s dangerous in itself.
They ve got guys who will want to
prove a point and show they are
worthy of selection.
"A guy like Chris Rogers coming
in at 36 he has nothing to lose at
all. It could be quite dangerous in
Certainly England will take a size-
able advantage in terms of Ashes
experience into the series with York-
shiremen Joe Root and Jonny
Bairstow the only players in the
squad yet to meet the Australians.
By comparison 12 of Australia s
squad have never played a Test in
England - while all-rounder James
Faulkner had not even stepped foot
in the country before this tour.
That has led to calls from some
pundits that a 5-0 whitewash is on
the cards, but amid the chest-beat-
ing Anderson knows a Test series is
still to be won.
"If we don t play well it doesn t
matter if we are favourites or not,"
"You can be favourites on paper
and have a stronger team on paper,
possibly, and when you get on the
field it is a completely different story.
"We have to concentrate on play-
ing well. It doesn t matter where
Australia are in the rankings, it
doesn t matter where we are in the
rankings. This is the biggest thing."
That may be the type of on-mes-
sage response that England s players
have spouted in unison since Aus-
tralia s early-tour woes, but Anderson
sees real reason to believe the warn-
ing---most notably after Lehmann
confirmed Shane Watson and Rogers
as Australia s opening pair.
Gatting warns Cook never to write off tourists
England mood good
...says Anderson on brink of Ashes
James Anderson...set and ready to lead England attack in the Ashes.
Australia captain Michael
Clarke believes David Warner s
recent suspension should not
stop him from being selected for
the first Ashes Test next week.
Warner was suspended from
all cricket until the series opener
after it emerged he had thrown a
punch at England batsman Joe
Root in a Birmingham bar hours
after the hosts had beaten Aus-
tralia in the Champions Trophy.
That left many to conclude that
Warner had no realistic chance
of playing at Trent Bridge due to
a lack competitive action, but
Clarke insists that is not the case.
The captain stood down as a
selector when coach Mickey
Arthur was dramatically sacked
less than two weeks ago, so he
will have no say on Warner s sta-
But his message was clear in
its support of Warner.
"I think he s served his pun-
ishment. His punishment was no
cricket up to the first Test match,"
said Clarke after his side settled
for a draw against Worcestershire
at New Road to complete their
"Now it s about working out
what our best team is. I don t
believe David won t be selected
because of punishment, I think
that s been dealt with.
"The selectors will take into
consideration that he hasn t
played much cricket in the last
couple of weeks but with Davey
it s more about his mind being
clear and playing with intent.
"I don t think Davey is the type
of player that needs two four-day
games to runs and feel confident.
"If he s in the right place and
batting well in the nets I have
confidence that, if the selectors
do pick him, he can walk straight
into the first Test and make a
If anything, Clarke appeared to
suggest that the incident with
Root---one that could have cost
him his place on the tour had
Cricket Australia taken a harder
line---had been good for Warner.
It has certainly forced him to
confront his disciplinary issues
and Clarke now sees a more ded-
icated squad member.
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