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Botham predicts 'easy' Ashes win

Sir Ian Botham
Botham has highlighted Australia's "weak" bowling attack

Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham has tipped England to beat Australia "easily" in next year's Ashes series.

England suffered a 5-0 whitewash in the last series in 2006-07, but Botham believes 2009 will be different.

Botham says Australia's bowling attack is a pale shadow of recent years with Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath having retired from the Test arena.

"We'll win easily. I do believe we'll win quite comfortably over here," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The Australians might start banging the drum saying they're going to win next summer, but I don't think so for one moment."

What I've seen so far, I don't see as too much of a threat and if England's bowlers stay fit then they'll win the series

Sir Ian Botham

The 2009 Ashes begin on 8 July at Glamorgan's Swalec Stadium as England look to repeat their famous series win in 2005.

Warne, a thorn in the side of England cricketers for more than a decade until retiring in January 2007, has tipped Ricky Ponting's team to claim another 5-0 victory.

But Botham highlighted Australia's bowling attack as a potential weakness that England can exploit.

"I don't think they've got the bowlers - they're weak in the bowling attack and getting old," added the 52-year-old.

"I predicted it in 2005 and I predict it again now. It's never straightforward, but I think we'll dominate because we have the bowlers and that's the one thing Australia are lacking.

"They've got Brett Lee who's a terrific performer and after that there's no spinner, there's no McGrath out there."

Australia trail 1-0 in the current Border-Gavaskar series against India and are currently playing the fourth and final Test in Nagpur.

A lack of depth in their spin bowling ranks is a particular concern for captain Ponting, with Warne, Stuart MacGill and Brad Hogg all having retired from international cricket, with Jason Krezja currently filling the role in the Test side.

The Australian seamers have also struggled to harness reverse swing on the sub-continent, while Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan have shared 21 wickets for India.

"What I've seen so far, I don't see as too much of a threat and if England's bowlers stay fit then they'll win the series," said Botham.

"Batsmen have obviously got to score runs, but you have to take 20 wickets to win the Test match."

Botham also believes Kevin Pietersen will thrive in his role as the current skipper of the national side.

"Kevin averaged 50 plus runs before he was captain and I think you'll see that go up maybe as much as 10 runs as captain, because I think he'll thrive on it," he said.

606: DEBATE

"Little things he's done have impressed me. For instance England players used to come on to the field and have that ridiculous huddle as if they had forgotten what they were talking about 20 yards away, I've never quite worked that out.

"He's got rid of that and said 'come on boys let's get out and get into the opposition'.

"So he's very much an 'up-and-at-'em' captain and I think he will do well."



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see also
Tendulkar gives India solid start
06 Nov 08 |  Cricket
Ashes tickets snapped up in hours
03 Nov 08 |  Glamorgan
Warne tempted by Ashes comeback
20 May 08 |  Australia
Botham starts 12th charity walk
10 Oct 08 |  Somerset
England list full Ashes schedule
05 May 08 |  England
Vaughan leads tributes to Botham
16 Jun 07 |  Cricket
A lionheart on and off the pitch
15 Jun 07 |  Cricket
Aussies complete Ashes whitewash
05 Jan 07 |  England
Triumphant England reclaim Ashes
12 Sep 05 |  England
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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