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Aussies to retain Ashes - Boycott

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Strauss not a natural captain - Boycott

Geoffrey Boycott insists England are in no shape to reclaim the Ashes from Australia this summer.

Boycott has concerns over the England captaincy, the batting order and what he sees as an inability to get the maximum out of the players available.

"England are not in great shape," the former England skipper told BBC One's Inside Sport.

"Can they win the Ashes? No, I think they will draw if anything, and the Australians will retain them."

Boycott pointed to England's winter of discontent, where they struggled on and off the field, as a major reason for their difficulties.

The 68-year-old, who made made 108 Test match appearances for England, highlighted the fall-out from the Stanford Super Series and Kevin Pietersen's resignation as captain as particularly damaging.

And Boycott believes the issue of captaincy has yet to be resolved, despite the appointment of Andrew Strauss, who was voted England's player of the year on Monday for the second time in his career.

England have got a reasonably talented team but I don't feel we're getting the best out of what we have got

Geoffrey Boycott

"There was the fiasco over Kevin Pietersen, the fiasco over Allen Stanford and his millions, they've tried three or four guys as captain," said Boycott.

"Now they've got Andrew Strauss who is quite a nice lad - he will do a decent job - but I'm not convinced he is a natural captain.

"It's a gift, to look after 10 other people and also to still look after your own game and play well, and at the same time be thinking two steps ahead of the game.

"When you're captain you can't just wait for things to happen. The great captains are thinking ahead."

As England head into a two-Test series against West Indies, starting at Lord's on Wednesday, Boycott voiced his worries over their unsettled line-up.

"If you look at the number three position, we have tried Ian Bell and Owais Shah, they're still talking about bringing Michael Vaughan back, and now are trying Ravi Bopara. That is just one position," Boycott added.

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"Steve Harmison has got the most potential of the fast bowlers but he's not even playing. They got fed up with him and they're bringing in guys who I would say are decent bowlers but nothing special."

Boycott also suggested that international cricket is not at its strongest but thinks England will not be able take advantage while they continue to underperform.

"England have got a reasonably talented team, but then some of the other sides around the world are only reasonable," he said.

"I don't feel we're getting the best out what we've got."

England's quest to reclaim the Ashes starts on 8 July with the first Test in Cardiff.



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see also
Votes on bbc.co.uk/sport
10 Jun 08 |  Sport Homepage
Jonathan Agnew column
05 May 09 |  England
Justin Langer column
05 May 09 |  Cricket
Bopara sets his sights on Ashes
03 May 09 |  England
England overlook Bell and Vaughan
29 Apr 09 |  England


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