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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 October 2006, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
Bold McGrath repeats 5-0 forecast
G McGrath
England are not the same team as they were; I'm disappointed in them

Glenn McGrath

Australian bowler Glenn McGrath has predicted his team will win the Ashes 5-0, just as he did in 2005 when the tourists lost 2-1 in England.

"I reckon it will be 5-0 this time, as well," he said in the Mail on Sunday.

"To say anything else would be negative. If we're going to win 2-1, or 3-2, which games are we going to lose?"

McGrath, 36, will play for New South Wales against England in a tour game before the first Ashes Test to ensure he is 100% match fit for Brisbane.

He took the first six months of the year off to to be at home with his wife Jane when she was diagnosed with cancer for a third time.

But the man who has 136 Ashes wickets in his locker is playing cricket again and is hungry to help Australia win back the Ashes.

McGrath believes Duncan Fletcher's side are there for the taking after suffering injuries to Michael Vaughan and Simon Jones.

He said: "England are not as strong as they were last year. But Australia are a lot stronger. And I'm fit, unlike last time.

"Put it this way, in the three Tests I played in last time, we drew two and won one.

"England are not the same team as they were. I'm disappointed in them.

By the time I play for New South Wales against England I'll be up to 90%

"I expected them to kick on after beating us and conquer the world but it just goes to show how losing players through injury can unsettle the side."

England's first three-day game of their Australia tour takes place in Sydney from 12 November.

It is due to finish nine days before the first Test of five starts at the Gabba and McGrath wants to play in it.

He said: "I came back to play for Australia in the one-day games the other week in Kuala Lumpur and was a bit rusty.

"Last week I played for my local grade cricket club, Sutherland, got through 26 overs and took 4-50.

"Now that's a big workload by anyone's standards but there was no physical reaction afterwards at all.

"I'm going to the ICC Champions Trophy at 75-80% and believe that by the time I play for New South Wales against England in the tour game before the first Test I'll be up to 90%.

"That should give me the perfect opportunity to fine-tune and be completely ready for the start of the Ashes."

McGrath mocks Monty
04 Oct 06 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2006-07
15 Dec 05 |  Future tour dates

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