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Ashes 2013 predictions from Laureus cricket heroes

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July 10, 2013
Today one of the world’s great rivalry sport events sets off once again: The Ashes.
Some say it is the most legendary rivalry sport has ever seen.
And just as the first balls are bowled, we take a look at what Laureus Academy Members and Ambassadors have predicted in the run-up to the series.
 
Former Australian captain and Laureus Academy Member Steve Waugh
"The Ashes will be a lot closer than people are saying,”
It's much the same as when I first toured in 1989 and they said we were the worst team ever to come over and we won 4-0."
My gut says you guys may win in England and we might win in Australia… [but] We can win in Australia definitely."
[from The Daily Mail]
 
English cricket legend and Laureus Academy Member Ian Botham
“Australia will be trying to come at England just as hard when they are 1-0 down as when they are 4-0 down.
I haven’t seen anything to remotely make me feel as I though I need to change my initial prediction of a double 5-0.
There is simply no ­department in which I think Australia have got an edge over England.
I cannot think of an Ashes series in which the better side has lost. Maybe over the course of a single match, but five matches? No way. The stronger team will prevail and that is why I am so confident. This is not bluster.”
 
2005 Ashes winning captain and Laureus Ambassador Michael Vaughan
“A big factor now is that England have players who know how to win the Ashes. When I was captain nobody had done that. All we knew about was losing. Now it’s Australia who are in that position.”
 
And speaking in his Telegraph column, Vaughan says
 
“The good thing for England is they have experience in Alastair Cook, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. They have done it before. The Ashes new boys Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are surrounded by experience which is a nice blend for England to have.
A lot of former England players, including myself, are predicting an England win but it will not be a walkover. The statistics offer a warning. Between England winning the Ashes at home in 2009 and rising to be the world No 1 Test team in August 2011 they averaged 411 in the first innings.”
“Since then and leading into this series England’s first innings average has dropped to 323, 88 runs fewer. The opposition average has risen to 335, leaving England a deficit of 12 runs.
Yes, they have played good attacks over the last year and half but the statistics tell a story.
Australia over the same period from 2011 have averaged 411 in the first innings and their opponents 327.”
“Yes [Australia] are an inexperienced bunch but that can be exciting too, so a word of caution. England will not walk the series.
They are not playing as they did in 2010?2011 when they reached No 1 in the world. They have to be honest and admit their cricket over the last year has not been great."
 
What do you think? Do you predict an England whitewash victory or can Australia claim victory over the series? Let us know on facebook or twitter