Gilchrist: England are the Ashes favourites

Adam Gilchrist believes England should start as favourites to win this winter's Ashes series.

The former Australia wicketkeeper-batsman thinks the tourists' confidence will stand them in good stead – but believes Australia's home advantage will make for an exciting series.

The England squad left for Australia yesterday and 38-year-old Gilchrist said: "I see a very confident, compact England unit about to arrive.

"England should start favourites – they are the most composed group at the moment and seem to have confidence about each other and as a group. That will serve them well on that first morning.

"But either team could win it. I agree with [England captain] Andrew Strauss – I think you can hardly split the top four or five teams in world cricket at the moment.

"There is no dominant team in cricket at the moment. On any given day one can beat the other."

On the hosts' current situation, Gilchrist added: "Australia have a tremendous home record and have been particularly strong over the last 15 to 20 years. The West Indies did well in the 1980s and early '90s but since then it's been a bit bare for the touring teams.

"Australia play the conditions well and [captain] Ricky Ponting plays particularly well in home conditions. There is going to be a lot of weight on his shoulders if they're to be successful and I suspect he'll be up for it too.

"But there is uncertainty about what their best XI is when everyone is fully fit. The bowling has suffered a great deal of disruption and that makes it difficult.

"The spin bowling position has always been under question since Shane Warne left. Nathan Hauritz has tried his best and received great support from the selectors and that will be another contentious issue as the series hots up.

"The team have taken a blow in confidence with a series of negative results and I think we are realising we don't like losing and took for granted that we were winning so often.

"But it's a new period in Australian cricket and there is no need to talk about the previous group."

England have a poor record Down Under in recent times. They lost their last tour 5-0 under the captaincy of Andrew Flintoff and are seeking a first series success in Australia since 1986-87, with the only three wins they have achieved in 26 matches since coming from "dead rubbers".

Asked for his prediction, Gilchrist added: "Either team could win it and I think everyone is anticipating another tight series.

"In 2009 you didn't know what the match situation was going to be at the end of each day. It will be a hard-fought, closely contested series."

The hosts sought to inject a fresh perspective into their selection panel (NSP) yesterday with Merv Hughes losing his job and Greg Chappell joining the four-man board alongside David Boon, Jamie Cox and chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch.

"After feedback from NSP chairman Andrew Hilditch during today's meeting, the board unanimously decided that David Boon, Jamie Cox and Greg Chappell were the best people to join him on the four-member NSP," said the Cricket Australia chief executive, James Sutherland.

"Andrew was clear in his assessment that Merv had been a good selector and a strong contributor around the selection table, but that Cox, Boon and Chappell were the better options to continue on the NSP."

England players will be allowed to express their thoughts on Twitter during the Ashes despite previous mishaps.

James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad all have Twitter accounts, but team management decided against an outright ban even after Kevin Pietersen used the site this year to post an expletive-laden complaint about his omission from the one-day side. Strauss said: "We like to treat people like adults."

26 days to the ashes

26 is the number of innings since Kevin Pietersen scored a Test century. His last hundred came against West Indies in March 2009, since when he has managed to average only 38.40 with the bat, some way below his career Test average of 47.80.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable