Ian Botham Labels Australian Batting Order as the Worst He Has Seen
Former England all-rounder Ian Botham who was regarded as one of the best all-rounders in his playing days have slammed the Australia’s batting order as the poorest he has seen and even questioned the fitness level of the Aussie fast bowlers. Australia is the favourites to regain the Ashes especially after the cloud over the availability of Ben Stokes and the inexperienced middle order.
However, Botham feels that England shouldn’t worry about the batting line-up and believes that if given the clearance by the police, Stokes might well end up playing a major role in the series. He stated that Warner and Steve Smith might end the summer with some serious back pain due to the heavy batting load they will have to bear this summer.
“England should be feeling bullish about their chances of winning the Ashes because Australia’s batting line-up is one of the poorest I’ve seen,” Botham wrote in his column for the Mirror.
“Let’s get a bit of perspective here after the opinions of the so-called experts, who must realise that Warner and Smith could end up with some serious back pain come January after carrying the load. There is not a lot of support behind them and England have a stronger line-up from where I’m sitting, despite their concerns at No.3,” said Botham.
“I keep on hearing and reading from former players about how England are going to get hammered … the reality is the Aussie batting should hold no fears for England because once they get past David Warner and Steve Smith, there is very little else to worry about,” he added.
Australia’s pace trio Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will look to unsettle the English batsmen but when asked about the same Botham laughed off at the prospect of the Aussie quicks ripping through the English top order as he reminded of the injury worries in the Australian camp.
“What do England’s batsmen have to be worried about? A bit of pace? When was the last time any of the Australia pace attack played in all five matches of a series?” Botham wrote.
“Of their current crop only Mitchell Starc has done it in 2015 and that didn’t go so well for Australia as I remember.
“More common is the sight of their fast bowlers breaking down. The series hasn’t even started yet and James Pattinson has been ruled out with a back injury.
“Starc is returning from a foot problem which has kept him out of action for most of the year and Pat Cummins has never played a Test match at home because of an injury-ravaged career that has restricted him to five Test matches in six years!”
Stokes, if cleared by the police, will be a part of the England squad and Botham feels if the police investigations go well, he might take the next available flight to Australia.
“I see people have written him off for all the Ashes Tests, but if he is cleared by police, why wouldn’t he jump on the next available plane?” Botham wrote.
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