Australia not firm favourites for Ashes: Allan Border
Former skipper concerned about Aussies' fatigue factor and no Test series win in England since 2001
While most Australian experts believe Michael Clarke & Co will clean sweep England when they kick off their Ashes campaign on July 8 in Cardiff, Australia's 1989, 1990-91 and 1993 Ashes-winning skipper Allan Border reckons it won't be easy for the Aussies to retain cricket's most sacred urn during this English summer.
Australia captain Michael Clarke. Pic/Getty Images
The big concern for Border is Australia's poor record in England where the Ashes have been evasive after Steve Waugh tourists won them in 2001.
"I don't think it will be 5-0," he said in response to Glenn McGrath's predictions of the scoreline. "I feel England will be very competitive. They are playing in their own backyard.
Also, Australia haven't beaten them in the last three Ashes series (2005, 2009 and 2013) in England. So, those sort of things worry me about Australia being raging favourites," Border told SUNDAY mid-day in Dubai recently on the sidelines of the launch of Masters Champions League, a T20 tournament for internationally-retired cricketers to be played in the UAE.
Allan Border kisses the Ashes urn at Leeds in 1993. Pic/Getty Ashes
"Conditions will be very different. England have good players to upset. We too (Australia) have steady batsmen and a good bowling line-up. I don't believe in the scoreline. I am fine with 1-0 result as well," he added.
The fatigue factor is also a concern for Border. Most of the Australian players have been on the road since their pulsating World Cup triumph in March. "It probably is," he said in response to Australian players' non-stop cricketing schedule.
"Modern players know their amount of cricket. Ideally, you would like to have some freshening up period for players before a big series. These guys are coming into the Ashes after a successful World Cup, then the IPL and the West Indies tour. They might be a bit jaded. It does worry me," Border said before concluding, "When it comes to the Ashes, I know it is our premier opponents and I believe they would be up for it."