Chris Woakes today drew the Ashes battlelines and insists England can retain the urn – but warns Australia are not a spent force.
The Warwickshire all-rounder is eyeing a Test debut in time for back-to-back Ashes series.
England host Australia this summer before heading Down Under for the first successive Ashes series in 38 years. The tourists were blasted after a 4-0 winter series defeat in India which leaves England favourites to make it three straight wins.
And only five of Australia’s touring party have played an Ashes series in England, with influential ex-skipper Ricky Ponting having retired last year.
But Woakes, who is hoping to earn his first Test cap against New Zealand on Thursday at Lord’s, insists Australia remain a danger.
“We’re capable of doing it but to think of winning the away series before the first series at home would be silly,” said the 24-year-old.
“To play in an Ashes series would be an incredible achievement. Everyone has talked a lot about Australia being in trouble with selection and the way they went to India but we know that’s a tough place to tour with different conditions to here and Australia.
“They are still dangerous. The Aussies will always bring over a very strong team and raise their game for the Ashes – as hopefully England will.
“I believe we can retain the Ashes but it’s going to be a very tough series.
“The rivalry is huge and back-to-back Tests haven’t happened in a long while.
“Even though it’s close and there’s lot of cricket before then, with the New Zealand games and the ICC Champions Trophy, it’s so exciting.”
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