Ex-England captain Andrew Strauss: Injuries will be a big factor in Ashes
Former England captain Andrew Strauss says injuries will play a major part in deciding the winner of back-to-back Ashes series
Former England captain Andrew Strauss believes injuries will have a major say in the outcome of the back-to-back Ashes series, with the hosts and Australia sweating over the fitness of several key players.
Strauss, who retired from all forms of the game last year, thinks certain players may need to be rotated during the latter part of the tour Down Under this winter to prevent burnout.
In addition, Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann are facing a race to be fit for the first Test on 10 July at Trent Bridge, while Tim Bresnan has only just returned from a lengthy lay-off due to an elbow problem.
Despite England’s injury concerns, Strauss is confident Alastair Cook’s side will live up their billing as favourites and keep hold of the urn against the Aussies.
“What you’ll find is that at the back end of the first Ashes series people will get tired, then they’ll refresh a little bit,” Strauss told the Daily Mail.
“And I think the second half of the Aussie Ashes series, you’re probably going to find quite a lot of injuries and that sort of thing occurring because it’s going to demand a lot out of the players.
“The challenge for both sides is that they handle it better than the other side. Both sides will be wanting to avoid (rotation) in an Ashes series but maybe for some of the one day cricket there might be some rotation.”
Strauss, who masterminded successive victories over the Australians in 2009 and 2010-11, added: “The players are going to find it really hard work mentally. That’s going to be a big challenge.
“Obviously we’ve won the last two Ashes series but to do both in such a short space of time – it’s going to be a marathon, literally, for the players.
“If we were to do it then we would have won the last four Ashes series and the Aussies wouldn’t like that at all. It would be a phenomenal achievement.
“England are favourites and rightly so. Home advantage counts for a huge amount in international sport. We’ve got a really good blend and mix in our side, some really experienced batsmen with a potent bowling attack.
“I expect them to win. But no Ashes victory is ever going to be easy.
“Even though people are talking down Australia, I think they are a better side than people are making out. I think they’ve got some quality players.”