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Thatscricket - News - Cricket: Forget winning Ashes: Thomson tells England

Published: Monday, November 5, 2001, 20:50 [IST]
 
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London: Former Australia fast bowler Jeff Thomson has already written off England's chances of regaining the Ashes, even though the next series is 18 months away.[an error occurred while processing this directive]"I wish I could say that I see a closer contest then but I can't," wrote Thomson in the 2001 edition of the Benson and Hedges Cricket Year published on Friday."It takes time to build a quality team and while I'm more optimistic about England's future now than I was there's still a lot of ground to make up before you'll capture the Aussies crown."He also said that Australia's 4-1 series victory in England earlier in 2001was "a fair result" but added that "I don't necessarily go along with this stuff about their being the best team ever, but they're damn good."The former New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland quick said it was the up-tempo nature of Australia's play and especially its batting that really set it apart."If you can go along at four runs per over in Test cricket, you are giving yourself time to win and with a class attack like this (Australia's), the opposition is exposed for longer."It's simple really almost like an extended One-day game," he explained.Thomson was in England earlier this year as Steve Waugh's men notched up an Ashes record equalling seventh straight series triumph in a contest that goes all the way back to the first Test ever played, at Melbourne in 1877.But Thomson who, in partnership with Dennis Lillee, terrorised Test batsmen during the mid-1970s said there were some crumbs of comfort for England supporters ahead of the 2002-03 Ashes series in Australia.He was impressed by Leicestershire seamer James Ormond who made his Test debut in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval and is currently on England duty in India."I liked the look of Ormond. It's always interesting having a first sight of a new quick bowler and while he is hardly express, he does at least swing the ball away from the bat and that's what gets good players out."I gather he's not the fittest bloke in the business, but if he knuckles down and works at it, there's no reason why he shouldn't add a yard to his pace and then he really could cause some problems."In common with many observers before him, Thomson was left bemused by the inconsistent form of England batsman Mark Ramprakash who made a fine 133 in the final Test."This is the same bloke who played the worst shot of the series up at Trent Bridge (when he was stumped off Shane Warne in the third Test), which suggested to me that he hadn't got the bottle for this level and now he produces an innings like this! I can't work him out."All I can say is that if this is finally the spur to make him get his act together, it'll be good news for England, because with Michael Atherton retiring and Alec Stewart unavailable for the tour this winter, you're going to need every bit of experience you can muster."

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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