London, Nov.23: If England refuses to be daunted by life at the Gabba and avoids a meltdown like the one displayed by fast bowler Steve Harmison in 2006-07, it can win the Ashes series Down Under, feels former England captain Mike Gatting.
Gatting, who was the last England skipper to win the Ashes on Australian soil after leading his side to victory in the 1986-87 series, firmly believes Andrew Strauss can take his dubious title of being the last English captain to win in Australia.
"England have to come out all guns blazing if they want to be successful. The first session of any series is crucial if they want to set the tone and set the dynamics for the rest of the series," The Age quoted Gatting, as saying.
"You can't lose a series in the first morning, but you can go a hell of a long way to losing it. I think we have a very good chance of succeeding, but we have to do better than we did last time," he added.
In 1986, Gatting's mature captaincy approach was widely acknowledged as being the crucial difference in England winning the Ashes and he wants Strauss to follow his lead. The former Middlesex man was well known for his laissez faire approach to man management and to life on tour in general and any side captained by Gatting knew what a night out looked like. The team spirit he generated was critical to that England success and he extols the same virtues today.
"It is about managing a group of grown men in a sensible way. You want them to enjoy touring rather than fear it and you have to let them let their hair down at times. I hope this England side get the chance to see Australia and to enjoy themselves," Gatting said.