Johannesburg, June 30 (ANI): England head coach Andy Flower has said that his side respects Australia and insisted that they would not make the mistake of taking their arch rivals lightly when they face the 'different challenge' of starting the Ashes as firm favourites.
According to Sport24, England has won the last two Ashes series, with their most recent success a 3-1 series win in Australia in 2010/11, while Australia is struggling to re-assert themselves following a 4-0 series loss in India, without retired batting greats Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.
The report further said that England is going into this series on home soil as favourites against an Australian side, which sacked coach Mickey Arthur and have been beset by problems on and off the field, with David Warner suspended until the first Test following his Birmingham bar attack on England's Joe Root.
However, Flower refused to accept that the Australians have weakened, saying that England is aware of the fact that the tourists are dangerous and respect them as such, adding that Australia is not as bad as critics, who have labelled Michael Clarke's men as the worst Australian outfit to come to England in 30 years, have suggested.
According to Flower, although England, who recently won a two-match series against New Zealand 2-0, is going into the Ashes as favourites, they are not as good as some people have suggested, adding that the 2009 Ashes, both at home and in Australia, were probably won against expectations because Australia had a good amazing record at home before England beat them there
However, the former Zimbabwe batsman also said that even though the fact that England is expected to win brings a different challenge, the team is aware that they are a good Test side and have a group of players who are excellent fighters.
Meanwhile, Flower also had some consoling words for Nick Compton, overlooked for England's warm-up game against Essex, with national selector Geoff Miller saying Joe Root is 'currently the best opening partner for Alastair Cook'.
Stating that one cannot be sure of what is around the corner, Flower said that Compton must ensure that he is pole position should anything unfortunate occur to the men in possession, adding that he is very hungry to succeed. (ANI)