Kolkata, July 7 -- If the second Ashes Test (July 18-22) goes into the final day, it will be the 17th anniversary of the day Sourav Ganguly announced his arrival into the world of Test cricket with 131 on debut. Ganguly is scheduled to be at Lord's for a grandstand view of this version of the sport's most historic rivalry. One that he thinks is seriously lopsided in England's favour.
His prediction for the five-Test series? "It'll be 3-1 for England who are now a seriously good team. They are the favourites by far. I am giving Australia one Test because they are a competitive team," he told HT in Kolkata.
"It's not a question of Australia being unprepared or under-prepared. They are not the same side they used to be. If you don't have the quality, you won't get the results. It's as simple as that. It's not just about preparation all the time. Of course, you need to prepare but you also need to have the quality."
Ganguly didn't think it was unnatural that Australia, despite efforts to minimise the impact of losing key players to retirement, seem to have been caught on the wrong foot.
"Natural talent and getting gifted players is something that cannot happen with planning. Planning can happen only when you have the ammunition. You cannot fight an AK 47 with a pistol, can you?" he said.
Going out of the way to get leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed citizenship shows "Australia's desperation to get a spinner in."
Australia's batting and their lack of spinners would be key areas of concern, he said.
Ganguly said he didn't think Darren Lehmaan replacing Micky Arthur should be interpreted as another sign of desperation for Australia. "Such sackings happen all the time. He (Arthur) wasn't getting the results and any coach who doesn't do that would be removed," he said.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.