Upbeat England Australia-bound for Ashes

The chance to make history by winning a fourth straight Ashes series ensured England’s cricketers departed for Australia high on excitement and free of complacency on Wednesday.


Alastair Cook’s squad flew out of London’s Heathrow airport to commence preparations for the coming five-match series, starting in Brisbane on November 21.

The captain played down talk of another possible whitewash, insisting he’d happily take a series whatever the scoreline.

But Cook admitted the chance to become the first side since 1890 to win four straight series had ensured there would be no complacency on the back of three straight victories.

“You can ask any of those guys what it means to them getting on that plane to play for England in Australia,” Cook said shortly before the side left the UK.

“As a side we have a chance to win four Ashes series in a row, the first time since 1890 that’s been done.

“That to me and speaking to the lads over this last week, everyone is excited about that.

“We have an opportunity to do that and we are desperate to take that so complacency won’t be a factor.”

Cook said top-order runs would hold the key to both sides’ hopes of success in Australia and most of the totals in the recent 3-0 series win on English soil wouldn’t cut it.

“Sometimes in England, 240, 250 can be a good (innings) score with the overhead conditions,” Cook said.

“But the majority of the time in Australia 400 is the bare minimum.

“In that first innings you want to get into the game. That’s the job of the top order.”

Cook said England had picked a bowling attack capable of producing plenty of the pace and bounce needed on true Australian wickets.

He also suggested England would again look to exploit Australian captain Michael Clarke’s weakness against the short ball.

“I think you can cause him problems if you can get that in the right area. I think everyone’s got plans for every guy,” Cook said.

England came in for some criticism during their recent series win for the style of play but Cook said nothing but the end result mattered to him.

He’s also not willing to buy into suggestions England could again keep Australia winless in the series.

“The numbers for me are pretty irrelevant,” he said.

“You saw how close the cricket was at times this summer and a lot of people say it could have gone either way.

“The one thing we did really well, was winning those crucial moments and crucial times and winning them very well.

“We’ve kind of had a habit of doing that in the past and we’ll have to do it this coming (series) if we want to bring home those Ashes.”

England play the first of three warm-up games on October 31 against Western Australia.

Tim Bresnan flew out with the squad and England will monitor his recovery from a back injury before deciding whether he is involved in the series.

Kevin Pietersen joins up with the squad on Sunday after being granted compassionate leave following the death of a friend.

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