The Ashes

Starting this week at the Gabba in Brisbane, the second of 2013’s back-to-back Ashes series kicks off and is sure to be a cracker. Why are there two Ashes series this year? Well, I’m glad you asked. If they were to follow the standard biannual schedule, the next Cricket World Cup in Australia would take place directly after the Ashes series and would potentially mean the England team being away from their families for 6 months So I’m sure you’ll all agree that this is fantastic compromise and means we are treated to our second Ashes series in quick succession  

With Alastair Cook, Jonathon Trott and Kevin Piertersen all looking good in the Ashes warm-up against an Australia Invitational XI, a morale-boosting win has been overshadowed by Australia's decision to field a third-string team with unknown players. Along with a barrage of intimidation from the Aussie media, the weak team fielded by the hosts appears to be a ruse to unsettle England nerves.

Ex-captain and Three Lions legend, Michael Vaughan, believes the childish Aussie hijinks will not affect the team - "Australia are doing everything they can to stop England getting a decent practice. It is a little bit sad and smacks of desperation. You can tell the state Australia is in when they resort to mindgames ... England have won the last three Ashes campaigns by saying very little and concentrating on the cricket."

With the Aussies trying all they can to rattle the England team before a ball is bowled, it leads many to believe that it's they who harbour the inner doubt. The great Australian sides of the past have never resorted to such tactics and simply let their cricket do the talking, which is exactly what England will do. They were in control for the entire summer and won the Ashes series 3-0, it was only some bad light and a spot of rain that spared Australia's blushes of a 5-0 whitewash. And, although Australia may make it a little tougher this time around, England are far superior in every department and I can't see anything but a comprehensive Three Lions victory. 

The first Ashes test starts on Thursday at 11pm so, if you haven't got any time off, I suggest you stock up on matchsticks to prop your eyelids open at work