Retired English captain Michael Vaughan says he will not rule out Australia’s men carrying out a “5-0” ash chalking at home if tourists get off to a poor start to the series.
- Vaughan says England cannot afford to start slowly in the Ashes series
- He points out that recent history is not on England’s side when it comes to playing Australia away
- Vaughan says England could have a chance to win if they take part in a “tactical battle” with Australia
But Vaughan said he still considered Australia to be beatable, describing the upcoming series hosts as “vulnerable” under Tim Paine’s captain.
The Ashes men’s series is expected to begin in December, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) giving “conditional approval” for the tour to continue.
There have been concerns over the past week that biosecurity issues could lead to the cancellation of the series.
Vaughan — who led England to a drought-breaking Ashes victory in 2005 — said Joe Root’s squad would not have history on their side when they arrived in Australia.
England have only won one of the last eight Ashes away games, that victory came in the Australian summer of 2010/11.
Vaughan said it was crucial that England got off to a positive start on the series in the first Test, which kicks off at Gabba in Brisbane on December 8.
“This series could be 5-0,” he told ABC Sport.
“It can be 5-0, because you have to be realistic, because [in] the last four rounds in Australia, England have lost 5-0 twice, 4-0 once, and of course they won in 2010/11, 3-1.
“I think this England Test match team is the kind of side that if they come on a roll and they play well, they will feel good.
Vaughan said England would rely heavily on its punch as he does not believe it has the fast-bowling stocks to bother Australia.
Tourists are likely without all-rounder Ben Stokes in Australia, with Vaughan suggesting much of the responsibility for making an impression with bats would fall to Captain Root.
“If Joe Root can somehow install some of his methods in a few of the others, they could obviously be a threat,” he said.
Vaughan also gave England hope if it could pull Australia into a “tactical battle” during the series.
He pointed to Australia’s performance at home last summer when it hosted a 1-0 lead in the series against a “second string” Indian squad eventually losing 2-1.
“Going up 1-0, India bowls out for 36 at the Adelaide Oval, (India captain) Virat Kohli goes home and then does not win the series [that] tells me they (Australia) are a vulnerable team, ”Vaughan said.
“I do not think they look like an Australian side of the old days. I think they are a good team, [they’ve] got a very good bowling attack, but they are certainly vulnerable. “
Vaughan said he questioned Paine’s tactical name as captain, suggesting England could rattle Australia the longer a Test match was dragged out.
“Get Australia in on days four and five when they know they can lose and get them in a tactical battle,” he said.
Vaughan said the ECB had its rights to raise what was described as “several critical issues” – understood to be related to biosafety issues – with Cricket Australia in negotiations for the upcoming tour.
“I do not think it was unreasonable,” he said.