| MARK WAUGH: ‘We respect England’
London: Australia’s Mark Waugh believes the deciding Test between England and India this week could influence the Ashes starting later this year.
England take on India in the fourth Test from Thursday with the series at 1-1.
“I think this match at The Oval could have a big bearing on the Ashes,” Waugh said at the launch of his autobiography. “It could either hurt their (England’s) confidence a bit or they’ll got to Australia pretty confident after winning the series.
“I think it (the result) depends on the wicket. If it’s a normal Oval wicket which I’ve seen over the past few years then it’ll turn a lot, which will help India with their two spinners.
“But I’ve not seen the wicket. So it depends on the pitch a bit and whoever wins the toss and bats first to put a bit of pressure on the opposition.”
England won the opening Test against India at Lord’s but were beaten in the third at Headingley by an innings and 46 runs.
Waugh, though, said he was still confident Australia would extend their run of success over their traditional rivals.
“I’m very confident — the team we have at the moment is one of the strongest ever so there’s no reason not to be,” he said. “But we respect England and will have to play well to beat them, we know that.”
England have lost the last seven Ashes series — their last win was in 1986-7 in Australia under Mike Gatting — but Waugh has noticed an improvement in the current England side.
“Winning Test matches breeds confidence, you tend to have a more settled team, you don’t have players always going in and out, which definitely helps,” added the 37-year-old.
“There are also a few young players in there, who have lifted the team — Hoggard, Vaughan are playing well, and Flintoff is a very dangerous player.
“They have got a good mix of experience and youth and enough good players to be very dangerous when they come over. They probably haven’t played their best cricket against India this summer. I’ll reserve my judgement until after the Ashes to see how much they have improved.”