Summer days: Aussie bashing has already started

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Whatever the outcome of this summer’s Ashes it is bound to dominate the sporting narrative. Let’s hope so anyway.

If predictions from some of the most respected names in cricket are to be believed then England are heading for a procession to victory, which usually ends at Buckingham Palace for tea with the Queen and MBEs for dessert.

On the face of it the Australian touring squad looks to be one of the weakest for a long time. It is certainly one that could walk up and down Fargate and not turn too many heads in recognition.

But surely it can’t be as easy as it’s being made out to retain the Ashes for a third consecutive series.

Some will point to England’s demolition of Australia on Saturday in the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston as a sign of things to come.

True, the home team’s 48 run win was achieved with Alastair Cook’s side hardly moving out of third gear but one-day cricket is not a harbinger of Test match success - or England wouldn’t have lost to New Zealand in the shorter version of the game recently.

The Aussies may not be the most talented group but I think it would be unwise to write them off before a ball has been bowled. Winning Test matches is a very difficult business. It may look like all England have to do is turn up, however they still need to take 20 wickets.

Form and reputation would suggest it’ll happen but Australia is too proud a sporting nation to go down without a fight. And, if things go their way in the first Test at Trent Bridge, which starts on July 10, then confidence will rise.

A million words will be written and hours of broadcasting time taken up with thoughts of what may happen during the Ashes series.

I hope Australia are given due respect in those previews and are THEN taken apart by Cook and his team, including Sheffield’s Joe Root, on the field.

* There won’t be many people tipping Worksop’s Lee Westwood to break his major duck when the US Open begins at Merion Gold Club in Pennsylvania on Thursday. Now in his 40s Westwood would appear to have missed his shot at picking up one of golf’s big four tournaments.

I’ve always thought that he’s the type to win one when we least expect it, so going by that reckoning he may be worth keeping an eye on just in case.

* Follow The Star sports writer Richard Fidler on Twitter @richardfidler and Google+ follow Richard Fidler on Google+. For breaking news keep checking The Star website or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar or Twitter at www.twitter.com/sheffieldstar