Dominic Cork says Australia have gone 'backwards' with Ashes squad

Last Updated: 24/04/13 5:31pm

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Australia have been conquered by England in the last two Ashes series - but David Fulton thinks the Baggy Greens will give Alastair Cook's charges a stiff test this summer.

The former Kent opener believes the Antipodeans' 16-man squad - which was announced on Wednesday morning and can be seen in full here - features a perfect blend of seasoned campaigners and hungry youngsters.

Fulton applauded Australia's decision to recall wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and appoint him as vice-captain, while he also feels veteran Middlesex bat Chris Rogers, 35, whose only Test appearance to date came in India in 2008, is a "belated but great selection".

However, fellow Sky Sports analyst Dominic Cork reckons the visitors have taken a "backwards step" by picking some older heads and says that despite possessing some talented pacemen, Australia will struggle to wrestle back the iconic Ashes urn...

Fulton says: "Australia need some leadership and Haddin will give them that in the vice-captaincy role, but Rogers (pictured) is the interesting one for me as I think he is a belated but great selection; he averages 50, has scored over 19,000 first-class runs and, as he captains Middlesex in the County Championship, will know the conditions. Rogers is a pick for now and not for the future but it gives Australia a nice mix of youth and experience [in the batting line-up] and I can see them scoring runs and running England close."

Cork says: "I think Australia's strength has to be [their fast bowling] and like David says about their batting, there is a mix of experienced players, like Ryan Harris, and youth, in the shape of Mitchell Starc, plus the A tour to England in June, which many of the Ashes squad will be on, will allow them to acclimatise to conditions. However, I think that this is an Australia side that is panicking and they are having to go backwards to try and get themselves to go forwards; Haddin will bring leadership skills and won the Twenty20 Champions League with Sydney Sixers, but, for me, his selection is a backwards step and I think that will help England. However, I have been impressed with paceman Jackson Bird (pictured), as he delivers the ball with the seam down, and James Faulkner who is an aggressive left-armer who can also bat."

Hit the video above to get Bob Willis's views on Australia's Ashes party.

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