ENGLAND’S cricketers are aiming to build on the feel-good factor generated by Andy Murray’s Wimbledon triumph when they renew hostilities with Australia in the first Ashes Test tomorrow, says spinner Graeme Swann.
Patriotic sporting pride has also been boosted by the British and Irish Lions’ first series win for 16 years on Saturday, and Swann hopes he and his team-mates can provide further reason to be cheerful.
He said: “The country rallied behind Andy Murray and there were the Lions. It’s a good time to be British.”
Ashes Tests are notorious for their verbal warfare but Swann insists he does not plan to become embroiled in a sledging battle, although he did not resist a tongue-in-cheek jibe at underdogs Australia.
“You don’t go out there looking to pick a fight or cause a rumpus, you go out there desperately hoping to do well yourself,” he said.
“I think any tetchiness may come about because of hot weather or frustrated bowlers, and hopefully that will be on the Australian side as we come in for tea time on day one with 300 for nought.”
England start the series as clear favourites, though Swann disputes their billing as a leading international side until they reclaim No1 spot in the Test rankings from South Africa.
“We climbed up to No1 in the world, which was a feat we aimed to do and were pleased with, but we didn’t stay there for long so we’re continually aiming to improve,” said the Nottinghamshire player, who took 14 wickets in his last home Ashes series. “We want to get back up there and until we are we won’t see ourselves as a dominant force.
“I’m sure there are 11 players in our dressing room and 11 in theirs that have been looking forward to this for a very long time.”
10-14 July, Trent Bridge, 11am
18-22 July, Lord’s, 11am
1-5 August, Old Trafford, 11am
9-13 August, Chester-le-Street, 11am
21-25 August, The Oval, 11am