Dad's Army ... Australia 'too old'.
Beefy claims Aussies too old
By Jon Pierik
ASHES great Ian Botham has mocked Australia's ageing warriors, whom he feels may crack and fail to last the distance this summer.
Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer were yesterday dubbed "Dad's Army" in Britain's News of the World after the famous British comedy series set during World War II.
Australia may begin the first Ashes Test in Brisbane next week with its oldest Test side in 80 years, prompting Botham to attack Ricky Ponting's bunch of "colonial geriatrics".
"The Aussies are a year and a half older than when the teams clashed last time and they were creaking then - especially in the bowling department," he said.
"If they go into a Test with Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Stuart MacGill and Damien Martyn, the Aussies will have seven players aged 35 and over.
"I can't imagine there has ever been a team that old in international cricket.
"True, age doesn't necessarily mean you're no good.
"Warnie took 40 wickets last time and still finished on the losing side.
"There are some great cricketers in that list, but when Father Time starts to call, it can all fall apart very quickly."
While Botham is a noted pot-stirrer, his claims have substance this time because there is a feeling that the more youthful England's chances of retaining the urn improve with each day the series is "alive" .
The five-Test series will be held in a little over six weeks, with back-to-back clashes to close the summer in Melbourne and Sydney particularly gruelling.
Botham also called on England captain Andrew Flintoff to launch verbal hand grenades at the Australians.
Ponting and the likes of McGrath have gone on the verbal offensive since the tourists arrived, but the England camp - with the affable Flintoff as its front man - has largely been reserved.
"This bunch, led then by Michael Vaughan and now by Freddie Flintoff, are not scarred by Ashes failure," Botham said.
"That's why I want to hear the England camp talking more positively.
"I want to hear them saying how good they are and how p--- poor the Dad's Army of Aussies are.
"That's the attitude they must have.
"If they allow the Aussies any psychological advantage, they might as well come home.
"I am fed up hearing things like 'if we are right' and 'if we have a little bit of luck'. That's bulls--t.
"Lads, the Aussies are more than a year older than the team you beat last time. Start believing in yourselves."
EAT YA WORDS BEEFY