England set to take back the Ashes

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Twenty years of hurt will come to an end next summer when the England cricket team regain the Ashes, possibly…

That might sound like over-confidence but when a team is young, hungry and on a winning streak then anything is possible.

Success breeds confidence which breeds further success and the sky’s the limit for the current crop of England cricketers.

The two recent series wins, firstly in the West Indies, and then at home to New Zealand, have laid the foundations for years of celebrating the triumph (rather than the death, as has been frequently reported) of English cricket.

The building blocks for success are readily apparent.

Michael Vaughan, though suffering from indifferent personal form, clearly has the support of his players and the ability to motivate them when it is most required.

Marcus Trescothick’s belligerence at the top of the order typifies the team spirit.

His technique is far from the greatest to have graced the test match arena but he continues to accumulate runs.

Mark Butcher and Graham Thorpe are solid middle-order statesmen with a combination of dogged determination and flowing strokeplay.

Andrew Flintoff is edging closer to becoming the finished article and a player who will become the envy of world cricket.

Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones are both capable of devastating spells of bowling and, along with Flintoff, provide support for the man who has become England’s MVP – Steve Harmison.

The gangly Durham paceman is second only to the Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan in the world rankings and in the number of wickets taken this year. He is now unplayable when bowling at his best – just ask Brian Lara.

If that list of talent isn’t enough to win the Ashes then add to it the recent discoveries of Geraint Jones and Andrew Strauss, both of whom have adapted remarkably quickly to the test environment.

Unfortunately, there is a chink in the England armour and it’s the spin bowling department.

Not to join the list of people having a go at Ashley Giles, but… he’s never going to be a match-winner.

There are no obvious candidates around to replace him though, so it could well be that "Gilo" will still be around to tackle the Aussies.

The wallabies could be entering a transition phase sooner rather than late.

Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath – two of the greatest to have played the game – are nearing the twilight of their careers, and the Brett Lee express train seems to keep on getting derailed.

They still have wonderful players such as Hayden, Ponting, Gilchrist and Gillespie but man-for-man England are getting very close to matching them.

Of course, England could go on to lose to the West Indies later in the summer and English cricket will die all over again.

But if England do happen to beat the Aussies next year, just remember where you heard it first!