x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Tendulkar: England to retain urn

Sachin Tendulkar is backing England to keep hold of the Ashes when they defend the urn on Australian soil this winter.

Sachin Tendulkar, one of the best batsmen in the history of the game, is backing England to keep hold of the Ashes when they defend the urn on Australian soil this winter. "I think England have a good chance of retaining the Ashes," Tendulkar said. The Indian maestro, 37, believes England's chances will largely depend on the form of Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann, while he also expects Eoin Morgan, a Test rookie, to feature prominently.

And he said the squad should be high in confidence following their World Twenty20 success in the West Indies in April. "The key members for England will be Pietersen, Morgan, and in the bowling department Swann," Tendulkar said. "For me they will be the key members of the team. Then after that you have the experience of Andrew Strauss, so they can do something special in Australia. "Swann will play a big role so I think England definitely have a good chance."

He added: "The winning of a major tournament gives you confidence and this is what winning the ICC T20 World Cup has done for England. Pietersen, meanwhile, is hoping a strong showing in the Natwest Series can put England in a strong position ahead of this winter's Ashes. The one-off series against Australia represents an important chance to score some more psychological points. "If we play the way we played in the Caribbean then we're moving in the right direction," he told Sky Sports News.

"A lot of our good players and experienced players are coming to the party and we're all dovetailing with each other. "Everyone talks about this word consistency but we've been doing it for a while and we have had some good results in the past 18 months so we want to continue that." * Agency