Merv tips Aussies to trounce old enemy in Ashes
CRICKET: Former Australian fast bowler Merv Hughes says Australia could come a cropper if players are not firing on all cylinders during the Ashes.
While he is a predicting a 4-0 series win for the home country, the larrikin Victorian who played 53 times for his country taking 212 wickets between 1985 and 1994, said England could cause an upset.
Hughes, who will do some stints as a commentator for Triple M during the five-match series which begins in Brisbane on Thursday, said the home team could not let their guard down despite being favourites.
"Having read the comments from some past players and people in the media about the English side, you just scratch your head and think what's happening," Hughes said of the England squad.
"But I remember there was an outcry about a side that I got picked in. We were 'the worst side ever' to be selected for Australia in 1989 and we won the series 4-0.
"Probably one thing you learn as a sportsman is don't get caught up in too much of the hype with the media.
"If we are not on our game then we are going to be in trouble."
Hughes said the two teams were evenly matched and predicted a tight series.
But he said there could be more pressure on England's star players as the visitors look to keep hold of the little urn they won two years ago in style on home soil.
"Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad are very good players and Moeen Ali has done very well," Hughes said.
But when you rely too heavily on too few, there is a lot of pressure on those few."
Hughes, who took 19 wickets on the 1989 tour of England under the captaincy of Allan Border, admitted he did not know too much about the majority of the visiting team apart from the "usual suspects".
But despite the majority of the England players being relatively unknown on Australian soil, he expected the likes of Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan and James Vince to stand up and be counted.
"Our top line, Steven Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and the bowling attack is as good as their top line," Hughes said.
"Our players coming through also look good, but I only say that because I don't know much about the English players.
"It doesn't matter who England plays in their team they are going to be giving 100 per cent."
Hughes is backing Australia to regain the urn and his heart says the series scoreline will be the same as the one in 1989 in England when Steve Waugh (506 runs) and Terry Alderman (41 wickets) were the star men.
However, Hughes, said this series will probably be a lot closer than some people believe.
"I think the Aussies are favourites because it's in Australia," he said.
"Any sport that's 50-50 you tend to lean towards the home side."