England should be wary of complacency

There has been a lot of talk over the past week regarding Australia’s Ashes squad and the fact selectors appear to have the weakest pool ever to choose from heading into a modern-day Test clash with England.

Of their 16-man squad only five have experience playing the Ashes in England while nine have never faced the old enemy in a Test situation.

It doesn’t look good for Australia but betting fans looking at the bet365 cricket markets shouldn’t be getting too complacent just yet, for England are woeful at handling the ‘favourites’ tag.

The squad was at its best as plucky underdogs in the 2005 Ashes series and that 5-0 whitewash in the reverse clash 18-months later only fuelled Andrew Strauss’ drive to reclaim the Urn and defend it properly over the coming two series.

Winning the Ashes on Australian soil greatly improved England’s Test pedigree but in the preceding year they lost to Pakistan in the UAE, drew with Sri Lanka and humbly surrendered their world number one status to South Africa in August 2012.

England’s inability to cope with being favourites in the cricket betting odds cost them over 2011-12, but travelling to India last December they were underdogs once more. They even made the job more difficult after suffering a thrashing in the first Test, but Alastair Cook’s men delivered to claim a historic 2-1 series victory.

Heading to New Zealand as favourites two months later, they crashed to an uninspired 0-0 series draw – which more than satisfied the Kiwis.

England are at their best when facing adversity – it is a natural stance for all English cricketers after years of underachievement – and there is nothing that gets a Test player going more than facing Australia as underdogs.

Unfortunately for England, they are favourites heading into this Ashes and betting fans should be slightly wary of taking England at such short odds, given their track record as favourites.