The text message that should have all Aussie cricket fans concerned

Pat Cummins and Joe Root, pictured here with the Ashes trophy ahead of the first Test.
Pat Cummins and Joe Root pose with the Ashes trophy ahead of the first Test. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

A text message from his dad was all the reinforcement England fast bowler Stuart Broad needed to laugh out loud at talk his side was heading for a hiding at the hands of a supposed rampant Australian line-up this summer.

Cockiness is in no short supply among home fans as the much-anticipated Ashes series kicks off at the Gabba on Wednesday, but the confidence does seem a touch misguided and unfounded.

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Australia hasn’t played a Test in 10 months, there are questions marks over the opening and No.5 positions, Cameron Green hasn’t quite nailed down the all-rounder's spot, we have a new captain and a wicket-keeper on debut and preparations have been hampered by poor weather.

And, for some reason, theres a belief this England side isn’t much chop.

Which brings us back to the text message Broad received from his father, former England opener Chris Broad.

The old man was referring to the 1986/87 series in Australia, which despised outsider England won despite one newspaper headline screaming "They can't bat, they can’t bowl, they can't field" before a ball was bowled.

The Poms have been spared that sort of scrutiny and criticism 35 years later simply because the wet start to summer has deprived them of any genuine match practice.

It's impossible to know who's in and out of form, so limited has the preparation been.

As Stuart Broad readily admitted in his Daily Mail column: "We can't get away from the fact that we are probably the worst prepared England side to travel to Australia in the modern era.

"The rain has stuffed us out of sight, we have guys who have only faced eight balls in match conditions and bowlers who have only sent down 10 overs.

"Conversely, mentally we could be the freshest England side that's ever been here and we know Ashes cricket is a mental game."

Stuart Broad, pictured here during an England nets session ahead of the Ashes.
Stuart Broad looks on during an England nets session ahead of the Ashes. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

Broad and Anderson operate in the heads of Aussie batsmen

That last line could be prescient. Broad and fast bowling partner-in-crime Jimmy Anderson have played 315 Tests between them and do operate in the heads of the Australians.

With the fifth Test now likely to be played under lights in either Hobart or Melbourne, what this pair does – or does not do - with the pink ball in the day/night Adelaide Test and in the final game of the series will be telling.

That's assuming both remain fit and available, with Anderson out of the series opener as his 39-year- old calves continue to play up and Broad fighting for selection in the staring XI.

But, importantly for England, it no longer has to rely on mere stagehands to follow the main act when it comes to its quicks.

Ben Stokes, pictured here during an England practice session at the Gabba.
Ben Stokes bowls during an England practice session at the Gabba. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Chris Woakes struggled on the last Ashes tour to Australia but is a much-improved player and genuine match-winner four years on.

Ollie Robinson has taken 28 wickets in just five Tests and has declared he wants to "get under the

Australians' skin", while Mark Wood possesses genuine pace and will provide plenty of discomfort for the top order.

And then there is Ben Stokes, the Kiwi-born Englishman who plays like an Australian.

As we've seen before, the swaggering Stokes is capable of deciding this series with bat and/or ball.

Spinner Jack Leach rounds out an attack that is more than capable of bowling Australia out twice in five days.

Only a fool would write England off – and we're not that stupid.

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