I am from England and love the sport of cricket. In my opinion the ashes series of 2005 was one of the most exciting sporting events that I have ever witnessed. The Australian team which is without question the best side in the world were out battled, out thought and out played by a determined England side. The question is whether the English team can retain the ashes in Australia in 2006.

Since that historic home victory against the Aussies, the English cricket team have not exactly set the cricket world alight. There are a number of reasons for this of course, including a large number of injuries. Players such as the captain Micheal Vaughan have been unable to play which has had an obvious negative impact on the team as a whole.

A message for you Aussies, our boys will be back to inflict even more misery on your team!

A tour to countries like Pakistan and India are not exactly the most tempting of trips. Not so much about the the teams they are facing of course but more the conditions and all round differences in the way of life. This of course should be no excuse and the Aussies themselves always seem to be successful in these countries.

On their return to the UK the English team soon took out their anger on a poor Sri Lankan team.

So can this English team retain the ashes in Australia? The answer is without doubt a big yes. Some would say the first test is so important. Maybe, if England win it I think it is all over, no way back for the Australians I mean. Maybe not, if the Aussies win the first test I am sure the English team can come back.

There are two players that will make the difference if they of course can keep fit. Andrew Flintoff is not only a class player of all round ability but is also a proud Englishman, who will be more determined than most to retain these ashes.

Kevin Pieterson is in my opinion the best batsman in the world at the moment. Fair enough he dropped a few catches in the last ashes series but his batting was like nothing I have ever seen before. He is pure class and should be encouraged to play in his own natural way.

There are a number of other players I could mention but these two are extra special and will hopefully help England to retain the ashes in Australia.

The Australians will be very eager to seek revenge. They were superb in defeat and only just lost the series in England. They will without doubt fear and respect the above two players, and if they do not command control early on in this series, will be under more and more pressure. They are as a team the class act. The English however have possibly the best two players in the world who love to perform on the highest stage. This is why I believe England will retain the ashes in Australia.

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