Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nielsen encouraged by Pietersen Ashes chat

Tim Nielsen has a few series to worry about before he starts looking at England.

Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, has taken confidence from Kevin Pietersen's early talk about the Ashes following his opening game as England captain. The series doesn't start until next July, but Pietersen said after opening his account against South Africa that "if we play like we played this week, we'll beat Australia".

"I'm pleased that he is thinking about us already," Nielsen said in the Age. "We've got a couple of big series coming up that are taking up most of our thinking at the moment, but we're certainly very aware that in 12 months we'll have an Ashes series on the go, and we're very much looking forward to it."

Australia have a Test campaign against New Zealand in November followed by home-and-away contests against South Africa before they head to England. Nielsen felt England, who lost the 2006-07 Ashes 5-0, had a lot to improve before they could compete with Australia.

"Without wanting to put too much on paper, I reckon it is interesting that he's coming out and saying that already," Nielsen said. "There are obviously some things they need to work on. It was a dead rubber and if they want to win the Ashes, they've got to win two more Tests than they won in this series, against us in England next year."