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PM: The country is behind you

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David Cameron gave a message of support to the England team ahead of the Ashes

Prime Minister David Cameron has sent a message of support to the England team ahead of the first Ashes Test.

England start their defence of the Ashes in Brisbane tomorrow, and the Prime Minister, talking directly to the team, said: “I want to take this opportunity to wish you, the England cricket team, the very best of luck as you prepare to go into battle Down Under to retain the Ashes.

“Over the past five years you've given this country, and me, some of our greatest sporting memories: the two-run victory at Edgbaston, winning the Ashes at the Oval in 2005, bowling out the Aussies on the final day at the Oval to win the Ashes again in 2009.

“I hope you can now go and do what no England team has done for over two decades - go to Australia and retain the urn. The whole country is behind you.

Kevin Pietersen & David Cameron

Kevin Pietersen, left, and company will head into the first Ashes Test with the wholehearted support of David Cameron, right

“As for me, because of the time difference it's sometimes difficult to watch the action live, but with a new baby in the house who’s up at all hours, it will be much easier.

“So good luck, and I look forward to welcoming you to Downing Street next year with the Ashes safely returned. And as Freddie won't be there, who knows, we might even have a drink!”

Responding to Prime Minister's message of support, Hugh Morris, managing director England Cricket, said: “On behalf of the England cricket team I would like to thank the Prime Minister for taking the time to send us this good luck message.

“We are very grateful for the tremendous support we receive both in the UK and from the thousands of fans who have travelled Down Under to watch the team play.

“Since arriving in Australia the players have worked hard to acclimatise and our preparations have gone well.

“We are very excited about the challenges that lie ahead and are confident in our ability to be the first England team since 1987 to retain the Ashes.”

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