Fletcher denies hunger claims

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Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell & Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff and company reflect on relinquishing the Ashes © Getty Images

Coach Duncan Fletcher dismissed suggestions that England lacked desire in Australia following their 2005 Ashes success.

The tourists, whose 10-wicket defeat at Sydney condemned them to a 5-0 series whitewash, have come in for criticism from some quarters for not matching Australia’s hunger.

But Fletcher insisted his players should not be accused of a lack of a lack of appetite, instead pointing to the number of young players in the side as one of the reasons for their defeat.

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“You look back at that Ashes side - there’s been some big losses, huge losses, and it always takes time to fill those gaps,” he said, referring to the absences of captain Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick and Simon Jones.

“On numerous occasions we competed with Australia but there were just areas where we weren’t consistent enough.

“When you get young guys coming into a side, they’re always inconsistent and that’s what happened.

“We took about two years to build that Ashes-winning side. This winter was probably a winter too early.”

Fletcher rejected the notion that 5-0 was a fair reflection of the difference in quality between the sides, adding: “The game in Adelaide, we were really competitive there and we just let the game slip away for one session.

“If we’d drawn that game, and gone on, anything can happen.

Australia

Duncan Fletcher admitted Australia were the better side throughout © Getty Images

“There’s no doubt about it - Australia played some much better cricket than us.

“We didn’t play to our true ability but, if we did, it still it would’ve been a very, very tough series to win.”

Fletcher admitted mistakes were made over selection, but insisted there is no need to change the process which proved so successful in 2005.

“When we won the Ashes, we made some mistakes,” he said. “You’ve just got to make sure when you go back, you reflect on them and try and not repeat those mistakes again.

“From my point of view, the selection process is fine. It’s been successful.

“It’s the second Test series we’ve lost in 11 or 12 and suddenly it’s wrong in this series?

“I don’t think it has to be changed at this stage but other people feel differently.”

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