In The Ashes, the most intriguing battle will be fought in the mind: Harsha Bhogle

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Australia batsman Phil Hughes is out hit wicket, for 86, during day three of their warm up match against Worcestershire at New Road Worcester England Thursday July 4, 2013. The first Test of the 2013 Ashes series starts at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on  Wednesday July 10. (AP) Australia batsman Phil Hughes is out hit wicket, for 86, during day three of their warm up match against Worcestershire at New Road Worcester England Thursday July 4, 2013. The first Test of the 2013 Ashes series starts at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on Wednesday July 10. (AP)
SummaryI will be very interested in seeing whether…well…England can do an Australia, writes Harsha.

have been pro-active. You could argue that changing a coach two weeks before a major campaign isn’t ideal but in truth, they were going nowhere. Lehmann’s appointment comes with another change which might be as significant. Michael Clarke will no longer be a selector, Lehmann will be, and the relationship between the two becomes critical because a captain must get the players he wants and yet has no say in who they will be.

And so just as Australia’s ability to fight hard, to hang in there will be examined, so will England’s ability to play front-runners. Can they be ruthless enough? Will they go for 5-0 if the opportunity presents itself or will they be happy with a series win but a lesser score? Can they trample over Australia and inflict scars that could help them later in the year when another Ashes series comes around? Can they create an aura about them like Australia used to? Seed hopelessness in the opposition ranks maybe?

The essence of all sport lies in the mind of the competitor. It is there that the most fascinating battle will be fought this English summer. Assuming of course that there is a summer.

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