That is the opinion of former England captain Graham Gooch, who insists there are reasons to be hopeful as Joe Root’s side attempt to defend the urn.
‘I subscribe to the view that we have some very good players,’ Gooch, who captained England between 1988 and 1993, told Sky Sports.
‘We are not lacking in world-class players – [Alastair] Cook, Root, Moeen Ali has done pretty well, Stokes would be if he makes the trip, Bairstow is a player to be feared, Chris Woakes is an absolutely fantastic cricketer.’
England beat South Africa and West Indies over the summer but their performances with the bat did little to suggest they would be capable of defending the Ashes in Australia.
Gooch also raised another concern, however, suggesting leading wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson may struggle to be as effective this winter with the Kookaburra ball.
‘One of our slight worries is if Jimmy is going to be as effective in Australia,’ Gooch said. ‘We love Jimmy, I think his longevity, his robustness, his skills are fantastic.
‘He’s easily the best England bowler. But at 35, with almost five back-to-back Test matches, is he going to be as influential?
‘We’d like to say hopefully but realistically? Unlikely. Hopefully he might get a couple of wickets where he is going to be influential.’