MICHAEL VAUGHAN believes Joe Root must “con” his team into thinking they can win The Ashes.
But the ex-England skipper admits Australia will be favourites if Ben Stokes does not make the trip.
The Lions squad will assemble next week ahead of the 70th Ashes series — with Root looking to prepare his side for a tough series opener at The Gabba in Brisbane on November 23.
And 2005 Ashes-winning captain Vaughan feels the 26-year-old may need to tell a few porkies to pump up his underdogs.
BT Sport pundit Vaughan said: “His greatest challenge is going to be to convince the team they can win.
“It may be that he has to lie a bit and con them. Australia are not what they were 20 years ago but they are dangerous.
“You know they will have a bit of magic in them, so can Joe convince his players to play a style of cricket over a period to win?
“He has to make sure they are consistently playing at a level to take the game into days four and five.
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“I don’t see them blowing Australia away in three days and thinking they are going to attack all the time.
“If they think they can continue to throw their hands at the ball they will not win in Australia.”
Root’s vice-captain Stokes will not fly out with the team on October 28 having been suspended following his arrest on suspicion of actual bodily harm last month.
And Vaughan says Root’s captaincy will also involve convincing his squad they can cope without Stokes.
He added: “I am sure in private the Australians have cracked open a few bottles of Penfold.
“If Warner was injured and out of The Ashes you would find the England players celebrating.
“I watch England walk out on the field and when Stokes is in the team they walk out two inches taller. If he is not there in Brisbane you would have to say Australians are clear favourites to win the series.”
- WATCH The Ashes exclusively live on BT Sport with coverage of the first Test from 11pm, Wednesday November 22. BT Sport’s Ashes coverage will reunite Michael Vaughan and Ricky Ponting in the commentary box. They will be joined by Geoffrey Boycott, Adam Gilchrist, Graeme Swann and Damien Fleming.
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