Geoffrey Boycott is synonymous with great Ashes battles gone by, and the Yorkshire legend can’t wait for the latest instalment to get underway at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Boycott famously scored his hundredth first-class hundred in the 1977 Headingley Test against the Australians and declared at the time, ‘It’s magic. I’d have liked to have done it here more than anywhere’.

The opener also played in the remarkable come from behind win in 1981, another fixture on his home ground.

In 38 Ashes Tests, he scored 2,945 runs with 14 fifties and seven hundreds, averaging 47.5.

This time, starting at Edgbaston on August 1, he will be behind the microphone for BBC Test Match Special.

“I look forward to it every time, the commentary, the cricket. I just hope England come out on top,” he said.

“It’s the oldest cricket there’s been at international level, and it’s always the best rivalry. But we’re fairly even.

“There’s not much to choose between the two teams, so it’s difficult to predict.”

Boycott is hoping England can take the feel good factor from the World Cup into the clash with Tim Paine’s side.

He said: “All we have to do is keep the same focus and try and get our top three batsmen to get a few more runs in the Test Matches. If we win the Ashes, we’ve had a magnificent summer.

“I always thought England were going to win the World Cup.

“I thought before the tournament they were the best side and the only way they could lose it would be if they played badly themselves. Well, they did in three round robin games. They were particularly poor at Headingley (Sri Lanka) and against Australia.

“But they are smart. They came good when they had to.

“They are a very, very good side. It was nice to see a tournament where the best team played the best and won.

“I thought they’d win a bit easier than what is was in the final. And I do feel a bit sad for New Zealand because they were my second pick because they play the game in the right spirit.

“They don’t get involved in any sledging or trash talking or drugs or match fixing. They just play cricket. A lot of that stemmed from Brendon McCullum when he was captain.

“The Aussies do a lot of trash talking. But Brendon said, ‘Look, we’re not getting involved. We’ll play our cricket’. That’s good for the game.

“They’re a nation of about 5m people and always punch above their weight. But they’ve always turned out some great cricketers – Martin Crowe, Richard Hadlee, Daniel Vettori and Kane Williamson now. They also turn out good teams.

“I’m sad they didn’t win it, but glad England did because it will be good for our game.”

Boycott, however, has his doubts over whether the World Cup win will inspire a new generation of cricket lovers, insisting the one-off free to air showing of the final on Channel 4 simply has to be replicated.

“I’m not sure it will, particularly, because it’s a question of how many children saw the World Cup final and how many are going to see the next number of one-day games.

“If it’s all on satellite TV – as well as they do it with the camera work and commentary – not so many see it.

“You need a follow up of people seeing it on free to air because not many people can afford paying extra for satellite TV, and that means their children can’t see it.

“And they have to see the England team play. They have to fall in love with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes has to be their hero, Jofra Archer – ‘I want to bowl fast like him’.

“If you don’t see any of them playing, how can they be your hero and how can you fall in love with them? How can you have ambition to play cricket? You will go and do something else that you see. That is the conundrum for the administrators.”

In keeping with that point, Boycott has also urged the administrators to ensure children are taught the basics of red ball cricket as well as white in a bid to protect the future of Test Match cricket.

He added: “The one-day game has changed massively, but life does. It doesn’t make it better or worse than it was. It’s just different.

“But the one-day game now, as good and as interesting and fun as it is, it has affected Test Match cricket.

“There will be a decline in Test cricket, except for England v Australia, which is iconic and traditional and will go on for a long time like the Ryder Cup for example.

“But a lot of the other Test Matches around the world are not supported very well.

“With T20 and one-day cricket, it’s having an impact on Test cricket.

“Unless they can redress that by selling it better to children, then Test Match cricket is in trouble.

“You see kids being taught to hit sixes – almost cricket’s answer to Baseball. Is that wrong? No. But they need to learn both types of batting.”

An image of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Adil Rashid, with the Yorkshire logo and Northern Diamonds logo in the middle

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