Fast bowler praises team's improvement since Ashes loss September 1, 2006

'We're twice as good as last year' - McGrath


Glenn McGrath will return to international duty in Malaysia © Getty Images

Australia are twice the team they were when losing the Ashes last year and are ready to wrest back the urn from England, according to Glenn McGrath. McGrath, who missed the two Tests Australia conceded in 2005, believes the lessons have been learned and the players are well prepared to win the five-match contest starting on November 23.

"I look back on last year's Ashes with a lot of positive memories," he said during the team's camp in Coolum. "You learn the most from the times you get beaten or don't play well. As a whole, the team learnt so much from that Ashes tour.

"We looked at what we needed to improve on and put that in place. Since then, I think we're twice the team we were at the start of the last Ashes."

McGrath looks at the loss as one that has generated considerable interest in world cricket and made for a compelling return bout. "If we'd have won that series convincingly the interest in world cricket - not just Australia-England but the world - would not be to the same extent," he said. "You look at this series coming up and the interest it's generated, it's the biggest thing that's happened in cricket for a long, long time."

McGrath will return to the international arena for the first time since January during the mini-series in Malaysia this month, and he has rejected the idea of retiring after next year's World Cup. "I'm probably more excited for this season than I have been before," McGrath, who has 542 wickets in 119 Tests, said. "I've had a good break and I've been training hard and working on a few things that I wanted to touch up on."