John Buchanan believes his Ashes opponents have improved as a team unit since Andrew Flintoff's injury-enforced absence. Buchanan has been impressed with the way England's players have not sat back and looked to their stars to perform in consecutive Test wins over Pakistan.
"I think what we have seen from them is a gradual build-up in terms of the way they're playing, their teamwork, and responsibility being shared around the team, which I think has been a real plus for them," Buchanan said in The Age. "It hasn't been a case of turning to Freddie Flintoff all the time to take a wicket or turning to [Steve] Harmison or [Kevin] Pietersen to deliver something. They've actually had the ability to share it around ... the likes of Cook, Bell, Panesar and now [Chris] Read's come in."
Buchanan said England would be "very pleased" with their progress, especially with players such as Flintoff due to return before the Ashes in November. "I think we understand the English game and how they want to play it, and they ours," he said. "It really will be a case of keeping your own mind, thoughts and plans clear so that you can actually deliver your skill. That's hopefully one of the things we will gain from our time at the camp."
Buchanan has devised a bush training exercise in Queensland for the team later this month, which will be attended by the entire 25-man contracted squad. "The underlying philosophy is about taking all of us outside our comfort zone and then seeing how we respond to that, individually and collectively," he said. "The means to get there is secretive and that's where it remains." After the camp the players will spend a couple of days at a luxury Sunshine Coast resort as they plan for the Champions Trophy, The Ashes and the World Cup.