PAUL HOFFMANN has never been shy about offering his views on any Ashes contest.

Usually, the former Scottish pace bowler, who arrived in Caledonia from Rockhampton in the late 1990s, backs his Aussie comrades to the hilt. But he's no blind patriot. He despaired of some of their displays five or six years ago, but was one of the few observers to forecast they would demolish England in the last Ashes campaign.

So what does he think will happen in the next few weeks? "I'm not sure why England chose Trevor Bayliss as coach. He's a proven coach, but he doesn't quite fit in with the bold, new and exciting Lehmannesque era the ECB so desperately crave," said Hoffmann. "Bayliss is a safe choice and, much like his batting when he was playing for New South Wales in the 1980s and 1990s, he is solid and dependable. But will he be the right choice? It's a tough gig against the Aussies first up. If he loses heavily, which will probably happen, what happens then? My gut instinct would have been to go for Jason Gillespie, a young, ambitious coach who has a great relationship with his players at Yorkshire."

As for some of England's old and new guard, Hoffmann was similarly unenthusiastic. "Stuart Broad is barely above medium pace these days and is an easy wicket when he's batting. James Anderson, as usual, will be dangerous in UK conditions, but is Moeen Ali the best spinner the English have? And, for all the talk of Mark Wood bouncing Shane Watson, I think he will be cannon fodder for the Australian batsmen," said Hoffmann.

"In the big picture, the Aussie pace attack of [Mitchell] Starc, [Mitchell] Johnson and [Josh] Hazlewood will be too much for their opponents. And when [David] Warner clobbers Anderson around the park, will the latter go into his shell as he did in the last Ashes series and the World Cup?"

"I think that Australia hold all the aces. England are still dithering over places and they have a captain who will more than likely fail with the bat, given that the Aussies have a simple, but effective plan for him.

"So it will probably be 4-0, with a draw or a wash-out in the other game."

Oh, come on, Paul, tell us what you really think!