The Ashes 2013: Chris Gayle says Australia have 'hands full'
West Indies batsman Chris Gayle says Australia will have their "hands full" in the summer's Ashes series.
The 33-year-old, who is in the UK ahead of June's ICC Champions Trophy, feels home advantage will count for a lot when the Ashes begins in July.
"We know what Australia are capable of, but at home, England are difficult to beat," Gayle said.
"It's a tough battle. Australia have some quality players, but England are playing the better cricket now."
The first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge begins on 10 July, with a five-match series finishing at The Kia Oval in late August.
"It's going to be a swashbuckling Ashes series, and hopefully it will be as entertaining as usual," Gayle said.
Before then, a busy summer of cricket in England continues with the ICC Champions Trophy, which begins on June 6.
West Indies, who won the tournament the last time it was played in England in 2004, are in a group with India, Pakistan and South Africa and the top two finishers will qualify for the semi-finals. Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka are in the other section.
"So many great teams are coming into battle, eight top teams. It's a tough zone, but we've got to face it," Gayle said.
"Pakistan, South Africa and India is a huge group. You've got to get a good start, and the first game is vital for us.
"It's never going to be easy against the top teams, but it's going to be good, and we can gain a lot of experience from the Champions Trophy we won here nine years ago."
While the 50-over format is something Gayle excels at - he is the highest run-scorer in ICC Champions Trophy history - it is in Twenty20 cricket that he excites spectators most.
In April, while playing in the Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gayle broke several records, including scoring the fastest century in professional cricket - from just 30 balls.
Gayle went on to make 175 not out from 66 balls, and feels his success is all down to preparation and a good work ethic.
The Jamaican said: "I make it look easy because I practice really, really, hard.
"You go the gym and you lift those heavy irons, and then you target every bowler in a net session and smash the ball all over the place.
"Then, when you get to the middle, it just comes naturally. Things happen naturally because you prepare yourself mentally and physically for it.
"Once you conquer that mental aspect of the game, you're unbeatable."