England’s Ashes: A Shambolic Display
I am annoyed. Why am I annoyed? Well, England have just meekly collapsed to their defeat in Hobart, compounding a miserable Ashes series in Australia losing 4-0. England were 68-0 and then in a blink of an eye were all out for 124, capitulating and disintegrating like a wet a tissue. This collapse embodies the problem with English cricket at the moment: all bar captain Joe Root got out in incredibly soft ways that were preventable by just showing a bit of grit and self-respect for their wicket.
However, I do not think it is fully the players fault, the English first class cricket system is a joke. The lack of preparation for the players due to the ECB’s greed and short sightedness in pushing the County Championship to make way for meaningless white ball competitions that still dwarf in standard to the Indian Premier League. Tom Harrison, who seems to wear a suite of Teflon, rewarded himself and others at the top, a bonus adding up to £2.1 billion despite the fact that English red ball cricket is going backwards quicker than Ollie Robinson backing away from a Mitchell Starc bouncer.
The coaching and overall pathway must come into question because especially in the batting department there are not many obvious alternatives. Rory Burns, Zac Crawley, Haseeb Hameed and Ollie Pope in terms of talent are all England’s most capable batsman, however, they all have technical deficiencies that mean they will consistently fail. These players are not challenged by County Cricket or asked the wrong questions on green seamers facing 75mph dibbly dobblers where a good score is 40. The players will incredibly rarely face something like this at international standard unless England start playing matches at Canterbury in early April. The number of bowlers who can bowl above 90mph can be counted on one hand, Jofra Archer, Ollie Stone, Brydon Carse and Mark Wood. Archer and Carse have not come through the English system, and both are now injured along with Stone showing that the English management cannot even look after the talent we’ve got.
Finally, there have been some excuses for the players saying it is far more difficult away from home. However, Bangladesh have just won a test in New Zealand and South Africa, a cricket team in turmoil with Quinton De Kock retiring mid series, have just beaten India. These results show up the ECB’s lack of organisation and the appointment of Chris Silverwood as head coach of the national team as being a monumental error. With the money that the governing body has they should be able to correctly develop and prepare players to play away from home.
Overall English cricket needs a significant turnover in how they play red ball cricket. There is talent there, but they need leadership and guidance to help them improve. Red ball cricket must become more of a priority again or this will only be the first of many embarrassments for the English red ball team in the next decade.
Image Credit: Sky Sports