It has been a sorry sight watching you in Australia and although you have escaped from physical bruises unlike in 2013, the embarrassment has been no less. If it was carnage at Brisbane and Perth, it was humiliation at Adelaide after you teased to compete.
Where has the gutsy outfit that competes for neck and crop at home vanished? Where are your senior players? A drab draw at Melbourne on a pitch rated “poor” by the ICC does not make your series any better. You know what would? A win at Sydney. That should be your sole motto when you hit the ground for the final Ashes match of the tour.
It is understandable that a consolation win would do little to salvage your tour. But it is confidence in oneself that matters the most and the Sydney Test is your litmus test – one to prove to yourself that you have the players to churn out a win in Australia.
Coming to Joe Root. Poor little Joe Root. What have you done to him, England? I heard a joke about how a lad from US runs up to Root in a pub in England and asks him how much is 15$ in pounds and Root replies, ‘Sorry boy, I do not know conversion’. Is it really his fault that his 50s aren’t converted to 100s? Haven’t you burdened him a tad too much?
Where are the Cooks, Andersons and Broads? Is it enough that they make an odd double-hundred or pick up a five-for? As senior players shouldn’t they ease the responsibility on Root?
Remember your country’s policy in India a century ago? – “divide et impera” (divide and rule). You separated the Muslims from the Hindus, created internal turmoil and the results are still evidently seen. Why don’t you adopt the same policy for the betterment of your own cricket team?
Why is Root a forlorn figure in the cordon? Give Anderson, Broad and Cook the license to lead and lend advise. Divide the responsibility. Free Root of all the burden in the World. You need the Yorkshire boy to grind out his runs. Watch the others in the Fab Four quartet make runs at will.
You need the Root who reverse scooped Kagiso Rabada in the World T20 in 2016. No, not literally, of course. You would be stupid to play a reverse scoop in a Test match against a Starc or a Cummins. But that kind of confident Joe Root is whom you need now. He is now devastated. Free him up and quick. The runs will eventually come. He is too good a batsman to not make runs.
Two heads are always better than one. Dig together, plot plans and skipper together at Sydney. Think out of the box and catch Australia off guard. Why would you think two spinners would succeed at Sydney? Have you even watched Moeen Ali bowl in the series? Let me tell you, I am a huge fan of Moeen. But Australia isn’t a country where he would succeed with his finger spin. Give the young Mason Crane a go and bring Mark Wood for Moeen Ali, will you? Alas, the squad has been named already, right? They say you got to live with your mistakes.
Tom Curran, Mason Crane and a broken Moeen Ali is a textbook England-in-Sydney banter bowling attack. Anderson and Broad probably going to bowl 100 overs each and never be seen again.
— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) January 3, 2018
You can still make it work, though. Use the young Crane to attack. Give him the license to bowl a bouncer if he wants to. Stop Moeen Ali from attacking. Hold one end up with him and throw Crane to the Aussies. The lad is good. You haven’t quite found your Shane Warne yet but this could be it ten years down the lane.
Do your homework and don’t let Australia get away with another Warner – Smith show. Dismiss these two early and you have a slew of vulnerable middle-order batsmen. Can’t you get past the Marsh brothers? No? Really? Believe.
Watched South Africa – Australia series Down Under in 2016? Zoom in on Keshav Maharaj. Watch how he tied down the Warners and Smiths on his debut series. Take lessons. Implement. Moeen Ali should really watch how Maharaj bowled in Australia. Make him do it.
Where is the swing king James Anderson? Where has your aura vanished? Destroy the Aussies. This Australian batting line-up does not have the daunting feeling of the 2000s. Trust me. And put on your thinking cap. Help out Root and Cook. Lead the bowling attack, set fields, lead the side like you captain it. I am sure Root would be thankful.
A cricket fan from India