“England Test team had been blunted in 2021 and this is very alarming for the longer format. England should not fall for the crazy-money-making models; rather make a model of their own that would help them grow organically and fly the flag of Test cricket with pride”
54 ducks in a Test calendar year!
The most Test defeats in a calendar equaling one of the worst Test teams in the history of Test cricket – Bangladesh!
An average of 24.13 runs per wicket is the lowest for England in any year when they have played at least 10 Tests, and the second-lowest with an eight-Test cut-off. Not only has 2021 been a terrible year for England’s batters, but it has also been tough for batters in general: the average runs per wicket are the second-lowest, it has been in the last 40 years.
The top 3 of England batting lineup had averaged 21.33 this year in Test cricket, with just one century from 87 innings – Rory Burns’ 132 against New Zealand at Lord’s. The average of 21.33 is easily the lowest among all teams in 2021, and England’s lowest in a year since 1989 when they averaged 18.21 in 33 innings.
England are 3-0 down in the Ashes .. Wednesday just been hammered 5-0 at Sunderland .. Perfect way to end 2021 .. Happy New Year everyone .. Let’s attack 2022 with positivity 🙌🙌
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 30, 2021
The brittle top three meant that when Root came in to bat at number 4 – which he did in 28 out of 29 innings this year – the average score was 35 for 2. (The average at the fall of the second wicket was 35.21.) That is the lowest average score at two down for any team in a year when they have played at least 10 Tests; the next-lowest is 42.15, by West Indies, also in 2021.
In 15 out of 28 innings when he batted at No. 4, England had lost their second wicket before the score had reached 20. In those 15 innings, he averaged 48.13, with two big hundreds against Sri Lanka in Galle – 228, after he came in at 17 for 2, and 186 (5 for 2). When he came in later, his average was over 70, which suggests he would have been even more prolific had England’s top three been more solid.
Gosh, how poor England have been this year and when they were complaining about the pitches back in India, it would have been better if they had accepted, their batting lacked technical and temperamental efficiencies.
Back in 2012, when England landed on the Indian soil as the underdogs, they did not complain but focused on the basics more – something, which paid rich dividends as Alastair Cook and his men left the Indian shores victorious.
— Cricket on BT Sport (@btsportcricket) December 28, 2021
Resolve was the motto of success for Alastair Cook in 2012 and the mantra was the same back in that historic Ashes win in 2010-11. When you start planning your batting by trusting the defence and patience – the rest follows automatically. The perfect example is dashing batter Rohit Sharma, who has been prolific in white clothes this year courtesy of trusting the defence, leaving the ball and patience.
England know such basics better than anyone, but surprisingly, they have failed to execute them throughout the year.
After being shot out for 68on Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – the bubble finally busted and the top and middle order of the English batting lineup – except Root faced the heat of critics and fans.
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) December 28, 2021
Something is not right with England and maybe the whole system needs an overhaul modification.
“If your system is strong and competitive, all the talk about coaching is somewhat peripheral. You’ll have a Darwinian system where the best players come to the top of the pile and I don’t think it’s strong and competitive enough right now. An 18-county system with four competitions is basically too much to fit into too short a space of time,” said Michael Atherton to Sky Sports.
“A shorter, more condensed higher-quality first-class competition would, in the end, allow the best players to come through and they should be able to make the step up to Test cricket.”
“How you get there is not simple, but the fundamentals for Australia came from the fact they have a better first-class system and that’s it really – you can over-complicate things.”
“A lot of the summer is given to white-ball cricket, but there’s still a majority in England who like Test cricket and Ashes cricket above all. There’s anger and frustration that they feel England’s Test team has been marginalized and the County Championship has been hollowed out.”
— Ian Pont 🇬🇧 (@Ponty100mph) December 29, 2021
This is the era of white-ball cricket and people love it – but there always has to have a balance between red and white-ball cricket. Perhaps, England lost the focus on five-day cricket – which is highly regarded as the ultimate accolade back in England, New Zealand and Australia – still today.
For commercial and entertainment interest – emphasizing white-ball cricket is understandable but for that burying red-ball cricket to rest does not suit nations who have given cricket so much and people look up to them when greatness and tradition are concerned.
The batting woes for England in 2021clearly hint to the point of how badly England’s think tank had taken County Cricket less seriously – There has to be planning and some sacrifices along the way to try and help players groom for the long run – for Test cricket.
Although the County Championship program has been reduced from 16 to 14 games in recent years, the bulk of fixtures takes place at either end of the summer, when conditions make it harder for batters to thrive.
By contrast, Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield – contested by six states – comprises 10 matches apiece and a final.
The success of New Zealand in test cricket has been the same when they decided to change the first-class cricket and make it more competitive.
Naseer Hussain said, “These are professional cricketers. It is your game, take ownership of your game. I never walked off, when I was having problems against Courtney Walsh or whoever and said ‘you know what, that was my coach’s fault’.
“I don’t mind you having all these techniques but it is about getting runs. If you’ve got a problem with pitches go and speak to [ECB managing director of men’s cricket] Ashley Giles and tell him the pitches in domestic cricket are not good enough.”
“Look at what New Zealand did, they were going through a similar thing and the one big change they made was in their domestic cricket.”
“They played on better pitches, not flatter pitches, and you can see the results.”
England Test team had been blunted in 2021 and this is very alarming for the longer format. England should not fall for the crazy-money-making models; rather make a model of their own that would help them grow organically and fly the flag of Test cricket with pride.
England had been frustrating…too frustrating – but they will bounce back because they can!
Note: Statistical information taken from ESPNcricinfo