“Of course, there has to be future planning but we are constantly looking far too far ahead. This Ashes has shown us that every Test is really important and it is time English cricket realised that from top to bottom”

 

Watching England collapse again, losing all 10 wickets for 56 runs, is just a reflection of where they have been for the last year, if not longer.

You have to give the batters leeway because the pitches in the last 12 months have done lots. You also have to give the team leeway because of Covid. They must be drained. But it is a mistake to use that as an excuse because our batting problems were there long before Covid.

It is easy to get emotional at the end of the Ashes and find a scapegoat. Captains and coaches do not usually survive. Chris Silverwood looks vulnerable and it would be odd for the same management team to go to the Caribbean as if they have not made any mistakes — there have been so many.

Winning the toss and batting on a green top in Brisbane. Not playing Stuart Broad or James Anderson there. Playing Jack Leach on a green top but not playing him in Adelaide on a spinning wicket. Having one Lions game and not having any players out of the Test side taking part. Bowling Ben Stokes into the ground.

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Joe Root, Silverwood, Graham Thorpe, Paul Collingwood and Ashley Giles are all good blokes. But that might be the issue. Giles was so emotional before this Test because he is a good guy who has tried to look after his players.

But apart from binning off football in warm-ups, where has Giles gone against his team? It is the same with Silverwood and Root. Maybe the players need a kick up the backside, a rollicking, tough love for a while.

“No, you’re not doing that, we’re in charge, and you’re under contract.”

Instead of the arm around the shoulder, some tough questions need to be asked. If you don’t, you may be a good bloke, but you will be out of a job.

The only honesty was from Broad in Sydney, when he said you can pick whatever bowling attack you like if you are constantly 140 all out. That is the brutal honesty you need from coaches. You can make mistakes but be honest. After two Tests, Silverwood said they had not got any team selections wrong. That was a concern because if they believed that, they must have been watching a different game.

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Giles made Silverwood the supremo so they have got no voice from outside of the dressing room. Ed Smith gave them that in his role as the national selector and was sacked because some players did not like him. He was not there to be liked but to give external thoughts. When you are in a bubble, your thinking is insular. We need someone from the outside to come in and say, “Really, on a green top in Brisbane, you are not playing these two?”

Silverwood is probably going to be hung out to dry but Root is as culpable with some decisions: the Brisbane toss and team, the Adelaide team and bowling Stokes into the ground.

Joe does not feel like he is done as captain and you have to factor that in. With most England skippers — me, Michael Vaughan, Michael Atherton — it smacks you between the eyes when you are done. It is good if Joe has the hunger to carry on and he has been incredible with the bat.

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I’m fine with Joe carrying on but I’m not buying it that there is no one else. Someone will surprise you. When I packed it in, Vaughan was not the first name people thought of but he came to be a great captain.

But the last thing I want is to do what we always do after losing the Ashes: sack captain or coach and think it will be fine.

The reset should be from top to bottom in our red-ball game. Do not just look at the squad and coaching staff. The problems lie right through county cricket. The key areas are batting and spin bowling and there is no easy fix apart from getting back to the basics of coaching, when we play first-class cricket, the pitches and possibly the ball.

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Most importantly, whoever is in charge in the Caribbean, they need to focus on winning the next game. Respect every Test team we play. The mindset that the Ashes is all-important annoys me. I’m sick of hearing about the Ashes two years out.

In 2013, Andy Flower made crystal clear to all of his team that they were not going to be talking about the Ashes before it started.

Of course, there has to be future planning but we are constantly looking far too far ahead. This Ashes has shown us that every Test is really important and it is time English cricket realised that from top to bottom.

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Courtesy: Nasser Hussain, former England captain and commentator and this article had been posted at Daily Mail UK.

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