Flower's time is up--CI

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Post by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 8:00 am

well they are screaming in big and bold......stolen my ideas Wink



http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013-14/content/current/story/705075.html

Flower's time is up, England need a fresh approach

it is a simply a question of 'when' not 'if' now. England's defeat in Melbourne - and the manner of it - has rendered Andy Flower's position as coach all-but untenable.

Flower has done a magnificent job. Appointed with the team in disarray - he inherited a side who had just sacked their captain and coach and, in his first game in charge saw the side bowled out for 51 in Jamaica - he instilled a discipline and unity of purpose that saw the team rise to No. 1 in the rankings in all three formats. He was exactly the man required when appointed and has exceeded expectations. Despite recent events, he should still go with his head held high and great pride in what he has achieved.

But all things must pass. All the qualities that once rendered Flower the perfect man for the job - his intensity, his attention to detail and his demanding personality - have now become the reasons he needs to go. England need refreshing. They need to rediscover their joy in playing the game. They need a change.

For that reason, it is highly likely that, sometime over the next few days or weeks - probably in the aftermath of the Sydney Test - Flower will take the decision to resign. He will reflect on what he has seen and come to an honest decision over whether he is the man to inspire a resurgence in this England team. Anyone who has seen them disintegrate over recent weeks can come to only one conclusion.

He will not be sacked. An odd situation has arisen where there is arguably no-one with the authority to do so. Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, has just stepped down and it is asking a great deal of his successor, Paul Downton, to make such a decision on his first week in the job. David Collier, the chief executive, is more suited to overseeing financial matters and long-term planning, while the idea that a non-paid chairman like Giles Clarke could take such a decision is ludicrous.

Despite the current debacle, the ECB will not be without a succession plan. Ashley Giles remains the frontrunner to take control of the England teams in all formats and with a new head coach invariably comes a new back-room team which means the roles of Graham Gooch, the batting coach, and David Saker, the bowling coach, are extremely vulnerable especially after the batting collapses during this tour and the lack of a role for any of England's tall quicks.

Graeme Welch, Giles' right-hand man when he oversaw Warwickshire County Championship success in 2012, will be a strong contender for the bowling role and Paul Collingwood would be a viable candidate for the batting role. Graham Thorpe would, in normal circumstances, be a favourite for the batting position due to his links with England Lions but there is some doubt over his willingness to tour.

There may be questions about Alastair Cook's captaincy, too. Again, it is highly unlikely that Cook will be sacked. Rightly so, too: it is only a year since he led England to victory in India, and a few months since the previous Ashes and a home season that included taking the side to the brink of their first global ODI trophy. However, though he said what he had to after the Melbourne defeat, whether Cook has the appetite for the challenge after this dispiriting reverse remains to be seen.

As his senior spinner wilted and his wicketkeeper flapped like a drowning seal, Cook looked a broken man on the fourth day. Stuart Broad, the captain of the Twenty20 side, and Ian Bell, the Test vice-captain and a particularly impressive leader at domestic level, would be the only viable candidates to replace him.

The selectors need to reflect on their contribution to the current state of disarray, too. To have picked a side with an inadequate reserve wicketkeeper, a lack of reserve opening batsmen, three tall drinks waiters and a reserve spinner who came into the tour with serious doubts over his readiness to return to this level, has been proven to be folly. Several of those errors could have been averted had they simply taken more notice of results in county cricket.

While there will be the inevitable calls for a complete cull from the side, that would prove a mistake. Kevin Pietersen remains, whatever his army of critics say, the prize wicket for every opposition side, while James Anderson showed in Melbourne that he remains a skilful operator. England's early bowling on the fourth morning by Anderson, Broad and Ben Stokes was impressive. They created four chances before lunch but, partly due to Jonny Bairstow's obvious deficiencies with the gloves, two of them went begging. Suffice it to say, Matt Prior had a good game in Melbourne.

However, it's hard to see how changes won't be made for Sydney. Tim Bresnan and Michael Carberry are vulnerable but Monty Panesar, slinging down his left-arm medium pace with a horribly ragged action, was wretched and will almost certainly be replaced by the young legspinner Scott Borthwick. Borthwick is not the finished article but as a fine fielder, a decent batsman and a fresh face, he offers hope for the future. And, in a grim chapter for England cricket, hope is about the best that can be offered.
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Post by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 8:17 am

Aussies reacted lightening fast....and threw out the "bad influence" of their previous coach a few days before the last Ashes.

The Indians were also ruthless and forced sugar-coated larger than life retirement farewell on the past expiry date oldies that were dragging their teams down under the weight of their records and greatness......importantly they got rid of the elements detrimental  to the team.

Eng should have made the cut after the series vs SA......where it was quite clear Flower's considered his nose bigger than team interest...and since then every passing day there have been signs of deterioration.
But that would have been so "un-ECB like" to react fast and proactive and with vision.

Instead they chose to give excuses and benefits of doubts and they probably still are why it was something and someone other than Flower but not Flower responsible...for that amazingly rapid decline.

Until now the disintegration is so complete....ripped to pieces, shredded to ribbons and a complete melt--down that no more excuses can be invented to look away from Flower Cool 

In summary:

--Credit to Aus for fixing =100%
--Credit to Ind for fixing = 50% ( they dragged the oldies for too long)

--Credit to Eng for fixing......well so far running in negative......by making a cut with Flower immediately they can come upto zero
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Post by alfie on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 9:20 am

OK ...I give up. Dobell has Spoken .

Flower must go. Phew - that was easy. All will then be fixed , Gooch goes , Saker goes (rooster to feather duster in three months !) and phoenix England will magically rise from the Ashes...

Best of all I won't have to battle through any more of KP_fan's tortured syntax.  Smile 

I feel better already  cider 

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 9:23 am

Hmm India have to be rank rotten then eh? Beaten at home to Flowers led England even without DRS as contrived by the BCCI.
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Post by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 9:41 am

I think the bowling coach of Eng came out in open....saying things about fast bowlers not being used.
Gives us the impression there is dissent in the dressing room and not all are in agreement with Flower's ways.

Who will they replace Flower with ??
Asa captain if Cook has to be replaced.....Broad would be a long term solution and KP short term
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Post by LivinginItaly on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 10:23 am

maybe a bit of a left field choice but I would try bell as the captain and bat him at number 3.

Cook
root/ taylor / ?
Bell (c)
Pieterson
Root/ taylor / ?
Stokes
Prior
borthwick?
Broad
Finn?
Anderson

With bell at 3, I think there are four positions to fill
1) opener alongside cook.
2) number 5 which partly depends on who is chosen to open. This though to me illustrates england's muddled thinking in that the same players are competing for two very different roles in the team.
3) spinner
4) third seamer (fast bowler)

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Post by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 10:31 am

LivinginItaly wrote:maybe a bit of a left field choice but I would try bell as the captain and bat him at number 3.

Cook
root/ taylor
Bell (c)
Pieterson
Root/ taylor
Stokes
Prior
borthwick
Broad
Finn
Anderson

actually this is not a bad idea...Bell as captain......get some new guys in....I would even rest Anderson and play Rankin now that he has been bropuhgt considering he is an international potential.

and send Flower also back on rest...let Saker or anyone run the catch-practise that coaches should be doing Smile
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Post by guildfordbat on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 11:14 am

KP_fan wrote:...


http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013-14/content/current/story/705075.html

Flower's time is up, England need a fresh approach


... The selectors need to reflect on their contribution to the current state of disarray, too. To have picked a side with an inadequate reserve wicketkeeper, a lack of reserve opening batsmen, three tall drinks waiters and a reserve spinner who came into the tour with serious doubts over his readiness to return to this level, has been proven to be folly. Several of those errors could have been averted had they simply taken more notice of results in county cricket.

...

That unfortunately tallies pretty much with what several of us who follow county cricket reasonably closely were saying when this England squad was first announced. The county game may no longer provide obvious solutions at Test level but it still can flag likely issues.

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Post by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 11:19 am

so did someone notice for example that Tremlett was barely crossing 130kph ???

do they have TV coverage for county matches and speed guns in county games ??
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Post by guildfordbat on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 11:37 am

KP_fan wrote:so did someone notice for example that Tremlett was barely crossing 130kph ???

do they have TV coverage for county matches and speed guns in county games ??

Little tv coverage of county matches. Surrey TV do film most matches and show very brief highlights on their club's website but that's far from great as the filming is from two fixed cameras at either end which often fail to capture key moments in the outfield. Speed guns are certainly not the norm.

As for Tremlett specifically, I return to a recent comment on the Surrey Supporters' Club website (it wasn't from any of the Surrey mafia who frequent this forum):
''Whoever decided to take him to Oz could not have seen him perform for Surrey in 2013.''

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Post by alfie on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 12:12 pm

What I dislike about this sort of thread is the focus on laying blame on Flower & co for making mistakes which are now "obvious"  , given the result...while failing to suggest anything they could have done that would have made a difference.

Had they brought Onions instead of Tremlett , would that have solved the batting problems ?
Had Compton come instead of Ballance , would Trott not have gone home after Brisbane ?
Would the presence of , say , Davies , have resulted in Prior not losing all form ?
Would Swann have bowled better if Tredwell instead of Monty had
been the backup spinner ?
Fill in any other names you like ...

Easy to say "that was wrong" : and I concede some posters were doubtful about certain selections in advance.  But even now I have not seen any realistic ideas that might reasonably be expected to have helped.

When Cook Bell and Pietersen cannot muster a single hundred between them ; Prior falls apart with bat and gloves ;  Anderson is unable to provide a cutting edge with the ball , and Swann cannot even offer a modicum of control ...I reckon you are in trouble whatever you do in terms of fringe player selections.

Not saying there weren't errors made ( perhaps as far back as the NZ tour ?) . Just that you cannot accuse the selectors of sitting on their hands : they did make decisions : about Root , and Compton ...and Finn ; to try and improve the team : and by and large those decisions haven't paid off. But until a month or so ago England were undefeated in 13 Tests...and Australia hadn't won for nearly a year.  Were they to make four or five changes before the trip ? And which of the many other "possibles" nominated here or by the angry fans venting on cricinfo or bbc should have been picked instead ...and would they have done any better ?

Nobody knows. And it is too late now.

That is why I still prefer to look forward.

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Post by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 12:39 pm

When Cook Bell and Pietersen cannot muster a single hundred between them ; Prior falls apart with bat and gloves ;  Anderson is unable to provide a cutting edge with the ball , and Swann cannot even offer a modicum of control ...I reckon you are in trouble whatever you do in terms of fringe player selections.


there are two groups under which management has to be blamed:

(I) not getting optimal out of star players:
that these main players could not perform to potential is because they did not have the right mental make-up...such as complacency, , lack of proper aggressive strategy...and the blame for this to be taken by management.


(II)
blunders in planning like......why bring a Trott with a know mental  injury...what was the contingency plan.

why bring  a tremlett struggling to cross 130kph

why not a reserve opener ???

who is responsible for breaking what was working i.e Root at No6

the combined effects of (I) and (II) means the difference between winning and losing


Last edited by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 12:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 12:43 pm

So what next then alfie?
I think Flower will probably resign after Sydney. Whether his time is up or not.
Don't think Cook will lose the captaincy.
The King of Spain to take over? Probably. He's done a pretty good job at Warks. but might be a bit too loyal to Warks players, so look forward to Chopra, Rankin, Woakes, Rikki Clarke and Keith Barker playing tests in the near future  Wink 
Seriously though, England, as I've said elsewhere need, immediately to fill 3, possibly 4, positions. They need to decide whether to stick with Carberry or bring in a younger opener. They need to decide who will bat at 3 long term (is Root really the man to determine the tempo of the innings from 3?). They need to select a third seamer. Bresnan has done a good job but, if we're going to stick to a 5 man attack for the summer, surely it will be possible to have a look at someone who might not have Bresnan's control, but who might have more wicket-taking potential. Maybe a left-armer like Mills or Topley (or Barker Very Happy ). England may also need to decide on a new 'keeper although, while I'm not totally convinced by Bairstow, I don't think that's as big a problem at the moment as those I've mentioned.
Personally I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I think it's possible to say that England made selection errors and relied too much on the core of their team not losing form but I think that could be put down as much to a lack of depth in England at this moment in time as to selection mistakes. Tremlett or Onions; Ballance or Compton; Monty or Borthwick; would it really have made much difference?
However, if England can keep the core of their team, Cook, Bell, KP, Broad Anderson, and bed in youngsters like Root, Ballance, Stokes,Bairstow? and maybe blood a few more (Robson, Taylor, Borthwick, Mills?) then they'll have a good basis for the future IMO.

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Post by KP_fan on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 1:31 pm

Flower has sent his Loyal agents.....to do his protection and PR

first Cook says " my captaincy is at risk"...when EVERYONE knows it's anything but at risk now.

and then Strauss appears speaking from the script presumably which he still gets..." Flower should not be the scape-goat"

yeah buddy let's dump it on KP like we did after the loss against SA

but there is a saying....you cannot fool all the people all the time
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Post by alfie on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 2:16 pm

Yes Hoggy , that is the sort of plan I have in mind . I agree , by the way , that Flower will probably have had enough , so the King of Spain is likely to have the top job. And if so , this is perhaps the best time to make the switch , with a few months until the next Test rolls around.
I think the priorities are , 1 . The top order ; ie Cook's partner and the number three. 2. The backup bowlers to Broad and Anderson. 3. The keeping position ; Prior isn't that old : who knows , he may bounce back ? Like Haddin...

If Stokes gets a bit of a run at six , there is scope for working on the bowling issue. There are a few possibles around , and I reckon that might not be as hard to fix as some think ; though we are unlikely to see the equal of Swann overnight. The extra bowler - Stokes or someone else - will have to make up for that.

But those batting positions are are bit of a worry. I would actually never have moved Root from six : but everything has changed since that was done , so now he is either two , three , or out. (Or five , with Bell moving up) .Be a pity to lose him , even temporarily ...but I must confess I am not completely comfortable with any of the likely permutations. Seems hard on Carberry to say "not good enough" ; but I do think the best part solution is to instal a new and better opener ...just have to find one  Smile 

At least Giles can have a go at resetting things in peace while the press is all busy in Brazil...

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Post by guildfordbat on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 2:54 pm

alfie wrote:What I dislike about this sort of thread is the focus on laying blame on Flower & co for making mistakes which are now "obvious"  , given the result...while failing to suggest anything they could have done that would have made a difference.

Had they brought Onions instead of Tremlett , would that have solved the batting problems ?
Had Compton come instead of Ballance , would Trott not have gone home after Brisbane ?
Would the presence of , say , Davies , have resulted in Prior not losing all form ?
Would Swann have bowled better if Tredwell instead of Monty had
been the backup spinner ?
Fill in any other names you like ...

Easy to say "that was wrong" : and I concede some posters were doubtful about certain selections in advance.  But even now I have not seen any realistic ideas that might reasonably be expected to have helped.

When Cook Bell and Pietersen cannot muster a single hundred between them ; Prior falls apart with bat and gloves ;  Anderson is unable to provide a cutting edge with the ball , and Swann cannot even offer a modicum of control ...I reckon you are in trouble whatever you do in terms of fringe player selections.

Not saying there weren't errors made ( perhaps as far back as the NZ tour ?) . Just that you cannot accuse the selectors of sitting on their hands : they did make decisions : about Root , and Compton ...and Finn ; to try and improve the team : and by and large those decisions haven't paid off. But until a month or so ago England were undefeated in 13 Tests...and Australia hadn't won for nearly a year.  Were they to make four or five changes before the trip ? And which of the many other "possibles" nominated here or by the angry fans venting on cricinfo or bbc should have been picked instead ...and would they have done any better ?

Nobody knows. And it is too late now.

That is why I still prefer to look forward.

Alfie - if we are to look forward with realistic confidence, we have to try and learn as much as possible from the past.

That includes past successes and failures.

For example and as I mentioned last night, Underwood's undoubted success was significantly aided by having a specialist (rather than a fill in) keeping to him. Any new England spinner (particularly a young and fairly inexperienced one) is going to need all the help he can get and especially from behind the stumps. Thus, if we try, for example, Kerrigan, we need a better and more experienced keeper than Bairstow. If Prior and Davies are out of contention, I would be tempted to go for Read for a year whilst things hopefully settle down. [Imo, Read is a better batsman than Mike recently suggested although I'm admittedly biased as he regularly scores shedloads against Surrey.]

Another lesson from the past - distant or recent - which should be considered before we write Borthwick up as the new Shane Warne: how many successful England leg spinners can anyone name in the last fifty years? I stand to be corrected but believe the answer is ''none''. Perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic but I have some doubts that a part-time leggie for his county is going to be anything more than another Salisbury or Schofield.

Getting bang up to date, the decision to take ''the 3 Talls'' on this tour smacked of doubts and uncertainty. I flagged from outset that I feared we were taking too many on tour and that ''more does not necessarily mean better''. Has Rankin improved on this tour? Impossible to be certain from this distance but I rather doubt it - certainly not anyway from any time on the field. If he was going to tour, it would have been better for him and us (longer term at least) if there hadn't been such a plethora of seam bowling rivals blocking his path. I would have left Tremlett at home (like nearly all Surrey followers) and not picked anyone instead of him. You might say the first Test shows me to have been wrong on Tremlett; well, I would argue that to an extent and in any case I'm simply trying to show what I would have done instead from the beginning.

A lot of the above is not a pop at you, Alfie - honest.  Smile I fully accept and recognise that our major problem has been that our best players (who in the main were rightly selected for and from the first Test) haven't played to anywhere near the level of their best ability. I do feel though that some of the issues from this tour were waiting to happen. Even if they are not considered major ones, I still feel it's potentially helpful to look back so as to try and learn from them rather than wait to repeat them.

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Post by msp83 on Sun 29 Dec 2013, 5:44 pm

Agree with most of what Guildford said in the post above. We can't just shrug the past off and move forward from ground 0 just like that. Past plans and modes of success as well as past mistakes should be factored in while taking decisions in the present for the present and future.
People have expressed reservations regarding Bairstow's keeping, the display in this game convinced me that he needs a lot of work in that department. His batting has been suspect to me for some time now. So I think he should be left alone for at least a season or so and he should work on both aspects of his game. Not too sure about a Read recall at this stage of his career though. Think Prior has it in him to bounce back. The next option for me should be Buttler, he has already moved counties to enhance his keeping abilities.
I am very doubtful about Borthwick really. It will be a big move up from county to test for any player. For a partime county legspinner to all of a sudden become England led spinner might just be asking for far too much. Think the first thing Borthwick needs to do if he's serious about his bowling and the possibilities for the same in international cricket is to move county. But as there is no credible option available at the moment, perhaps they've to look at Borthwick and give him a bit of a run, particularly as Stokes is there to give them some cover.
As for flower, think I have to agree with what Dobell is saying its time for Flower to go.
And as for his successor, I hope its not Giles. Giles has been part of the Flower regime for long, what England need is a clean break from the regime if they are to go in for a change. Giles hasn't done a lot impressive as ODI coach either. If as talented a bowler like Steven Finn is now struggling for confidence, think a bit of accountability has to be with the ODI coach Giles. He used to be their best ODI bowler since 2011, it was under Giles that he began to develop his ongoing confidence issues as pursuing a negative defensive approach, Finn was messed around as England started looking for 'Control' that Tim Bresnan hardly provided in big match situations. I am not too sure Giles has grown out of the county coach mentality either, and jokes about his Warwickshire loyalties do have a bit of seriousness attached to them. Lastly, the way he facilitated the poaching of Boyd Rankin is nothing but disgusting.

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Post by alfie on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 1:40 am

Hi guildford...I know you weren't having a pop at me  Smile 
And I don't violently disagree with you (except about Read : you cannot be serious about recycling him ? Disaster with bat last time , which was years ago ...with an iffy batting order including a yet unproven allrounder at six the keeper absolutely must be a strong batsman)
Who ?  Well Prior is quite young enough to come again. His record up to a few months ago was outstanding ; and a short break may see him recover his form. Bairstow is more a batsman who can keep - though I think he has been rather harshly criticized for an error yesterday of which both Prior and Haddin have also been guilty in the recent past. And probably most other keepers at times...But he will have to make serious runs to justify a license to learn on the job.
I have plenty of reservations re Borthwick.  As you said , English leggies as a species have apparently been extinct ...since Doug Wright , which is well over half a century ... But there was a time "Indian Pace Bowler" was a mythical beast : that one changed - why not the other ?
Don't think anyone is seeing him as an English Warne. Just that with Swann gone and Monty really not offering anything outside Asia someone has to fill the spinner's role , even if only in the style of a "new Giles"...and a player who can bat pretty well and field is halfway there ; so probably worth giving a bit of a trial ?  Not going to instal a spin specialist W/K just for the occasion though  Smile 

You are very annoyed about the fast bowler selection , aren't you ? Can see why...One it hasn't worked , Two the tour selectors have been seemingly unwilling to experiment , Three...well three was overkill... And you did say repeatedly that Tremlett wasn't looking up to it.
However I am not sure it is such a big deal in terms of what has happened here. Tremlett wasn't bad in Brisbane...just not good enough. No evidence that Finn (who has clearly lost his way , his former pace , and his confidence - hope he can get it back ) Rankin (who is hardly one for the future anyway ) or anyone else would have done better.  I would have risked Finn in Adelaide - actually I would have risked him in Brisbane - but they were bluffed by Aussie pitch propaganda into selecting two spinners...doomed from the start.  For the record I would not have brought Rankin , would have had him with the performance squad.  But I cannot see that "decisive" action would have had any impact on the way the tour has gone  Smile 

Look when you lose four Tests anything or anyone is fair game for critics ...and impossible for those criticized to rebut ; at least in the short term.  But a lot of the criticism tends to be overdone : I see Cook called on one site "The worst Test Captain ever" . The comment loses any credibility when the complainant adds that the only one nearly as bad is Graeme Smith  picard   But even idiots are allowed to air opinions ...(none of those on here , thank heavens !)
You said something about things hopefully settling down ?  My wish too ...and I think we would all do well to avoid rushing to judgement. Of the 14 players who were whitewashed in 2006/7 , nine contributed to recovery of the Ashes just two years later...and six went on to be part of the 3-1 triumph in Australia...

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Post by George Hotel1895 on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 2:12 am

Flower has to go as coach and Cook has to be replaced as captain. England were beaten by an average Australian team. No excuses for Flower and Cook in my book.

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Post by Pal Joey on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 2:29 am

I guess so, George.

Prior to the tour to this big Broad land, the Bell was ringing and we could all see that the Aussies wouldn't be Tremllet'ing in their Roots and it was only a choice of either Carberry or KP sauce to go with the roast Swann (shark's Finn was off the menu by that time) and it was obvious that a better Flower arrangement was required. Question remains though - who Stoke'd the Ashes this time round given that Jimmy's Rankin has slipped and Bresnan had Trott'd off?

I certainly wouldn't be blaming Bairstow... although perhaps they should have made the Kieswetter before entering Davies' locker.
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Post by alfie on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 2:38 am

You didn't have a Monty reference in there , lb  Smile 

Only giving that a five , sorry...

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Post by Pal Joey on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 2:49 am

You are so harsh, mate!  Smile 

Monty has hardly made a Splash so far. For the Saker the argument though - I thought this was Downton 2 obvious reasons: they made a Hugh mistake of not Collier'ing Johnson in Brisbane when they had the chance and Giles Clarke admitted it was always going to be a difficult Ballanc'ing act to Welch on Swanny... and opt for Borthwick instead.

It's all easy to say in hindsight of course I'm Sore you'll agree?
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Post by alfie on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 3:05 am

I think you have been celebrating too hard mate  Smile 

But marks for trying  clap 

When we win them back in 2015 I might get pickled enough to respond in kind...

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Post by Pal Joey on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 3:11 am

Actually, I haven't celebrated at all really. True.  Smile 

So what makes you so confident of 2015 already? Does England have a secret weapon we don't know about?

I wish you all the luck with trying to put one together using the Australian names.
You'll be hard pressed to reach "29"  Whistle although I may be unaware of Watson your mind, tbh.
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Post by KP_fan on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 3:47 am

Flower not ready to jump...would have to be pushed.

Bairstow dropped...means Prior back.......his exile lasted all of one game......and what has Prior done to earn a recall so quickly

His own assesment...he is doing fine and nobody should be distraught.......as Eng has simply been outplayed

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/england-coach-andy-flower-says-hes-up-for-fight-20131230-302aq.html#ixzz2ovUwqdBN

England coach Andy Flower says he wants to continue to contribute to English cricket and will meet with his boss later this week to discuss his future.
Flower's side have been thrashed by Australia in the opening four Tests of the Ashes series with the final match to be played in Sydney starting on Friday.
After taking over in 2009, former Zimbabwe Test batsman Flower has guided England to the top ranking in all forms of the game.
However he admits this Aussie tour has been a very challenging time.
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"The guys are fighting. Not fighting well enough," Flower told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.
"Our batting over the four Tests has generally let us down.
"Certainly I examine my role in the tour. I ask myself tough questions.
"Paul Downton the new managing director has arrived in Australia and I'll be meeting with him in Sydney.
"We'll talk about the leadership of the national team with regards to the coaching position.
"I'm very motivated to contribute to English cricket and that's what I'm going to do."
Flower also backed skipper Alastair Cook, who has failed to leave a mark on Australia with the bat, been criticised for his bowling changes and dropped two catches on Sunday's fourth day of the Melbourne Test.
"Alastair Cook has captained six Test series for England and this is the first series loss that he's had," Flower said.
"We are all responsible for this result, the management staff as well as the players.
"We don't want people to accept losses too easily. But equally sometimes you have to accept the fact you've been outplayed.
"I don't believe we should be totally distraught about where we are.
"Now we're faced with one chance in Sydney to redeem ourselves to a small extent."
Flower said he expected England would make one or perhaps two changes for Sydney.
Jonny Bairstow could be one of those changes after a poor match in Melbourne.
"He's a young man who's played 13 Test matches," Flower said.
"He's still learning as a wicketkeeper/batsman and I hope when he gets another chance he'll do oustandingly well.
"I would imagine there will be one or two changes for the Sydney Test."


Last edited by KP_fan on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 3:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by alfie on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 3:50 am

I will pay the Watson one  OK 

No special reason to assume 2015 victory...but as a general rule I fancy the home team's chances every time , unless one side is massively superior. Will be a few differences on each side then in any case , and I can't even guess what the lineups will look like yet. But even without any "secret weapon" I expect England to have the bowlers to keep Australia under pressure in their own back yard , and I do not think Johnson will be nearly as effective in England : he is bowling brilliantly now , but another year or two may well take the edge off his pace - he is 32 already. And he won't get the bounce. So I think England will be much more competitive with the bat (couldn't be any less !)
Anyway I am never going to concede you fellows anything in advance ... still holding out for 1-4 after Sydney  Very Happy 

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Post by KP_fan on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 3:53 am

meanwhile Aus likely to bring Doolan for Watson and Faulkner for Harris
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Post by Pal Joey on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 4:13 am

Those would be good moves I'd say.
Alex Doolan has been on the cusp of a Test spot for a while and Faulkner must be raring to have a go. Wouldn't mind seeing Coulter-Nile but definitely not Bollinger as has been mooted (just read he's been released. Phew!). Smith/Warner/Clarke can assist Lyon with some spin at some stage. I've read somewhere that O'Keefe deserves a crack given his Shield form... but that's just some deluded NSW fans talking. No way!
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Post by alfie on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 4:23 am

Those moves make sense to me. Bowling ends up a bit lighter , whichcould cause a problem if England get set with the bat for once : but on current form I think I'd chance it  Smile 
And it saves turning the order around to sort out the number three slot.

The O'Keefe talk is just to con England into picking two spinners again...will probably succeed  Crying or Very sad 

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Post by Pal Joey on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 4:27 am

It will be strange not seeing Swanny "coming in from the Paddington End"
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Post by guildfordbat on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 12:14 pm

alfie wrote:Hi guildford...I know you weren't having a pop at me  Smile 
And I don't violently disagree with you (except about Read : you cannot be serious about recycling him ? Disaster with bat last time , which was years ago ...with an iffy batting order including a yet unproven allrounder at six the keeper absolutely must be a strong batsman)
Who ?  Well Prior is quite young enough to come again. His record up to a few months ago was outstanding ; and a short break may see him recover his form. Bairstow is more a batsman who can keep - though I think he has been rather harshly criticized for an error yesterday of which both Prior and Haddin have also been guilty in the recent past. And probably most other keepers at times...But he will have to make serious runs to justify a license to learn on the job.
I have plenty of reservations re Borthwick.  As you said , English leggies as a species have apparently been extinct ...since Doug Wright , which is well over half a century ... But there was a time "Indian Pace Bowler" was a mythical beast : that one changed - why not the other ?
Don't think anyone is seeing him as an English Warne. Just that with Swann gone and Monty really not offering anything outside Asia someone has to fill the spinner's role , even if only in the style of a "new Giles"...and a player who can bat pretty well and field is halfway there ; so probably worth giving a bit of a trial ?  Not going to instal a spin specialist W/K just for the occasion though  Smile 

You are very annoyed about the fast bowler selection , aren't you ? Can see why...One it hasn't worked , Two the tour selectors have been seemingly unwilling to experiment , Three...well three was overkill... And you did say repeatedly that Tremlett wasn't looking up to it.
However I am not sure it is such a big deal in terms of what has happened here. Tremlett wasn't bad in Brisbane...just not good enough. No evidence that Finn (who has clearly lost his way , his former pace , and his confidence - hope he can get it back ) Rankin (who is hardly one for the future anyway ) or anyone else would have done better.  I would have risked Finn in Adelaide - actually I would have risked him in Brisbane - but they were bluffed by Aussie pitch propaganda into selecting two spinners...doomed from the start.  For the record I would not have brought Rankin , would have had him with the performance squad.  But I cannot see that "decisive" action would have had any impact on the way the tour has gone  Smile 

Look when you lose four Tests anything or anyone is fair game for critics ...and impossible for those criticized to rebut ; at least in the short term.  But a lot of the criticism tends to be overdone : I see Cook called on one site "The worst Test Captain ever" . The comment loses any credibility when the complainant adds that the only one nearly as bad is Graeme Smith  picard   But even idiots are allowed to air opinions ...(none of those on here , thank heavens !)
You said something about things hopefully settling down ?  My wish too ...and I think we would all do well to avoid rushing to judgement. Of the 14 players who were whitewashed in 2006/7 , nine contributed to recovery of the Ashes just two years later...and six went on to be part of the 3-1 triumph in Australia...

Alfie - thanks for your characteristically considered and thoughtful response.

I'm not claiming any of my comments are ''such a big deal in terms of what has happened here'' but do feel at least some of them merit going in the mix when we review this series and plan for the next.

Let me clarify my view on the wicket keeper position. Prior has been a very fine England keeper for some time and kept well in the first two Tests (not as good as Haddin but certainly good enough) and I said so then. He had a shocker in the third Test and, allied to his continuing poor form with the bat, appeared mentally shot after that. If he can get back to his best (or near best), he would straightaway be back in my Test side. However, if he doesn't, we have to consider what to do - that's what I was trying to get at if he and my first reserve, Davies, are ''out of contention''.

I don't believe a Test match is the arena to learn the wicket keeping role, as shown by Bairstow in the fourth Test. That thinking also rules Buttler out behind the stumps for the time being at least. As Mike recently asked - ''who else is there?'' Well, the best two I've seen 'live' over the last couple of years are Foster and Read. Both over 30 having played Test cricket - ''mature with vital experience'' or ''failed has beens''? Take your pick. My - perhaps optimistic - take would be the former. I appreciate that you and the equally thoughtful msp are elsewhere. If we are blooding some new players elsewhere in the team, I do feel experience behind the stumps is very important. Read is clearly not one for the future but he wouldn't let anyone down for, say. a year whilst hopefully someone (Buttler?) comes through with a genuine claim and a much better one than ''Prior is knackered, so chuck a youngster in''. Where I do disagree with you, Alfie (and Mike from an earlier post), is about Read's batting. He has a first class batting average above 36 with 21 centuries to his name. From watching, he also bats with thoughts for nothing but the team as demanded by the situation. Digging in to get his side out of trouble or being prepared to sacrifice his wicket in a quest for quick runs. [Shame there are no Notts followers here, I believe.]

If ''a restored to form and fitness'' Prior (or Davies), are available, forget the above. But if neither are, I stand by my comments.

As regards the decline of Engand leggies, one increasing factor is the County Champonship calendar. A large and disproportionate amount of CC cricket is now played in April and May when conditions are far from ideal for the leggie. I suspect that has been a factor in Borthwick concentrating more on his batting over the last season or so.

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Post by KP_fan on Mon 30 Dec 2013, 12:42 pm

and in addtion to Prior back as one change I belivee Borthswick is the otehr change Flower has hinted at
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Post by alfie on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 3:47 am

Thanks for that elaboration , guildford.

I get what you say about Read at County level.  But memories of his (2) goes as a Test player don't fill me with confidence...no question he is a good keeper , but I am just uncomfortable with any option that is unlikely to strengthen the late middle batting. With added maturity , Read's third coming might , as you say , be a viable stopgap...but I remain a bit sceptical , I'm afraid.
I am actually expecting Prior to rebound in the summer anyway - surely a man cannot just lose his skills overnight the way he has seemed to ? I am hoping it is an unhappy coincidence of a few low scores  > a loss of confidence > more low scores...and a short break & work in nets will fix it. ( Not sure about recalling him for Sydney though ? Nothing much has changed in a week , you would think.)
If he doesn't get it back , I guess anything is possible...

I take your point about leg spinners. Which is actually why I would like to see Borthwick in the England set up : he will get more chance to bowl in better conditions on senior ( or performance squad ) tours than he will with his county. Plus better spin coaching ?  May not go anywhere ; but perhaps worth an extended trial.

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Post by Dorothy_Mantooth on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 8:08 am

KP_fan wrote:and in addtion to Prior back as one change I belivee Borthswick is the otehr change Flower has hinted at

No doubt the top six, which is by an large responsible for the 4-0 thrashing will remain untouched.

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Post by KP_fan on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 8:37 am

Dorothy_Mantooth wrote:
KP_fan wrote:and in addtion to Prior back as one change I belivee Borthswick is the otehr change Flower has hinted at

No doubt the top six, which is by an large responsible for the 4-0 thrashing will remain untouched.

they will remain untouched because for the last test...most people can see that there are two groups under which management has to be blamed:

(I) not getting optimal out of star players:
that these main players could not perform to potential is because they did not have the right mental make-up...such as complacency, , lack of proper aggressive strategy...and the blame for this to be taken by management.


(II)
blunders in planning like......why bring a Trott with a know mental injury...what was the contingency plan.

why bring a tremlett struggling to cross 130kph

why not a reserve opener ???

who is responsible for breaking what was working i.e Root at No6

the combined effects of (I) and (II) means the difference between winning and losing
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Post by guildfordbat on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 11:52 am

alfie wrote:Thanks for that elaboration , guildford.

I get what you say about Read at County level.  But memories of his (2) goes as a Test player don't fill me with confidence...no question he is a good keeper , but I am just uncomfortable with any option that is unlikely to strengthen the late middle batting. With added maturity , Read's third coming might , as you say , be a viable stopgap...but I remain a bit sceptical , I'm afraid.
I am actually expecting Prior to rebound in the summer anyway - surely a man cannot just lose his skills overnight the way he has seemed to ? I am hoping it is an unhappy coincidence of a few low scores  > a loss of confidence > more low scores...and a short break & work in nets will fix it. ( Not sure about recalling him for Sydney though ? Nothing much has changed in a week , you would think.)
If he doesn't get it back , I guess anything is possible...

I take your point about leg spinners. Which is actually why I would like to see Borthwick in the England set up : he will get more chance to bowl in better conditions on senior ( or performance squad ) tours than he will with his county. Plus better spin coaching ?  May not go anywhere ; but perhaps worth an extended trial.

Cheers, Alfie.

I don't think you need be too worried about Read as it's exceptionally unlikely he will be called up. It's a genuine suggestion although not one I think will go anywhere (mind you, I was a bit surprised to see Tredwell called into the squad after my recent post suggesting him as a stop-gap spinner - admittedly, that's not so left-field as Read!  Wink )

I certainly hope Prior rebounds in the summer. Like you, I struggle though to see how things have changed in a week and would consider it bizarre for him to be recalled now. Also, what sort of message would it give to Bairstow from the selectors? As KP_fan might post, ''As you know, we dropped Prior because he was shocking at Perth. He's no better now but you were even worse at Melbourne as everyone told us you would be and so he's back again for Sydney. Trust you'll be as enthusiastic as ever in bringing out the drinks!''

As for Borthwick entering the England set up as you desire, I'm just not convinced he's that good as a leggie to start with. Delighted if I'm proved wrong but doubt that Durham (or Borthwick) will be too happy if I'm proved right and that he should have been concentrating on his batting.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 12:02 pm

Couldnt the same be said of Stokes though? He isnt a good enough bowler as a front 4 option, but he gets a free pass on that on the grounds he once scored a century and is now the next ian bothamtoff.
There has to be a concern about starting a young leggy as the sole spinner, but then its in a 5 man attack ( presemably) with Root offering some alternative. Theres always the chance they will play two spinners.

Either way its shuffling deckchairs. We could put out Balance, Finn and Borthwick but will that worry or trouble Australia? I doubt it.


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Post by guildfordbat on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 12:52 pm

Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:Couldnt the same be said of Stokes though? He isnt a good enough bowler as a front 4 option, but he gets a free pass on that on the grounds he once scored a century and is now the next ian bothamtoff.
There has to be a concern about starting a young leggy as the sole spinner, but then its in a 5 man attack ( presemably) with Root offering some alternative. Theres always the chance they will play two spinners.

Either way its shuffling deckchairs. We could put out Balance, Finn and Borthwick but will that worry or trouble Australia? I doubt it.


Peter - as usual, take your sharpened point although the difference for me is that there's some definite possibility with Stokes. Do agree that we need to be careful about writing Stokes up too much and too soon.

I don't have much time for Root's bowling. Believe he's bowled too much already in this series. Yet again, I'll emphasise that you should normally have Test class bowlers bowling at Test class batsmen. Root isn't county standard.

As regards the final Test of this tour, yes - it's difficult to view selection as anything but a deckchairs scenario.

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Post by KP_fan on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 3:02 pm

A very happy new year to all  Ale RedWine 
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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 3:03 pm

Has your account been hacked by Swann?

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Post by Mike Selig on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 8:11 pm

Hello all, and apologies for my recent absence which is, as I explained briefly on the match thread, due to staying at the grandparents (who are lovely, and spoil me even more than grandparents should, but whose internet connection is known to be somewhat limited; plus, we seem to spend most of the time eating, and it would be rude of me to sit at the table with my laptop) over Christmas.

This thread seems to have evolved from a discussion about the typically over the top sensationalist but with the occasional good point article from Dobbell, to an interesting and measured discussion about what England do next.

The strong suggestion from Flower at the moment is that he doesn't want to quit now (had England won the series, I believe he may have). If he has recaptured some of his previous enthusiasm and can bring some new ideas to the table, then I believe he should be kept on.

Where I agree with part of KPF's message (although I take great exception to the style of delivery) is that England's tactics over the last 2 years have become too rigid, predictable, tired even and there has been some almost complacency in the thought process - "this is how we do things, and we're not going to change now". This can often happen when the same group of players and coaches have been around for a while. If as a result of this tour, England reevaluate where they are, take on some fresh ideas and revitalise their way of playing, then something good will have come from it. If Flower feels he can manage this, then I would back him - I believe he is one of the top coaches around still (if not the best; I am interested in the relatively high esteem Gary Kirsten is held in, but it is easier to be "guru Gary" when you stay on for a short period of time and don't face the tiredness that creeps in).

With that in mind you have to look at other possible changes. Quite possibly Gooch is too rigid, and although he has achieved some great results with the likes of Cook, Trott and Pietersen in the past, he may have become too fixed in his ways (as he was when captain) in which case he needs replacing. I am not sure Ashley Giles is as good as he is rated by some, and given that England look to the ODI side for a feeder for the test side, he should take some of the blame for the possible replacements not being up to scratch (more on that later). David Saker has done a good job overall, and the rumour is he is prepared to look at changing methods, so he should probably stay on.

Changes to the team? Well, I think Andy Strauss got it spot on when he was urging people to resist "changes for changes sake". I talked about this a bit after the 3rd test: for me, you make a change if you genuinely believe that the player you are bringing in is going to contribute more than the player he is replacing. The thing is that by and large I still believe the players playing are the best available. I know the top 6 has failed collectively, but do we really think Compton would do better than Root, Ballance than Pietersen or Bopara than Bell? Surely not. Talks of Pietersen being dropped are stupid: the guy, for all his faults, remains the best English batsman, has 2 fifties and 2 forties in this series alone which is a damn sight better than a lot of players. Dropping him as "punishment" for his apparently poor dismissals (more on that later) would be a perfect example of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Looking on then, it is clear that England need to find their 2nd opener, number 3, spinner, 3rd seamer and possibly keeper.

I don't think Carberry is good enough unfortunately. I disagree radically with kingraf's assessment that if you can score 30 you can score 100. For me, Carberry's struggles are indicative of the step-up in takes, and he falls short: in county matches, once you get through the opening bowlers the change-bowlers come on, the pitch flattens, the intensity often drops and you can then cash in. What Carberry has found in this series is that in international cricket you don't often get those free runs - the change bowlers are just as relentless, the field drops back so it can get tougher to score, and any loss in concentration is more often than not fatal. The increased concentration, stamina, and ability to take on the bowling with an older ball and more set back field is what is needed to make that 30 into the big score, and Carberry has failed repeatedly. Harsh, but he is playing I think as well as he can, and simply not damaging the opposition enough - if anything, his slow scoring lets the Australians back into the game and in control.

I feel therefore it is time to look elsewhere, and I would go with Robson. He is a bit more proactive than Carberry (although not also known for quick scoring) and I think has something about him.

At number 3, I personally don't think Root is a number 3. He seems to me still to be perfectly suited to the number 5 or 6 slot where his natural nurdly game comes to the fore, and he is equipped to deal with the 2nd new ball. In the short term I would move Pietersen up to 3, and Bell to 4. KP is England's best batsman and from number 3 he could really control the game, a la Ponting; Bell is technically able to bat anywhere. Unideally this leaves Root at 5 and Stokes at 6 so 2 relative newcomers next to each other.

Stokes has shown enough to be allowed a run at number 6. He has technically improved beyond sight on this tour alone, now he needs to learn how to knuckle down and grind things out when they're not going his way. I think in all the disarray, he has been somewhat praised out of proportion (he has done statistically ok, but nothing special really) but there is no doubt he is a talented young player (also a brilliant fielder which has been somewhat overlooked).

3rd seamer should be Finn, to prepare him for taking on the attack leader role when Anderson goes. Or if not Finn, then another young bowler who could lead the attack. Bresnan has been criticised a lot on here, and received very little credit particularly from msp for his good performances, but there is no doubt he is limited, and with Stokes in the team for the forseeable future there is room to groom someone in the 3rd seamer role. Meaker would be another option once he gets his fitness sorted out, or even James Harris who has a lot going for him. Mills is one I wouldn't consider - more likely to be another Saj Mahmood than Brett Lee; pace isn't everything, despite what some have been saying.

Spinner and keeper are IMO the 2 big problem slots (now who would have predicted that at the start of the tour). I like Bairstow's attitude, but at the moment he is neither ready with bat or gloves. His keeping could improve - it is no worse than Jones's or Prior's were when they started - and he has been overly lambasted for his miss early on day 4 (it was a poor miss, but something that can happen particularly with a new keeper-first slip relationship - not always clear who should go for what; reading some comments you'd think he'd dropped the dolliest of dollies 4 times inside 5 minutes... it was a miss, and a bad one, but he grabbed an excellent catch standing up to Panesar, and a couple of excellent takes down the leg-side). His batting for me is a bit more of a problem; his technique has several clear flaws which he has to go away and work on, and a bit like Hughes, I'm not sure he can necessarily overcome them. International cricket is not the place to learn your trade, so for me there is no point in giving him the gloves this summer.

I would have thought England view Buttler as the heir to Prior (hence him being strongly encouraged to move from Somerset), and he showed in the last few ODIs against Australia he is much better than just a slogger. He is however far from the finished product, and I doubt ready for test cricket just yet - like Bairstow he is particularly vulnerable to the ball coming back into him. Ben Foakes is another to look out for long term (he looks a cracking young batsman, not sure about his keeping), or John Simpson as a dark horse (good character and technique, decent keeper too).

In the short term though what do you do? It is a measure of how grave the situation is that guildford's call of Read as a stop-gap doesn't seem the worse. I maintain his batting is someway short of what you would want from your number 7 in test cricket (whilst his county record is admirable, and his character excellent, he hasn't to my eye improved noticeably since his last go in test cricket when he seemed unable to deal with any kind of pace, or quality spin; perhaps he has matured and figured out his game a bit, and the options are so bare that experience, any experience, could be valuable). Really, England could do worse than simply sticking with Prior again starting of next summer and hoping; that would be my preferred option.

Davies would be another option, but England don't seem to want to turn to him; the initial appraisal was that he wasn't mentally tough enough, and didn't drive the team in the way they wanted the keeper to - very harsh IMO, but I can't see how that's changed.

Foster would be an option a bit like Read. Marginally better batsman IMO (for internationals) but doesn't have the same experience.

Finally onto the spinner. England have a real problem. In all the other stuff which has gone on, it seems to have been ignored just how poorly Panesar has bowled on this tour (and the previous tour to NZ in all honesty) - he was spared a lot of criticism after Adelaide on the basis of being marginally better than Swann, and has been spared criticism here because underused. However in the latest innings he was terrible - line and length all over the place, no noticeable plan, not getting his fingers around the ball, no bite; just put the ball there, and rarely was "there" the right place to put it. Added to that is his dreadful fielding, and the fact he doesn't bring anything with the bat, and... Tredwell may be the better option in the short term. Another stop gap option would be Ollie Rayner - good bat and slip fielder, and solid bowler.

In the long term England need to decide who to invest in. They seem to like Borthwick, in which case he should move counties probably. I'm not convinced, but the lad did have something special the first time I saw him. The one thing I wouldn't do is pick Borthwick at Sydney - just think the risk of him getting tonked and it doing lasting damage outweighs any possible benefits.

Aside from Borthwick who are the young spinners? Kerrigan? ...

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Post by msp83 on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 8:55 pm

Interesting post as always, Mike.
Before we come to the other points, on the Bresnan one. Think I did give Bresnan credit for keeping a good economy rate in the first innings of the 4th test. I am afraid that's all I can do as he didn't do much of credit otherwise, His batting is often touted as a signiificnt factor in him getting that 3rd seamer role, but he brought nothing in that department in this series. His first spell at Perth after Australia lost a couple of wicket was awful and there was nothing economical there, nothing whatsoever. After a few more wickets fell, he eventually brought things under control and offered one good spell of tight bowling, but that's about it. Not really creditable in my view. As I mentioned on another thread, Bresnan's economy rate is not even as good as that of Shane Watson's. Monty P and many other contemporaries of his across the world have better economy rate, so I am not taken in so much by the theory of his economy rate being a match-winning factor and his sureshot pass to the 3rd seamer role.
I do agree with you on Root, He's the most tragic story of being messed around by the England management in recent times, even more so than that of Steven Finn. I would though, will have Bell at 3 and Pietersen at 4, said that, I find the idea of KP at 3 exciting but don't see England going that way really. And the idea of Bell at 4 somehow doesn't appeal to me. Bairstow's keeping and batting both need a lot of work, and I agree its the latter the more problematic area, and like you, I have my doubts whether he'll be able to come through eventually. Don't think there is much point in going back to Read, particularly when the batting has been struggling for the last couple of years or so, and Foster is more or less in a same position. Think they should give Prior another opportunity to bounce back, and I won't be surprised at all if he does. But if it somehow doesn't happen, they should invest in Buttler in my view.

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Post by alfie on Wed 01 Jan 2014, 3:53 am

guildford , PSW, mike , msp ...and everyone else contributing to this thread...appreciation for some very thoughtful discussion - and a Happy New Year .   Ale 
(My keyboard just tried to turn that into a Happy New Tear , which seemed not inappropriate for an England fan  Smile  , but I am looking resolutely forward)

Seems everyone is more or less agreed on the need for a recast 2 & 3 in the batting order , spinner , one paceman ...and getting the w/k right.
The last seems to me the easiest in a way. If Prior gets his form back in the summer ( I wouldn't rush him back for Sydney) ; no problem. If he doesn't , then try either one of the young pretenders , or the experienced stopgap (OK , Read , guildford !) and see how it all settles down. Contrary to popular belief , a team can improve even with a moderate keeper : having a really good one is essential to reaching the top , yes ; but if other aspects of the team are in place you often find either your current keeper improves on the job or a new/recycled one arrives at the right time. England won that great Ashes series in 2005 with Jones ...and started climbing back again in 2008/9 while Prior was still on L plates...
Right now no single option looks clear , and Prior is quite young enough , so I would hope he will return.

I would make a distinction between planning next year and this last Test , by the way : first priority now should be winning in Sydney , however unlikely that seems. So no wild punts...keep your key players in place ( move the batting order around : Bell or KP must surely bat three) , ask your main bowlers for one more big effort ; either Borthwick or Tredwell for Panesar , I think...the fact that Cook didn't trust him with the ball on Sunday surely says no point in persisting with him ? I do share Mike's concerns about exposing Borthwick to a potential battering , but his batting might be both handy and give him another way in which he might ease into Test cricket...on balance I might take the risk. If England were disposed to play Finn instead of Bresnan he might also be seen as necessary to shorten the tail...
I think I would leave Carberry in for Sydney. With the different player at three , of course.  I know a lot of people want Ballance to be tried ; but that seems more a project for the summer to me. And I would much rather see Root back at five than opening again.  
It may seem harsh on Carberry , who has tried his socks off ; but I concur with Mike - his inability to convert starts tells us more about his limitations than his lack of Test experience. And that , with his age - and the urgency given other batting problems around - suggests he will struggle to hold a place in June.  But hey : if he proves us wrong in Sydney... Otherwise this Robson may be a good call.  I haven't seen him so no idea.  But it seems a lot of good judges like him. Do not see them going back to Compton now. ( Only useless speculation now ; but I wonder if things might have gone better for England had Compton stayed where he was , with Root down at six , for the home Ashes ? Can see why they made the change , but it cannot be said to have done much good so far for any of those affected - Compton of course , Root , Bairstow )
If Robson or whoever could make a go of opening , Root would be playing for his spot at five against the Taylor's and Ballances , etc.  maybe not ideal to have him next to Stokes in the order...but on the other hand their contrasting styles might actually work quite well together.  Or a hopefully revived Prior might swap places with Stokes ?

Perhaps the toughest is the pace bowling.  Obviously Finn is the Big Hope.  But lately he seems to have lost it all...his action/run up has been messed about a lot , it seems to me ; and his confidence is shot. But he remains quite young enough to bounce back (just look at how Johnson has done so at 32 !) so hope remains. Saker is a smart man , and I while I am unsure whether it would be better to release him to play County cricket or retain him with the Test squad I do have faith that he is not a lost cause.
If Finn is not deemed ready to come back in June , then indeed there is a case for trying out someone new. Perhaps harsh on Bresnan ; and admittedly contrary to my own oft-expressed view that Bres is the best default option ; but I am coming round to the view that the pool of fast bowlers needs expanding , and this tour has suggested that the fading Tremlett and the still untried and not young Rankin are unlikely to make much of a splash in the future...
I expect Anderson to be around for a while yet : many people keep saying he has looked tired etc ; but it seems to me that is just a perception from his facial expressions  - doubtless he isn't enjoying being on the end of successive defeats and not having much personal success , but he keeps running in , and actually had his best match of the series here in Melbourne. I remember Angus Fraser always used to look weary after his first over  Smile  Pretty sure Jimmy has ambitions left , and he is only 31  - hardly ancient for a bowler who has never relied primarily on pace.  The rest from now to June should do him a lot of good.

Nevertheless , planning for the post-Anderson era needs to be made , which is why identifying one or two newcomers is important. If not Finn , who ?  I will leave that to those of you who see them in the County game...but I think the Tests against Sri Lanka might be an ideal opportunity to trial someone. Bresnan would remain a strong option for later in the summer during the India series , and wouldn't be discarded from plans . But as in the past (1950s had Statham/Trueman/Tyson/Loader - plus Bailey...didn't all play at once. Had two spinners generally then. Or much later when Illingworth could deploy Snow/Arnold/Willis/Lever etc ...and Brearley had Willis/Old/Lever (J)/ Hendrick - plus Botham !
You get the picture...)

This post is threatening one of Mike's for length , I fear...and I guess everyone has stopped reading by now  Smile 

So I think I will stop there and look forward to reading someone else's prescription next...

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Post by KP_fan on Wed 01 Jan 2014, 9:22 am

I good article...I think

http://www.espncricinfo.com/review2013/content/story/705895.html

Where's the human touch?
There was something about England's cricket team, even when it was winning, that did not entirely connect with the public mood
David Hopps

This was the year that the English public fell out of love with its cricket team. It was not the case for everybody and there was reason to presume, as always, that it was only a temporary estrangement. But there was no doubt as 2013 came to an end that the powerful bond forged during England's tempestuous 2005 Ashes victory was broken. It's been emotional, said the English cricket public. But, at least for now, let's cool it.

As England completed the year 4-0 down in Australia, the Ashes relinquished, and facing the threat of a whitewash if they lost the final Test in Sydney, consternation had long given way to condemnation. England had endured beatings in Australia before but most had been against sides touched by greatness. This Australian side had its heroes, how could it not, but it was a long way from greatness. It made England's feeble display all the harder to bear.

But the source of public disaffection ran deeper than simply whether England were winning or not. Even their 3-0 defeat of Australia in the English summer - a Test series played out to packed houses - had been met with grudging praise. There was something about England's cricket team, even when winning, even as many of its most celebrated players reached maturity, that did not entirely connect with the public mood and, as the New Year came, and the talk was of new beginnings, an examination of that disaffection was necessary.

For Paul Downton, a former England wicketkeeper and the new MD of England cricket, it will be quite an introduction to the job. Andy Flower went into meetings with him as the year turned, indicating that he wished to play a central role in a new era - a new era that in his view demanded the retention of Alastair Cook as captain, a man hugely respected for his batsmanship and general good-eggedness rather than his tactical acumen, and no dismantling of his gargantuan backroom staff. Essentially, the message was that they should be entrusted with the rebuilding of a new side.

“ Had England's planning now become so stifling that players felt disempowered, even demotivated?

But England's commitment to micro-management - and nobody believed in it more than Flower - was itself under scrutiny as the year turned sour. Cook, an increasingly hollow-eyed captain, had some justification in suggesting that the same careful planning and large support structure that had been hailed as a prime reason for a Test series win in India a year earlier was now being held up as the problem as a tour of Australia went belly up, but the comment of an England player in early summer that he sometimes felt as if he was being marked when he went to the toilet kept springing to mind.

Had England's planning now become so stifling that players felt disempowered, even demotivated? Had England, with their data-driven tactics, psychological counselling on tap, and a commitment to nutrition so detailed that it resulted in the publication of a much-ridiculed cookbook, built a support structure so all-consuming that it was now having a negative effect? And, if the thrill had gone, and fatigue taken hold, had the public begun to spot it before the players themselves?

That debate was thrown into focus in 2013 by the presence of an Australia coach, Darren Lehmann, drawn from the old school. Lehmann used data - he would be a fool not to, and Australia clearly had good plans, but he liked to give the impression that the knowledge gleaned would be disseminated over a couple of beers. Australia's cricket - even when they were losing the big moments in the English summer - was approached with verve and aggression. They had the human touch, in their vices as well as virtues. It was hard to see that freshness in England. England, whatever their protestations, lacked joy.

That two players failed to reach the end of the Ashes series in Australia encapsulated the year. Jonathan Trott, it emerged, had been controlling a stress-related condition for much of his England career. When he left the tour abruptly after England's defeat in the first Test in Brisbane, a perfectionist no longer able to cope, it was another reminder of the pressures of top-level sport when expectations are so high and an excuse culture is not to be tolerated. Mitchell Johnson's ferocious pace was the catalyst, but it was misguided to represent it as the cause, and those who equated Trott's departure with a lack of courage could hardly have been more inane. As Flower said, Trott had been England's rock at No. 3 and they suffered in his absence.

Graeme Swann's premature international retirement after three Tests was an expression of individual freedom at best, self-indulgent at worst. That such a popular player, in the timing of his departure, revealed a disconnect between this England team and its public was dispiriting. Swann deserved to be hailed as one of the most popular England players of his generation, an offspinner second only to Jim Laker in most eyes, and someone who was rightly cherished for playing and discussing the game with such evident delight.
Former players queued up to defend Swann's right to retire from international cricket when he wished. Others regarded him too fondly to criticise him. But polls suggested that a substantial majority were deeply dismayed by his failure to see the tour through, even if his debilitating elbow condition meant that he might finish it dropped and carrying the drinks. Revealingly, he would not have retired if the series had not already been lost. Those sitting through the night to follow England on TV, or fumbling for their radios or mobile phones at 6am to discover more bad news, wanted a display of solidarity, however meaningless, and that they did not receive it until the bitter end strengthened their conviction that something was awry.

England's decline was also seen, less controversially, in the form of Matt Prior. He began the year by saving the Auckland Test in March, won the England Player of the Year award, and was made Test vice-captain. By the end of the year, he was dropped, his international career in the balance. Of the coming men, whose progress was suddenly more urgent, Joe Root brought hope - even if his place at No. 3 in Australia proved to be overly ambitious - as did Ben Stokes, whose powerfully struck hundred in Perth left England dreaming of a quality allrounder in the making and a return to a five-strong attack.

For a decade and more, England's improvement had essentially been supervised by two Zimbabwean coaches, Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower. Even the interregnum - the unsuccessful appointment of an English coach, Peter Moores, with a strong work ethic - did not change the overall mood. The much-needed commitment to instil greater professionalism into English cricket, and use the ECB's millions to fund it, was hugely successful.

The planning was still evident. England's defeat of Australia in an unusually dry home summer had been plotted on slow, attritional surfaces, which played to England's strengths - the reverse swing of James Anderson, the offspin of Swann, the technical excellence of Ian Bell, and their general contentment playing a methodical, patient game - but it did not make for exciting cricket.

Five wins, five draws (three in a stalemate in New Zealand) and four defeats told of a middling Test side. In 50-over cricket, under the guidance of Ashley Giles (who was promoted to limited-overs coach to give Flower more time with his family), they reached the final of the Champions Trophy in a chilly early summer in England, but any talk of progress was stilled by a heavy defeat in a bilateral series against Australia and by the end of the year they had lost as many matches, ten, as they had won. In T20, the story was much the same and, until England's best players gained more exposure in IPL, it is unlikely to change.
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Post by msp83 on Sat 04 Jan 2014, 9:46 pm

It seems David Collier, the ECB CEO, has guaranteed Andy Flower his job up to 2015 even before a proper debrief of the debacle, utter humiliation, horrer show, listlessness, hapless, pitiful, tragic, (take your pick), show in Australia.
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/current/story/706987.html

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