Where now for England?

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 1:22 pm

First topic message reminder :

Well, the dust has hardly settled on the latest installment of the Ashes, but questions must be raised about where England go from here.

It's not just the fact that they lost 5-0, it's the way in which they capitulated, again and again, with little in the way of fight and, seemingly, no idea of any way to combat Australia's superb, aggressive cricket.

Add in various little things; the seeming lack of any contingency plan re. Trott; Swann leaving mid-series; Rankin going off for cramp then coming back on etc, etc. and it really seems that the wheels well and truly fell off for England.

That would suggest major failures at a management/captaincy level, but it appears that the ECB have already decided that there will be no changes at that level.

So, what next for England?

Does the back-room need trimming? Who needs to go? What do Flower and Cook have to learn from this? Does the playing personnel require big-time alteration or should we stick with the core of older players (of course this depends on whether the likes of KP remain available). Who should come in?

Personally I feel that this series has underlined England's lack of aggression, especially when batting, and an ability to fight fire with fire. Of course, this was largely down to superb bowling by Australia, but England didn't seem to possess either the skill or desire to try and take the attack back to the bowlers.

Was that just because England's batsmen were all short on form or was it symptomatic of a mind-set that has become ingrained within the England team under Flower? If the latter then, surely this is something that will need to be addressed in the future.

What also needs to be addressed in the future is the team itself. There are still at least 3/4 positions that need to be sorted. Does Carberry deserve to retain his slot as Cook's partner? If not who should be? Root? Robson? Compton? A.N. Other? Who should 'keep wicket? Bairstow? Get Prior back? Davies? Buttler? A.N. Other? Who should be the 3rd seamer? Finn? Rankin? Woakes? A.N.Other? Who should be the spinner? Has Borthwick done enough? Should Monty be back?


My view is that, while Carberry has done OK, he hasn't cemented his place, and it would be better, at this point, to bring in a younger player and give him the whole summer to establish himself. Robson would probably be the obvious choice, but I wouldn't be too averse to seeing Root back in that position.

Bairstow hasn't really done anything, for me, to justify his position as 'keeper. I'd bring in Davies who, while he might not be quite as good a batsman as Bairstow, is a far better 'keeper.

As for the 3rd seamer I'd like England to take a little bit of a punt on some variety. With Stokes in the attack there is room for a bit of a 'wild card', so how about someone like Tymal Mills?

Finally the spinner. Difficult one this, but I quite like Borthwick and think he's done just enough to continue in the team, at least against Sri Lanka. Maybe he should play in some of the ODIs earlier in the summer.

So, my team for the first test against Sri Lanka would be:

Cook(c)
Robson/Root
Bell
KP(?)
Ballance
Stokes
Borthwick
Davies(WK)
Broad
Anderson
Mills

Of course that line-up could all change as a result of retirements, injuries and form, but whatever the line-up, I would like England to try and show a little more aggression, especially when batting. If they can they'll be a better team IMO. Whether they'll be able to with Flower and Cook in charge remains to be seen IMO.

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Post by Liam on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 10:12 pm

Anyone feel Onions is a must now going forward. His form is just too good to ignore now and he would have been perfect at Sydney with the pitch seaming. Outstanding bowler who deserves a run.

I'm a massive Finn fan and want him back in the team ASAP. For me, he needs to go back and have a prolonged run in country cricket, get his technique sorted and get back to where has was in the ODI series in India, bowling 90mph with excellent control. If he get's to that level again, get him in straight away.

Panesar I think just needs to be shown that he is the no.1 spinner and give him an extended run in the side. I think every bowler will bowl better if they know they have the complete backing of the selectors and captain. Although I think Monty needs to work on more variations to his game.

I'm not yet convinced by Borthwick but he's got plenty of time to develop. Ballance looked good and got two excellent balls to be dismissed. Experienced players need to be kept so Prior, Anderson, KP, Bell and Cook need to be retained.

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Post by msp83 on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 10:25 pm

Hoggy_Bear wrote:
msp83 wrote:Panesar, Tredwell and even Kerrigan are above Borthwick in my pecking order for the England spinner role as they are all frontline options. If England can't find a top class spinner, they should look at someone like Adil Rashid who is not very good but a frontline option nevertheless. Rashid can bat as well.

Adil Rashid has a worse FC bowling average and strike rate than Borthwick. Last season Rashid took just 1 more wicket than Borthwick at a higher average and with a worse strike rate. Why is he a frontline option but Borthwick not?
Hoggy, Borthwick has bowled around 5000 deliveries in FC cricket from 60 games. Rashid bowled over 19000 balls from 114 games. On an average, Rashid bowls double the overs that Borthwick bowls.

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Post by Mike Selig on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 10:39 pm

Last year though my memory was Rashid was more of a batting all-rounder as well - his bowling has really gone downhill from what I've seen (he barely turns it anymore), and his attitude is poor.

Going back to Flower, my first post was in part a response to your previous one (since repeated) msp. I must say I thought your post was rather unbalanced: whilst it is easy to simply list players who made their debuts under which coach, is there any doubt that Prior, Anderson, Cook, Swann and to an extent Broad all became world class performers under Flower? He should also be credited with the resurgence of Ian Bell's test career surely, as well as Tremlett who had become rather the forgotten man? When Flower took on the role properly, England had just lost 1-0 in the West Indies, the fall-out from the whole Moores-KP saga, etc. To get them from there to number 1 in the world, and win the ashes comfortably in Australia was a major achievement which IMO you haven't given enough credit for.

I certainly am not part of the "Flower is perfect" camp, I freely admit that his outlook has been part of the problem this last year or so (although as you know I disagree with you over the KPGate - I think England were right to drop him as his position had become untenable, and picked him again as soon as they could, and were right to do that as well).

Anybody with a mediocrum of understanding about the game can see that in the last couple of years and in part because of Flower England have become increasingly predictable and somewhat stale. That is not, or should not be in question, but the depths of their problems have really come to the fore during this series. Reading between the lines of his recent interviews Flower recognises that. The question is then whether having been part of the problem, Flower can be part of the solution and instigate the fresh start that is needed. For the reasons outlined above and in my previous post, I believe the answer is "yes".

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 10:44 pm

I agree with Mike's stance on Flower myself.

As a potential opener, how about young Alex Lees?
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Post by JDizzle on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 11:00 pm

Alex Lees had a bit of a ropey finish to the season after he started off like a house on fire. Would say it is at least one or two seasons too early for him.

I have to admit I have some serious reservations about Flower carrying on. He's made all the right noises about changing some of his methods and embracing the next step, but I do admit I have my doubts about whether he can do this. England's performances have been on the wane for a while now, bar so sensational individual efforts in India, and from the outside it appears nothing has been done to alter this slide. And I do fear that if Flower can't turn things around it will set England back another couple of years.

I've met Angus Fraser, he spoke very intelligently and certainly sounded like he knew his cricket. The other name, if Flower did go, I would like to see in the frame would be Jason Gillespie. This is dependent on him being interested of course, being an Aussie and all!

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Post by Pal Joey on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 11:18 pm

There should be a written Law preventing that from ever happening, JD.

It would detract from the nature of the Ashes contests over the 130+ year history of our sporting rivalry.

You can take our cycling, swimming and netball coaches... but hands off our Cricket and Rugby Union legends please. Make your own for those or shop elsewhere.

Our RL coaches? I don't mind so much.  Smile 
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Post by JDizzle on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 11:27 pm

Haha, I'm not sure if Gillespie would be keen; he does come across as a very proud Aussie! I'm not sure it would detract from it, it would add something extra in my opinion! How long would it be before the papers stopped referring to Gillespie by name and he became the phantom coach?!  Very Happy 

We prefer to steal out Union coaches from NZ anyway, and perhaps he might even tell us how to beat Australia one day! 2015 at Twickenham would be a good start...

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 11:28 pm

Linebreaker wrote:There should be a written Law preventing that from ever happening, JD.

It would detract from the nature of the Ashes contests over the 130+ year history of our sporting rivalry.

You can take our cycling, swimming and netball coaches... but hands off our Cricket and Rugby Union legends please. Make your own for those or shop elsewhere.

Our RL coaches? I don't mind so much.  Smile 

How does Troy Cooley fit into that?

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Post by Pal Joey on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 12:01 am

Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:
Linebreaker wrote:There should be a written Law preventing that from ever happening, JD.

It would detract from the nature of the Ashes contests over the 130+ year history of our sporting rivalry.

You can take our cycling, swimming and netball coaches... but hands off our Cricket and Rugby Union legends please. Make your own for those or shop elsewhere.

Our RL coaches? I don't mind so much.  Smile 

How does Troy Cooley fit into that?

He was transported back to Van Diemen's Land over 7 years ago so I suppose when he receives his Ticket of Leave he will be free to be mucked up again by the ECB.
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Post by Guest on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:16 am

In terms of where now for England.  I suppose the answer is apart from a few one dayers and 20-20 internationals it will be back in England for the summer - two tests against Sri Lanka and five tests against India.  I suppose with conditions more conducive to English cricketers who is to bet against series wins for England against both (with centuries from the usual suspects of Cook, Bell and Pietersen).

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 6:58 am

Olly wrote:What is the ODI squad Craig?

(On a seperate note, the provisional 30 man T20 World Cup squads have to be named by the 6th of Jan, so tomorrow)

This is the ODI squad:-

Alastair Cook
Gary Ballance
Ian Bell
Ravi Bopara
Tim Bresnan
Danny Briggs
Stuart Broad
Jos Buttler
Michael Carberry
Steven Finn
Chris Jordan
Eoin Morgan
Boyd Rankin
Joe Root
Ben Stokes
James Treadwell
Chris Woakes








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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 9:59 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:
Olly wrote:What is the ODI squad Craig?

(On a seperate note, the provisional 30 man T20 World Cup squads have to be named by the 6th of Jan, so tomorrow)

This is the ODI squad:-

Alastair Cook
Gary Ballance
Ian Bell
Ravi Bopara
Tim Bresnan
Danny Briggs
Stuart Broad
Jos Buttler
Michael Carberry
Steven Finn
Chris Jordan
Eoin Morgan
Boyd Rankin
Joe Root
Ben Stokes
James Treadwell
Chris Woakes









So, who from that squad might make the step to the test squad?
Briggs and Tredwell are both seen as being specialist short form bowlers, but both could do a job at a pinch in the test team. Briggs has the slightly better FC bowling record, Tredwell offers more with the bat.
Buttler is, apparently, the heir apparent should Prior not regain form and Bairstow is dropped. Seems a bit weird to me that he's being promoted as a test 'keeper on the grounds of his one-day batting but, there you go.
Finn and Jordan could both be competing for the third seamers slot, as would Woakes and Bresnan. It would, of course, depend on form, but also on what England are looking for from that role. If they're looking for an attacking, wicket-taking bowler then the faster men (Finn and Jordan) would be the way to go. If they're looking for more control and a contribution with the bat then it's Bresnan or Woakes.
As for the batsmen, obviously Ballance, Bell, Stokes and Root are already in the squad, but could the likes of Bopara and Morgan ever force their way back into the reckoning again?

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Post by alfie on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:05 am

First on the agenda should be rest for a few players , while they can ...and if that means weakening the ODI team for a few games , so be it.

Last five years search shows Cook 66 Prior 63 Anderson 61 Pietersen 59 Tests ...Bell , Trott , Swann all similar. (afraid I am not clever enough to drag these stats over to show so this is from memory but accurate I think). Compare Clarke (59) the only other Test player in the world anywhere near those workloads. Most South Africans , Indians etc are around high thirties to forty. Siddle the only other Aussie (48) with a reasonably high number.

Surely not a coincidence that so many of these chaps imploded this trip ? When you are getting close to your limits - perhaps mentally more even than physically ? - you can maybe do OK while things are proceeding to plan ; but when you suddenly come up against an opponent who knocks you off your feet , as at Brisbane , perhaps the reserves just aren't there to fight back.

Not denying there are other factors (even apart from the very good cricket played by Australia , of course ) ; but I do believe the fatigue issue has been a big one. The thinner Test calendar in the immediate future may prove a big blessing to England...

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Post by guildfordbat on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:16 am

For those with access to Sky, there'a programme tonight with close links to this thread which might be of interest.

9pm, Sky Sports 2 - Ashes Review in which Marcus Trescothick, Bob Willis and Mark Butcher name their teams for the first Test of 2014 against Sri Lanka and the first Ashes Test of 2015.

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Post by Stella on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:21 am

guildfordbat wrote:For those with access to Sky, there'a programme tonight with close links to this thread which might be of interest.

9pm, Sky Sports 2 - Ashes Review in which Marcus Trescothick, Bob Willis and Mark Butcher name their teams for the first Test of 2014 against Sri Lanka and the first Ashes Test of 2015.

What's the point in naming a side for 2015? Lets get 2014 out of the way first. Who knows who will have good summers, winters or even retire. Might give the programme a miss.
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Post by alfie on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:21 am

Bit early to be picking teams for June ! But as a lightly pencilled forward projection , not uninteresting.

Was you , guildford , pointing to County form early in the summer as being important ? I agree...

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:33 am

Stella wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:For those with access to Sky, there'a programme tonight with close links to this thread which might be of interest.

9pm, Sky Sports 2 - Ashes Review in which Marcus Trescothick, Bob Willis and Mark Butcher name their teams for the first Test of 2014 against Sri Lanka and the first Ashes Test of 2015.

What's the point in naming a side for 2015? Lets get 2014 out of the way first. Who knows who will have good summers, winters or even retire. Might give the programme a miss.

Bear in mind they have a couple of days cricket scheduling to fill.....

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Post by Stella on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:35 am

Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:
Stella wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:For those with access to Sky, there'a programme tonight with close links to this thread which might be of interest.

9pm, Sky Sports 2 - Ashes Review in which Marcus Trescothick, Bob Willis and Mark Butcher name their teams for the first Test of 2014 against Sri Lanka and the first Ashes Test of 2015.

What's the point in naming a side for 2015? Lets get 2014 out of the way first. Who knows who will have good summers, winters or even retire. Might give the programme a miss.

Bear in mind they have a couple of days cricket scheduling to fill.....

True. They've been going round in circles all winter anyway. Bit like us  Very Happy 
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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:41 am

alfie wrote:First on the agenda should be rest for a few players , while they can ...and if that means weakening the ODI team for a few games , so be it.

Last five years search shows Cook 66 Prior 63 Anderson 61 Pietersen 59  Tests  ...Bell , Trott , Swann all similar. (afraid I am not clever enough to drag these stats over to show so this is from memory but accurate I think). Compare Clarke (59) the only other Test player in the world anywhere near those workloads.  Most South Africans , Indians etc are around high thirties to forty.  Siddle the only other Aussie (48) with a reasonably high number.

Surely not a coincidence that so many of these chaps imploded this trip ?  When you are getting close to your limits - perhaps mentally more even than physically ? - you can maybe do OK while things are proceeding to plan ; but when you suddenly come up against an opponent who knocks you off your feet , as at Brisbane , perhaps the reserves just aren't there to fight back.

Not denying there are other factors (even apart from the very good cricket played by Australia , of course ) ; but I do believe the fatigue issue has been a big one.  The thinner Test calendar in the immediate future may prove a big blessing to England...

Absolutely.
KP is of course resting himself. I wouldve liked Cook to have been given a rest ( made quite clear thats what it was) and sent home form the tour rather than having to endure another couple of weeks nonsense in the ODIs./
Physicaly and mentaly hes shot, even if these games go well ( chances of that pretty slim) its not like they are important or like he is in desperate need of game time ahead of major tournament.

Players like Balance, Finn, Buttler, Bopara and Briggs who could be options for the test side as well as serious ODI players must get played in these games. Stokes obviously has picked himself already.
Whether theres much to gain by having the likes of Bell continue to flounder is another question.

I dont think theres any debate that Harris' ability to play 9 ashes tests in a row ( first time hes managed that many tests) is down to a well managed work load. The endurance of the aussie bowlers has been a huge change for them in whats gone on over the last few years and a key to how well they've performed.

You can blame the 80 page menu all you like, but really its the sheer workload of high pressure games that ragged the likes of Cook, Trott, Prior and Swann.

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Post by alfie on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:47 am

Been reading back over this thread : glad to see Mike condemning the daft "heads must roll" stuff so beloved of the tabloids - and some who ought to know better ! And also pleased to see that there hasn't been any of that rubbish on here - good constructive stuff all round  thumbsup 

I am slightly surprised so many are , if not opposed outright to selecting Borthwick , at least rather cautious about him. Before this match there was a lot of reasonable speculation that he might suffer by being attacked by the confident Aussies , and potentially be set back severely - bit like Kerrigan at The Oval. But it would seem at least that he did not suffer any sort of a meltdown ...kept tossing the ball up ; actually spun it , rather than just rolling it out a la Salisbury...and ended up with four wickets for the match. I would call that a pretty fair result for a chap who was certainly introduced to Test cricket somewhat earlier than would have been expected...
I am not suggesting he is the finished article : but I liked his attitude ; felt he looked more at home than might have been expected. Looks a good fielder , though his batting was disappointing. In view of the dearth of obvious spin options around , I would really like to see him given the Sri Lanka Tests to have a further look at him.
And I get the point about picking the best team to win : totally agree ; but I am not sure that any other spinner would necessarily offer an ironclad guarantee of an overall better performance ...so what would actually be lost by trying Borthwick again ? Tredwell may present a "safer" option : but there is time enough to return to him later in the summer , if need be . I don't think anyone sees Tredwell as a likely match winner ? More the Giles option...which is fair enough of course.

Just that when we are all agreeing England have been a bit too defensive minded of late , it seems odd to dismiss the more venturesome approach that the risk of a young leg spinner seems to offer...

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Post by guildfordbat on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 10:54 am

alfie wrote:Bit early to be picking teams for June !  But as a lightly pencilled forward projection , not uninteresting.

Was you , guildford , pointing to County form early in the summer as being important ?  I agree...

Yes, Alfie, that was me. The same point was made on last night's Ashes programme, chaired well by Charles Colville with Marcus Trescothick, Bob Willis and Jason Gillespie. I was particularly impressed by Gillespie - clear talking and unafraid to acknowledge what he didn't know, he came across as somebody confident in himself but still wanting to learn. Can certainly understand why JDizzle rates him highly. Shame he's not on tonight.

I also agree with you, Alfie, that it's too early for the 2014 first summer Test and ridiculously so for the Ashes in 2015 but hopefully a few useful pointers and a little bit of fun.

Willis was magnificently miserable last night. I thought of Caledonian Craig (who posted in sensible support of Borthwick yesterday when he and I differed over what happens next to the young leggie) when Willis moaned: ''England need to find a spinner for next summer. It seems pretty clear it's not going to be Panesar. And it's not much looking like Borthwick either.''

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Post by alfie on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 11:00 am

Good old Bob !

I can just see his lugubrious countenance as he made his gloomy prognostications  Smile 

Idolized him as a bowler ; but his punditry always makes me want to go and play Leonard Cohen records ...

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Post by Mike Selig on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 11:09 am

Aw, I love a bit of Leonard Cohen!

Not a fan of Willis: everything is wrong, everyone is rubbish, all wickets are bad batting and all boundaries poor bowling, nobody has ever bowled a good ball or played a good shot (at least since I retired), etc. (I exaggerate but only slightly)

I'm a bit torn on Borthwick TBH - I liked a lot of what I saw during this game, but simply put his bowling isn't quite good enough (yet?) and for a leggie this can cause a lot of damage. He was well managed and protected by Cook overall (apart from no cover down the ground during his first spell) and did pick up those 3 second innings wickets, but... not convinced he can play as a specialist spinner. Particularly with Stokes leaking runs, and England's issues in the 3rd seamer department.

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Post by alfie on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 11:26 am

Oh I am a big Cohen fan too , Mike. But back in the day , we were always waiting for him to actually release an album called "Music to Slash Your Wrists By "  Smile 

If ...and I agree it is a big if ...England were to go with Borthwick against Sri Lanka ; it would indeed be important to have a "holding" third seamer. Which would probably mean Bresnan.
I feel Anderson/Broad/Bresnan/Stokes/Borthwick would be viable ;
and better tried then than when India arrive.

On the other hand , this rather clashes with the idea of trying out new pace bowlers...but you probably can't do everything at once...

I can see I won't convince everyone . But I am sticking with Swann on this  Smile 

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Post by Carrotdude on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 11:32 am

Surely Onions (if he starts the season well) would be a very likely choice for third seamer as he takes wickets and generally has good control too, I'd be happier with him than Bresnan personally.

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Post by guildfordbat on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 11:40 am

I wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift for the week-end with Willis but find small doses of his continual misery quite entertaining in a warped way.

Mike - as I think has already been shown by earlier posts, I'm pretty much with you on Borthwick, being in the ''like him but ...'' camp.

Not so sure though about him being well managed by Cook. Not talking about when he was bowling but rather the delay in bringing him on to bowl in the second innings. That seemed over protective and appeared to betray a lack of confidence. Consequently felt as well that Borthwick's 3 wickets at the end were slightly devalued, being obtained in a bit of a slogfest. Obviously that wasn't his fault but, given he was selected, would have liked to have seen how he did when it looked as if it might just have mattered.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 11:57 am

I suspect that Borthwicks future lies in giving England the option of playing two spinners to suit conditions rather than as a first pick, unless he can prove he can get a test batting average up to 40.

Giving him a chance ahead of Tredwell could be seen as bravely challenging the new kid, or as a desperate move to shore up the batting order. Either way its not really shown anything we didnt already know about him.

But if England dont have a specialist spinner who can either take wickets or offer genuine control then you might as well go with him and 4 seamers. Rely on the depth of batting with Stokes and some aggression from Finn to take wickets.

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Post by msp83 on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 12:02 pm

Borthwick certainly seems to have a better temperament than what Kerrigan showed in his debut test. But I doubt whether he has the quality with the ball to play as a frontline spinner.
Andy Flower meanwhile has confirmed that he won't be going anywhere.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 12:51 pm

interesting debate on here as always, good to see Very Happy

haven't been on as much as I would like recently, mainly because I got married a couple of months ago and my wife doesn't much approve of me not sleeping at night to watch some cricket Very Happy

anyway, onto more serious matters, the cricket itself. I think Mike and msp have rightly pointed out that this isn't a particularly new problem for England. They've had a few struggles over the last couple of years, but the series where I really began to feel England's batting was in trouble was the NZ away series. I begun to get the feeling that basically, if you bowled well to England they just defended and didn't score runs. It's reached breaking point now, and for me that does suggest a fresh approach is needed there. A perfect illustration in the latest series was Ian Bell, whose only two knocks of worth were when he played his shots, whereas in the first innings of the fourth and fifth tests (the only ones I watched) he just patted the ball back all day, and played the odd nudge off his legs.

As such, I would like to see a change in the batting coach. Gooch for me has always been a little inflexible, and while he has seen England's batsmen play with more discipline and (at the start of his tenure) a fair few big hundreds came from it, right now it looks like the players are under orders not to express themselves. Of course this isn't helped by Boycott (and other pundits) lambasting any batsman who gets out playing an attacking shot. I mean it's all very well saying "he could have left that alone" but when your strength is going after wide deliveries you don't really want that (I think Prior at Perth - second innings - was a good illustration of this).

As for Flower, I think he's just about earned the right to be given a chance at rebuilding, and trying a fresh approach. Mike points out his substantial achivements since taking over, and for me he has just enough credit left that I would keep hi on. Give him the summer to see if things change (it's not easy to change an approach completely mid-series, and previously England's results were good enough).

Now onto the team. Cook keeps his spot, but needs to start scoring a few runs. Someone mentioned just how many tests England play compared to all other teams, and this certainly takes its toll eventually (Cook has played 100 consecutive Tests I believe). Australia bowled well at him, but I think he'll do well this summer and hopefully relaunch his career somewhat.
I'm genuinely stumped as to who opens with him, though. Carberry for me just hasn't done enough, and IMO isn't positive enough (both his strokeplay and more worryingly his mindset). At 33 you can only really afford to pick a novice if he takes to it straight away, and that simply wasn't the case.
The other options are Root, or Robson. I'd be tempted to give Root a go. He still looks a good player, but one who again hasn't really been allowed to express himself. One suspects agaist SL he'll have an easier time of it, which will help, and if he's told to simply go out there and play it could come off.
I think at n°3 we need to write Trott off, unfortunately. Players rarely come back from stress-related issues. So Bell? Taylor? Not many other options. I'd go with Bell.
KP stays at 4, despite all the criticism he was England's top run scorer (which isn't saying very much), and had a good home series. Ballance deserves another chance at 5, looked quite good though I'm a bit worried as to how he played Lyon in the first dig. Stokes of course keeps his spot at n°6, the only bright spot (maybe with Broad) of the series.
Then keeper. Not sure Bairstow looks the part, quite frankly. Nice striker of a cricket ball but a few too many frailties, needs to go back to County cricket to iron out the flaws first. I'm sure he can do it (he's improved against the short ball so much already), but he needs to be given the time. As such I'd go back to Prior. Again, facing the easier SL attack should hopefully help him re-establish his natural game.
Broad and Anderson stay, hopefully a decent break will do Anderson some good, he looked really weary at times here. Broad was really good for most of the series, I'm not quite sure why people say we'll need a new attack leader: surely Broad is that man?
Third seamer is wide open, again. Rankin didn't convince me at all from what I saw (first innings), Finn could be the answer if he sorts his problems out. Bresnan was a bit of a mixed bag, but could still be the best option if England have Stokes as that extra wicket-taking bowler.
Spinner is another tough one. Panesar had a dreadful tour by all accounts, and his batting and fielding is simply unacceptable by today's standards. It would be OK if he averaged 20, but he averages 34 or something, so his bowling on its own is simply not good enough. I like many liked what I saw from Borthwick (only watched first innings and his pre-lunch spell on day 3), looked mentally right up for it (unlike Kerrigan). The problem is he does bowl a huge amount of bad balls, even for a leg-spinner it's a lot. Is he ready? Probably not quite, yet. Could he be in the future? Definitely, IMO. Who is better? tough one, Tredwell offers a lot more control but can be got at (see ODIs), Briggs isn't an option in tests, Kerrigan looked all at sea in the summer, so who else is there? Ultimately, in a five man attack I'm tempted to stick with Borthwick and let him develop. Not ideal, but not sure we have a better option.

So there you have it:
Cook
Root
Bell
KP
Ballance
Stokes
Prior
Borthwick
Broad
Anderson
Bresnan/Finn (Finn if he can get his form from a year ago back)

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 1:07 pm

"Cook
Root
Bell"

Worries me deeply, but I dont really see what choice we have unless Flower can swallow his pride and apologise to Compton. Carberry has taken unwarrented stick (relative to the others he wanst that bad) but isnt in any way "the future" or proven to have what it takes to win games whilst the kids find their feet. Compton at least has a few years left in him.

What you then have is a weird middle/lower order that in theory can bat but lacks any real quality from 6 down ... not that that bothered Australia. Its more like the Flintoff era sides, reliant on those guys at the top knuckling down and the potential for some destructive batting further down.
I really would like to see Finn/Mills/Meaker/Jordan over Bresnan i if nothing else to give some kind of variety to the attack. 4 even paced right arm seamers and a spinner whos contribution is likely to be limited doesnt exactly offer a range of challenges against batsmen who get set.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 2:04 pm

Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:
I really would like to see Finn/Mills/Meaker/Jordan over Bresnan i if nothing else to give some kind of variety to the attack. 4 even paced right arm seamers and a spinner whos contribution is likely to be limited doesnt exactly offer a range of challenges against batsmen who get set.

Agree with this, which is why I suggested Mills in the OP. Playing 5 bowlers should give England the opportunity do something a bit different. Go for an out-and-out fast man (if there is one), choose a left-armer, play two spinners.
I know that control is important, but I feel that a more attacking mentality is important for England and this might be one way toward it.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 2:17 pm

Hoggy_Bear wrote:
Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:
I really would like to see Finn/Mills/Meaker/Jordan over Bresnan i if nothing else to give some kind of variety to the attack. 4 even paced right arm seamers and a spinner whos contribution is likely to be limited doesnt exactly offer a range of challenges against batsmen who get set.

Agree with this, which is why I suggested Mills in the OP. Playing 5 bowlers should give England the opportunity do something a bit different. Go for an out-and-out fast man (if there is one), choose a left-armer, play two spinners.
I know that control is important, but I feel that a more attacking mentality is important for England and this might be one way toward it.

Is Jordan really quicker than Stokes, Broad or Anderson? For that matter, is Finn? Broad hit 90 mph on a few occasions in Aus, Stokes was consistently up and above 86 or so, so not slow. I get the point, but for me Anderson, Stokes, Broad and Bresnan are very different bowlers.

Meaker is one I forgot, wasn't he injured last season. He had a bit about him I thought, and could be a good option. Mills I'm not sold on: yes he's quick, but he's incredibly raw, and could spray it around all over the place. What made Johnson so touch to play was not only his pace but his direction (helped by the left-arm effect). Contrast to previous series where he bowled quick (if not quite as quick) but was tonked. I can't help but think that picking Mills would be a bit like going for an imitation of the Johnson effect. That works if you have the player to do it, but not sure Mills is that man. Reminds me a little of Aus's infatuation with left-arm spinners in previous series on the misguided belief that England would struggle against them (Doherty, Beer and Agar were all picked ahead of the much more competent Hauritz and Lyon).

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 2:54 pm

I know what you're saying Mad for but, while I admit that introducing a bit more flexibility and aggression to the batting is more important, I would see such a change as a statement of intent as much as anything else, a signal by England to say "Look, we're not going to settle for the same old strategies, although we will still use them, but we're also going to try something different, maybe a little bit risky, even." And it might be a risk, I admit that, but it's one I think is worth taking.

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Post by guildfordbat on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:08 pm

Hoggy - I'm really surprised by your call for Mills.

If I recall correctly you've been saying most of the series that the real problem has been with the batting and now you want to introduce a wild card into the bowling.

Sure, he has pace - I vividly recall Rory Hamilton-Brown commenting on that at a Surrey members' forum - but he has little control and direction. 0/70 off 8 overs would be my guess as to how he would get on in Test cricket.

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Post by sirfredperry on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:10 pm

Mad for Ch - A very good post if you don't mind my saying. Anyone who's played at any level will know how confidence can drain out of a side. In what can be a very individual sport, it's astonishing how sides bat well and bat badly AS A TEAM. Similarly with the bowling.
I doubt there was anyone who seriously thought England were going to turn it round once the first two Tests were lost. It had 5-0 written all over it.
Expect to see Cook making many more runs for England. Same with Bell. Broad is only 27, Root will come again, may be even Bairstow. it's only a couple of summers ago I saw Bairstow making an excellent, fighting 95 against the Saffers at Lord's.
It's also worth remembering this is the same, almost, Aussie side who rolled over against England at Lord's only a few months ago.

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Post by Rowley on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:12 pm

Is a very difficult question as to what happens next. As someone once put it if a plane launches at Heathrow and crash lands at Datchett you do not put it straight back on the runway, and god only knows England have crashed heavily in this series.

However think we need to be calm and avoid knee jerk reactions as shipping out ten players and the whole backroom staff is too much like the bad old days for my liking. Remember reading Nasser Hussain’s biography a couple of times and he says in his early days when success was limited and infrequent he was constantly told to dump the old guard like Stewart, Atherton and Frasier amongst others. He said he had no problem doing this but his argument was you should not be dumping people solely because of their age or because of a bad series.

He also argued that people need to be realistic about the amount of talent kicking around the county game at any one time. The idea that there are six or seven players out there capable of making the transition and achieving in the test arena playing county cricket at any one time is simply not the case. If you are lucky there are perhaps one or two players capable of stepping up. Given we already need to replace Swann for definite and almost certainly Trott as well is the talent pool out there to realistically manage another four or five changes, all at the same time as totally overhauling the back room staff.

Realise this does not represent much in the way of a route forward for the England team, however just wanted to air the voice cautioning against knee jerk reactions and wholesale changes as they rarely work, as the era pre Fletcher should have demonstrated on frequent occasions.

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Post by msp83 on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:17 pm

Perhaps Andy Flower should be made the Chairman and CEO of the ECB as well as the director and custodian of English cricket. Tim Bresnan should be appointed captain. Kevin Pietersen should be dropped, and Ben Stokes should be asked to go back to county cricket and told to cut down his pace and learn the art of bowling military medium, and he should be brought back as Cook's opening partner, and Pietersen's offspin should be replaced by the raging legbreaks of Scott Borthwick.

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Post by msp83 on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:21 pm

Really unhappy with the ECB's response so fr to the humiliation. If they think Flower is the man to carry England forward and rebuild the side, then fair enough. But all these blanket declaration of support and vote of confidence seems far too premature for me. If the Flowwer/Cook regime should continue, they continue with a significantly modified approach, there has to be due deliberation to identify what went wrong and discussions on the way forward before all these loyalty declarations.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:23 pm

guildfordbat wrote:Hoggy - I'm really surprised by your call for Mills.

If I recall correctly you've been saying most of the series that the real problem has been with the batting and now you want to introduce a wild card into the bowling.

Sure, he has pace - I vividly recall Rory Hamilton-Brown commenting on that at a Surrey members' forum - but he has little control and direction. 0/70 off 8 overs would be my guess as to how he would get on in Test cricket.

I was just using Mills as an example really Guildford, as I'd read somewhere that England had been impressed when he bowled at them in the nets.
I still do think that it's the batting that requires the most work, but my point with the bowling is that, with the emergence of Stokes there is an opportunity to shake things up in that department that hasn't existed for England for a while. With the batting, it's more a matter of approach than personnel (although, of course, new personnel are needed), but Stokes gives England the chance to make a bit of a statement IMO.

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Post by Liam on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 3:57 pm

For me there's only a few changes i'd make to the England side.

1) Bring Compton back in. Unfairly treated and England got it badly wrong. I'm not convinced by Root as an opener and Compton did well in India and then in NZ. Deserves his shot.

2) On Root, move him back into the middle order where he's enjoyed success and keep him there for his own and the team's benefit.

3) Onions to get given a run in the side. He's been the county championship's best bowler for the last few years and was bowling very well before he got injured for England. He gives England something different and can bowl in all sorts of conditions. Finn to come back in after a full county season for me. But keep him in the One Day fold.

4) Panesar to be given the support from the selectors and be chosen as our no.1 spinner. Borthwick's leg spin is no where near test standard so he should go back and really work on that aspect of his game. Tredwell is better in the shorter form of the game so Panesar needs to given an extended run in the side. Does need to work on brining in more variations to improve.

5) Prior back in. One bad series should not see him cast out into the wilderness. He's our best wicket keeper (apart from Foster) and was our player of the year not long ago let's not forget. Bairstow does not convince me as a batsmen never mind a wicket keeper.

6) Cook to learn from his mistakes and become a more positive captain and take more decisive actions and go with the flow of the game rather than sticking religiously to pre-planned field settings and tactics. Clarke was superb in this aspect, Cook can learn from his actions as captain.

So with that in mind:

1. Cook (c)
2. Compton
3. Bell
4. KP
5. Root
6. Stokes
7. Prior
8. Broad
9. Anderson
10. Onions
11. Panesar

1. Cook (c)

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Post by JDizzle on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 4:10 pm

I'm really not convinced by the calls for Compton to come back. He's got Graham Onions, and Steven Finn before him, syndrome of suddenly becoming a lot better once you are out of the side. Let's not forget that Compton averages only 3 points higher (An average of 31.93 despite making 2 hundreds) than Carberry in Test cricket despite Carberry playing his Tests against Johnson and Harris on fire and Compton playing against India, admittedly in India, and NZ.

Mike, and several others, have warned against making change for changes sake and my question is this; can you really see Sam Robson, or even Joe Root again, averaging less than about 30 opening the batting this summer? Which is basically what you get with a Compton or Carberry opening.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 4:21 pm

Yes I agree on Compton JDizzle. Lets remember just how poor he was in the home series against NZ, and the runs he made in NZ were on pitches where it was harder not to score runs (Peter Fulton made bucket loads ffs). He's basically Carberry, but what two years younger? No way he should come back in, especially seeming as people want us to look to the future.

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Post by Guest on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 4:50 pm

Finn will come back in for sri lanka gurantee it, the fact that sub contienet sides struggle against pace and bounce will only strengthen his case, especially playing at home.

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Post by JDizzle on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 5:03 pm

Mad for Chelsea wrote:

haven't been on as much as I would like recently, mainly because I got married a couple of months ago and my wife doesn't much approve of me not sleeping at night to watch some cricket Very Happy


Oh, and congratulations MFC.  thumbsup 

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 5:44 pm

I tend to agree with JD that Compton seems to have become a much better player since being droppped. While he didn't do awfully, he didn't do particularly well either, and his performance in the home tests vs NZ was selfish and appalling. His greatest success is scoring a couple of good centuries in NZ (on absolute pancakes) and seeing off the new ball in India (which is probably the best time to bat anyway).

Onions is another in the same situation: his test record is nothing to shout about really, especially given he's played most of his Tests in favourable home conditions. I'm not saying he isn't a good bowler (he is, maybe even a very good one), but is he better than Bresnan really? Bresnan's test record matches up better, and that's without even taking his batting into account (I know it's not a popular view, but as this series showed, lower order runs make a huge difference).

Finn isn't really the same though IMO, he was viewed as an excellent prospect even when in the team, the problem is SA played mind games with him which led to a law change, which then led (misguidedly IMO) to England tinkering with his run-up, which led to a drastic loss of form. If (and at the moment that's a big IF) he can rediscover his previous form (thinking last test vs SA and the game he played in India in particular) then he should be in the side.

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Post by guildfordbat on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 6:16 pm

JDizzle wrote:I'm really not convinced by the calls for Compton to come back. He's got Graham Onions, and Steven Finn before him, syndrome of suddenly becoming a lot better once you are out of the side. Let's not forget that Compton averages only 3 points higher (An average of 31.93 despite making 2 hundreds) than Carberry in Test cricket despite Carberry playing his Tests against Johnson and Harris on fire and Compton playing against India, admittedly in India, and NZ.

Mike, and several others, have warned against making change for changes sake and my question is this; can you really see Sam Robson, or even Joe Root again, averaging less than about 30 opening the batting this summer? Which is basically what you get with a Compton or Carberry opening.

JD - on the sad but probably reasonable assumption that we need a replacement for Trott, I'm surprised that I appear to be the only one making a call for Compton at number 3. That's his usual position for Somerset and where he made all his runs to originally force himself into Test contention.

Not going to die in a ditch over this but feel it should be considered. As stated earlier, an awful lot should ultimately depend upon the early county season form of Compton and several others.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 6:36 pm

Right now England would kill for someone who could average 30 in test cricket and isnt Ben Stokes.

Roots record in the top 3 makes what got Compton dropped for look good. What on Earth makes people think hes ready to be a permanent opener on the grounds of being dropped for attitude?

Bell at 3...hardly inspires confidence. Fine if England have layed the platform and want to get the low risk scoring strokes flowing but coming in over 1. Again we are looking at a player who (without checking) must average in the low 30s as a top 3 player, but has an excellent record down the order.

Someone has to play there, so how about players who specialise there?

Of course not everyone can play and someone has to be at 3. But Id want another solid proper top 3 player to replace Trott, not Bell. Carberry or Compton (hes more of an eye to the future than Carberry) would be the obvious choices. Or bring in yet another county kid who averages below 40in first class. The quip "do you really want someone who averages in the 30s" can be answered "do we have a choice?"

Its pretty irrelevant mind, unless Flowers dies in the next few months Compton (and Taylor) seem so far out of favour they could buy him cakes and still not get invited to tea.

Theres every chance we will see the side or very similar suggested by Madfor, the upper order fills me with dread.

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Post by Liam on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 6:42 pm

I've always liked the look of James Vince. Had a decent end to the county championship season with a couple of hundreds and a few fifties. Does he bat at 3? Maybe too soon for him but just a thought. Also like James Taylor so fingers crossed he get's a few runs under his belt this coming year.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 6:53 pm

I do wonder about Root at times. We keep getting told that it is a given that he will be in the England side for years to come and what he'll achieve. All I will say is that I am not convinced yet.
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Post by Carrotdude on Mon 06 Jan 2014, 6:57 pm

Taylor and others should really be seeing this as a massive opportunity to put themselves in the frame for a Test place. Obviously not everything should come down to county stats (remembering the Vaughan/Trescothick famous examples) but it should definitely be a big factor as guildford says. Only Cook, Bell, KP, Anderson, Broad should get their places regardless of county form (not that they'll play much anyway) and probably Stokes although if he's batting terribly leading up the series I'd worry about him at number 6.

On Joe Root, I'm on the side of giving him another go at opening but I do worry about his techinique given that he seems unable to play on the front foot and gets bogged down a lot with a very low strike rate. I'd say there's definitely something in the theory that Gooch or others behind the scenes are scaring some of these players out of playing more attacking cricket.

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