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A Real Concern For England?

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 6:59

As England's cricket side contemplate the loss of the Ashes you can't help but feel they may be facing a similar problem to the great Australian side of a few years ago. They faced problems when a number of their greatest players retired around the same time such as Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Steve Waugh etc etc etc. For Australia it was a big blow which they still haven't recovered from but are slowly recovering.

England's current side, you have to feel, is heading down a similar route. Surely in the twilight of their careers are Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann, Matt Prior and Jimmy Anderson. They may (or may not) have one last Ashes hurrah in them but I have my doubts they will all be there. Those four players were key figures in past Ashes triumphs and will go down as the best English players of the last decade or so perhaps more. It could leave England in a similar position that Australia found themselves in and could take a few years to recover (even more).

The worrying aspect is who is there waiting in the wings to step into these players shoes? I certainly can't think of a spinner, wicket keeper as well is a poser and losing Anderson will be a blow so what pace bowlers could be asked to fill his shoes. Whoever it is it will be a big ask and they may not be up to it so it could be that England try various players a la Australia have done recently.

A worrying thought but do you think this scenario is a possibility? Also if so would it not make sense to start looking at other options NOW starting with the remaining two tests down under.
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Post by Scratch Wed 18 Dec - 8:00

Pietersen needs to go, too much emphasis is placed on him and he just proved he is no team player. Shot selection is the mark of a great batsman, discipline and team orders need to be observed by senior players….did Cook tell him go out and start hitting 6s…..if the shot is there then fine but not in such a precarious position. England could have forced the draw if he had occupied the crease but he went out for himself.

England must win at least 1 of the remaining 2 but i fear they are in such disarray they will be hammered into the Australian earth.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 8:06

Sorry but people can't have it every way with KP. No doubt they have lauded his great innings in the past where he has played a plethora of reckless shots but got away with them. To get him play differently is akin to trying to make Mick Jagger into a choir singer - it is not going to happen.

I can see why people will want him out and since he is 33 then time is against him in any case. If he gets the chop then do you go for a like-minded player or more of a Brigadier Block (Paul Collingwood) type player?
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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 18 Dec - 8:15

Should you also include Trott?
No guarantee he's going to fancy the crucible of the Test arena going forward.


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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 18 Dec - 8:16

People saying about England coming up to a period of change, but the Aussies are no spring chickens themselves.

Will be interesting to see how many play in the next series, I think this will be Clarke's last hurrah ashes wise...
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Post by Scratch Wed 18 Dec - 8:19

Yes you can, when the game and team demands it.
Come on Craig, KP was playing shots like was in a 20/20 game not with a chance to stave off an Ashes defeat. Had he played like Bell and Stokes then I think we would have had a chance to defend again, but he had to go out for himself.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 8:21

Olly wrote:People saying about England coming up to a period of change, but the Aussies are no spring chickens themselves.

Will be interesting to see how many play in the next series, I think this will be Clarke's last hurrah ashes wise...

A good point Olly and one I was going to make on a fresh topic.

However, I feel the Aussies have replacements waiting in the wings already such as James Faulkner and Nile-Coultner on the bowling front and also one or two others who are tipped for big things. Not so sure on th batting side of things (perhaps someone can help) but I have heard names mentioned by Shane Warne. Conversely, it is much tougher spotting players set to step into the England side.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 8:25

Scratch wrote:Yes you can, when the game and team demands it.
Come on Craig, KP was playing shots like was in a 20/20 game not with a chance to stave off an Ashes defeat. Had he played like Bell and Stokes then I think we would have had a chance to defend again, but he had to go out for himself.

That is his way. Just like it was Beefy's way and Freddie's way. Pietersen is better for playing his shots. He tried hanging around and blocking in recent matches and has flopped with scores much less than 45. Just a thought here but he made 45, Root (who I do rate) scratched around for yonks for 19 yet still got out playing a loose shot so what is the difference apart from one scored 19 and the other scored 45.
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Post by Biltong Wed 18 Dec - 8:26

This has been a disappointing series for England so far, they must salvage something from this series even though it is gone.

I haven't seen much of the series, so I am not sure where the problems are.
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 18 Dec - 8:30

CaledonianCraig wrote:
Olly wrote:People saying about England coming up to a period of change, but the Aussies are no spring chickens themselves.

Will be interesting to see how many play in the next series, I think this will be Clarke's last hurrah ashes wise...

A good point Olly and one I was going to make on a fresh topic.

However, I feel the Aussies have replacements waiting in the wings already such as James Faulkner and Nile-Coultner on the bowling front and also one or two others who are tipped for big things. Not so sure on th batting side of things (perhaps someone can help) but I have heard names mentioned by Shane Warne. Conversely, it is much tougher spotting players set to step into the England side.

Don't see any young batters on the horizon for Australia bar Maddinson (who is meh)

We've got some decent youngsters with potential, Balance, Taylor, Root, Bairstow all batting wise whilst Cook is still relatively young. Stokes/Woakes as all rounders, Buttler as a keeper potentially, likes of Finn, Mills, Meaker with the ball and Broad is maturing now it seems. I'm not panicking completely
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Post by kingraf Wed 18 Dec - 8:31

I've written extensive on KP which seem to be ignored so I'm going to abbreviate this in point form, and hope for the best

- KP can't grind, it's not in his makeup
- he couldn't grind when he failed to make the Natal side, he cried racism, and used his connections to make it in England
- he couldn't grind when he was kicked off the team, basically just got "reintegrated"
-he couldn't grind on 96 in the 2008 series vs S.A. in the third test, his team 1-0 down, and needing something big from him (they lost)
- So you can't change him. You have two options
1) drop him
2) take him warts and all.

We can't keep going through this.
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Post by Hoggy_Bear Wed 18 Dec - 8:32

Think Root should open for the whole summer. They obviously think that's his eventual position and, while Carberry's done OK, surely the time is right to back Root as Cook's long-term partner.
Bell at 3 is a no-brainer. KP will probably stick around for a bit, but Ballance or Taylor will need to be brought in at 5. Still not genuinely convinced that Stokes is a top 6 batsman, but I'm sure he'll be given a run in the side now. That, I think, could give England an opportunity to try some sort of variation. Maybe a leg-spinner or left-arm pace bowler.
Prior is a problem. He'll be given a few more tests yet to regain some form, but if he doesn't? Is Bairstow a test class 'keeper? Probably not at this moment in time but then neither was Prior when he started out.
Anderson is still one of our best three bowlers but I can see a case for trying out at least one young pace man at some point in the summer, possibly against Sri Lanka.
And, finally, Swann. It depends on whether he retires or not. Still think he's the best spinner we've got, so if he's available we should pick him. Monty's a decent stand-in, but after that do we really have anyone coming through? Maybe we should just pick Moeen Ali at 5 and Scott Borthwick at 8, and just play 3 seamers + Stokes?

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 8:34

kingraf wrote:I've written extensive on KP which seem to be ignored so I'm going to abbreviate this in point form, and hope for the best

- KP can't grind, it's not in his makeup
- he couldn't grind when he failed to make the Natal side, he cried racism, and used his connections to make it in England
- he couldn't grind when he was kicked off the team, basically just got "reintegrated"
-he couldn't grind on 96 in the 2008 series vs S.A. in the third test, his team 1-0 down, and needing something big from him (they lost)
- So you can't change him. You have two options
1) drop him
2) take him warts and all.

We can't keep going through this.

Agreed.  OK 
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 18 Dec - 8:36

KP is not at his best when he's trying to grind, so I dunno why people would want him too. Same with Prior really.

And KP has grinded (is that even a word?) before
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Post by Scratch Wed 18 Dec - 8:40

Disagreed

No one is expecting him to become a Boycott but his shot selection is often ridiculous.

I know this from being a mid-order promoted to 3. You can change your game and if you are a major part of an England team defending the Ashes you bloody well better be able to.
He doesn't have to try and put the half volley on a plane to New Zealand at every opportunity


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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 8:40

Olly wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:
Olly wrote:People saying about England coming up to a period of change, but the Aussies are no spring chickens themselves.

Will be interesting to see how many play in the next series, I think this will be Clarke's last hurrah ashes wise...

A good point Olly and one I was going to make on a fresh topic.

However, I feel the Aussies have replacements waiting in the wings already such as James Faulkner and Nile-Coultner on the bowling front and also one or two others who are tipped for big things. Not so sure on th batting side of things (perhaps someone can help) but I have heard names mentioned by Shane Warne. Conversely, it is much tougher spotting players set to step into the England side.

Don't see any young batters on the horizon for Australia bar Maddinson (who is meh)

We've got some decent youngsters with potential, Balance, Taylor, Root, Bairstow all batting wise whilst Cook is still relatively young. Stokes/Woakes as all rounders, Buttler as a keeper potentially, likes of Finn, Mills, Meaker with the ball and Broad is maturing now it seems. I'm not panicking completely

Root is already in the side and now established, Ballance I reckon has to play in one of these last two tests to see what he can do at test level, Bairstow I am less sure about as he never set the world alight last summer in the Ashes, Cook is already in the side and the rest you mention you feel should be beginning to get matches in the coming series in 2014. There is no point soldiering on with ageing players and ignoring youmher talent otherwise England run a big risk of being like Australia were a few years ago.
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Post by Mike Selig Wed 18 Dec - 8:43

I assume all those being so critical of KP's shot selection (2nd innings - 1st innings is a different matter) also had a go when Stokes ran down the pitch 2nd ball to Lyon and plonked him into the stands over long-on? No? Thought not... so execution rather than shot selection is the issue. I also assume all those castigating him were hyper critical that time when he smashed Sri Lanka all over the place scoring 150odd at a run a ball on a pitch where everyone else struggled to bat at more than 2 per over, thus earning England a 1-1 draw after they had collapsed appallingly in the first test. No again?

OK you get the point. As Craig has said, you can't have it both ways. KP is a potential match-winner and you can't expect him to play those kind of special innings, and then castigate him when he gets out to a poor shot. It is worth noting that by being positive he scored 45. England weren't going to bat out 5 sessions and a bit for a draw anyway.

Returning to the original question, the key is succession planning. Invest in the youngsters you feel will eventually take over from these 4 players, have them in and around the squad (e.g. if Finn will lead the attack once Anderson is done, he should play ahead of Bresnan). Don't throw all the youngsters in at once (which is the mistake Australia made, and then compounded by shuffling the youngsters in, out and around the team); make sure you have some experienced heads to bring them on.

As for personnel, I would guess Vince or Taylor will replace KP, Buttler Prior, Finn Anderson and ?? Swann. All those guys have a bit about them. Don't think the future is that bleak.

Australia have someone like Finch (or Robson if they get there first) to replace Rogers in a year or two; replacing Clarke will be trickier, Hughes has been messed around too much and has too many technical issues, so it may have to be someone like Alex Doolan. Wade will replace Haddin (he is as good a batsman, but his glovework needs improving), or if not then Paine, and there is a plethora of bowling options.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 8:44

Scratch wrote:Disagreed

No one is expecting him to become a Boycott but his shot selection is often ridiculous.

I know this from being a mid-order promoted to 3. You can change your game and if you are a major part of an England team defending the Ashes you bloody well better be able to.
He doesn't have to try and put the half volley on a plane to New Zealand at every opportunity


It is ridiculous when he gets out but I'll bet to you it wasn't ridiculous when he was hitting huge scores V Australia on the tour of 2010/2011. Sorry if I sound like I am having a go but Pietersen will never change so no point in trying so if you want him to be stopped playing in such a way for England you have only one option - axe him from the side.
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Post by Scratch Wed 18 Dec - 8:49

Sorry

Let me get this straight, a play of his stature batting at 4 for england can't be expected to temper his game and use his brain for the Team.

As for the 'being positive scored 45 ' argument…..meaningless. WE WERE TRYING TO SAVE THE ASHES. Root had the right idea and what it needed was some plod, not to go out and score a quick 50

Fine, if KP cannot be expected to even attempt to support that, there is no KP in Team.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 8:55

Scratch you are living in cloud cuckoo land if you thought England could block for five and a bit sessions to save the test. It was never going to happen in a million years. I said a couple of days ago prior to England's second innings they had to go out and play shots not be like timid mice like they have been for much of this series. I think 60 overs or maybe 70 at most is the longest England have batted this series and so they were never going to survive for around 160 overs that is a certainty.

And look at the plaudits Ben Stokes is getting and did he play to survive? No - he played shots but his thought process was just clearer and unclouded with the mental baggage that Pietersen has just now.
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Post by Scratch Wed 18 Dec - 8:59

Maybe

If that is what is required to save the Ashes we at least try don't we? Perhaps we fail but the impression KP gives is we don't even try. If we can't expect senior players to lead by being flexible then why even bother with the last 2 tests, we can't beat Australia playing this way.

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Post by Mike Selig Wed 18 Dec - 9:07

Scratch wrote:
Let me get this straight, a play of his stature batting at 4 for england can't be expected to temper his game and use his brain for the Team.

That's not what I'm saying. I'm arguing that you adapt yourself to the conditions, the situation, whilst still playing to your strengths. You can't simply flick a switch and become Boycott (or vice-versa become Warner). In the situation, KP made a judgement call to take on Lyon, and narrowly failed; I think personally he had the right idea, hit Lyon out of the attack. What I would criticise is having not got to the pitch, did he have to go through with it, or could he have checked it for 1? But then there was a straight short mid-wicket, and pushing a ball down to long-on playing out in front of you, you can easily chip it straight to the guy... ifs and buts...

Scratch wrote:As for the 'being positive scored 45 ' argument…..meaningless. WE WERE TRYING TO SAVE THE ASHES. Root had the right idea and what it needed was some plod, not to go out and score a quick 50

Fine, if KP cannot be expected to even attempt to support that, there is no KP in Team.

Rubbish. England had more of a chance of winning that game than drawing it. Root plodded because at the moment that's what he does at number 3, and all too often it lets the opposition dictate terms.

Even were England trying to save the test, sometimes the best way of doing that is to take calculated risks (gets rid of close fielders, knocks the bowlers off their lengths); you can't just block 5 sessions, eventually you'll either play a tired shot or the bowlers will bowl something too good for you.

To quote another example when KP twice top-edged Lee into the stands at fine-leg at the Oval in 2005, did you criticise his shot selection? Though not. Yet England were undoubtedly trying to save that game...

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 9:08

No Scratch - batting for a draw? That is trying for negativity and giving up on the golden prize - a test win. Did you not notice how much better England looked when batting with aggression rather than Cat-footing around trying to prod and kick the ball away. Blocking for five and bit sessions was not an option. Heck if Stokes and Prior had survived until lunch England would have begun to fancy their chances and why was that? Because they had played aggressively (KP included) and scored quickly at over three and a half runs an over so by that time only two results were on the cards - Australia win or England win.
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Post by kingraf Wed 18 Dec - 9:09

Yip that's about it, Craig. I've got to go sleep now, I have an early morning, as I'm off to the Wanderers tomorrow... and I have suite seats (days 1-4)!!! After years of commoner seating (think my family has had season tickets since I was born or something), I've upgraded to the big leagues.

So a quick rundown of my thoughts
Carberry - 33-years old. Not quite Quinton de Kock, but he could be a great plug-in for two-three years while England find someone who can open who isn't Nick Compton.

Root - Need to ask him where he wants to bat, and give him a run there. There's a great article on the "curse of the utily back" (rugby of course), These guys end up stop gaps roaming the backline, and never reach 100 caps. Need to specialise. Applies in cricket as well.

Cook - something's sound great in theory, but fail at the litmus... Cook can't captain. No imagination, no invention, and the add-on stress might be negatively impacting his batting.

Swann - I'd think he earned the right to do what he wants to do. But he needs something. Soon.

JA - never rated him, but he is much better than he has put out. Alternatively, there is a chance that his 2010/2011 form was an extended purple patch, and while he isn't this poor, he simply isn't as good as many think.

Broad - been England's best bowler for two years now. I know making a bowler your captain isn't the done thing. But he cant be anymore formulaic than Cook, and he has the character to take captaincy as a talisman, not a boulder.

Night all, going to get drunk on the best champers and whiskey this side of the equator, for the next four days, so I may not type in any insightful posts for a while!
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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 9:11

kingraf wrote:Yip that's about it, Craig. I've got to go sleep now, I have an early morning, as I'm off to the Wanderers tomorrow... and I have suite seats (days 1-4)!!! After years of commoner seating (think my family has had season tickets since I was born or something), I've upgraded to the big leagues.

So a quick rundown of my thoughts
Carberry - 33-years old. Not quite Quinton de Kock, but he could be a great plug-in for two-three years while England find someone who can open who isn't Nick Compton.

Root - Need to ask him where he wants to bat, and give him a run there. There's a great article on the "curse of the utily back" (rugby of course), These guys end up stop gaps roaming the backline, and never reach 100 caps. Need to specialise. Applies in cricket as well.

Cook - something's sound great in theory, but fail at the litmus... Cook can't captain. No imagination, no invention, and the add-on stress might be negatively impacting his batting.

Swann - I'd think he earned the right to do what he wants to do. But he needs something. Soon.

JA - never rated him, but he is much better than he has put out. Alternatively, there is a chance that his 2010/2011 form was an extended purple patch, and while he isn't this poor, he simply isn't as good as many think.

Broad - been England's best bowler for two years now. I know making a bowler your captain isn't the done thing. But he cant be anymore formulaic than Cook, and he has the character to take captaincy as a talisman, not a boulder.

Night all, going to get drunk on the best champers and whiskey this side of the equator, for the next four days, so I may not type in any insightful posts for a while!

Enjoy the Wanderers and the whisky kingraf.  OK
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Post by Scratch Wed 18 Dec - 10:50

Well I am in Boycott's camp on KP…..more brains in a pork pie.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 18 Dec - 18:32

Ah Geoffrey. The man whose ideal batsman is......himself.

All each player could do going out to bat in Perth in that second innings was go out and play their natural game which I believe most did. Is it coincidence that the biggest run scorers were those who played aggressively? No. Scratching around for singles here and there brought about an hour or two's stay at the crease for around 20 runs for those until they got that peach of a ball or they played a loose shot - end result wicket lost with a meagre amassing of runs. Aggressive shot players managed to score runs more freely, manoeuvring the field around and actually make Johnson look toothless for a time. It paid off for Bell, Stokes and Pietersen. Besides Scratch why hang around when the prospect is batting with a tail that has been blown away more times than a windsock?
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Post by msp83 Wed 18 Dec - 19:02

KP's game is a positive one mostly. He has at times grinded his way to a score. Remember Joe Root's debut test? But that is not his way, and that's not the KP the opposition would fear. The moment KP puts away his shots, the opposition would feel that they've got him. I just knew that KP's first innings wasn't going to produce anything meaningful, but the 2nd innings effort gave me hope, and I am sure Australia would have viewed that 2nd innings effort with a touch of apprehension rather than the first innings effort where they'd have felt that they had him under control.......

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 19 Dec - 19:03

Spot on. When a bowling side ties down batsmen it allows them to dictate and set more attacking fields which in turn brings wickets. KP playing negatively would only have heightened that and I have no doubt he would have lasted no longer than he did and for 20 or 30 less runs.

Anyway enough about KP's innings and should England now begin to look at younger options or run the risk of having a vacuum to fill in their team two or so years down the line?
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Post by Hoggy_Bear Thu 19 Dec - 20:07

CaledonianCraig wrote:
Anyway enough about KP's innings and should England now begin to look at younger options or run the risk of having a vacuum to fill in their team two or so years down the line?

Certainly think we do. Indeed we need to look at the options to address certain positions in the team immediately. Look at an opening partner for Cook, if that is not to be Root. Look at a middle-order batsman or two. Look at a third seamer.
As you suggest, we also need to start looking for the successor to Swann. Monty will do OK for a year or two, and the hopeful emergence of Stokes as an all-rounder will give them a little more leeway with selecting other bowling options and giving them a shot. In the longer term (or perhaps the shorter) Prior might also need replacing. So play Bairstow as 'keeper now, or look for other options?
But who are the youngsters? Robson, possibly? Ballance? Taylor? Moeen Ali? Tymal Mills? Chris Jordan? Reece Topley? James Harris? Will/should Kerrigan get another shot? Danny Briggs? Ollie Rayner? Who else?

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Thu 19 Dec - 23:02

Mike Selig wrote:
Scratch wrote:
Let me get this straight, a play of his stature batting at 4 for england can't be expected to temper his game and use his brain for the Team.

That's not what I'm saying. I'm arguing that you adapt yourself to the conditions, the situation, whilst still playing to your strengths. You can't simply flick a switch and become Boycott (or vice-versa become Warner). In the situation, KP made a judgement call to take on Lyon, and narrowly failed; I think personally he had the right idea, hit Lyon out of the attack. What I would criticise is having not got to the pitch, did he have to go through with it, or could he have checked it for 1? But then there was a straight short mid-wicket, and pushing a ball down to long-on playing out in front of you, you can easily chip it straight to the guy... ifs and buts...

Scratch wrote:As for the 'being positive scored 45 ' argument…..meaningless. WE WERE TRYING TO SAVE THE ASHES. Root had the right idea and what it needed was some plod, not to go out and score a quick 50

Fine, if KP cannot be expected to even attempt to support that, there is no KP in Team.

Rubbish. England had more of a chance of winning that game than drawing it. Root plodded because at the moment that's what he does at number 3, and all too often it lets the opposition dictate terms.

Even were England trying to save the test, sometimes the best way of doing that is to take calculated risks (gets rid of close fielders, knocks the bowlers off their lengths); you can't just block 5 sessions, eventually you'll either play a tired shot or the bowlers will bowl something too good for you.

To quote another example when KP twice top-edged Lee into the stands at fine-leg at the Oval in 2005, did you criticise his shot selection? Though not. Yet England were undoubtedly trying to save that game...


Mike Im largely in agreement with you here. I dont think it was so much the decision to attack Lyon that was the issue, it was the decision to attack regardless of the ball and with a wild swing rather than a measured shot. And perhaps the decision to attack when his head wasnt clear and his eye fully in....especially when Australia had once again specifically placed fielders to capitalise on what they expected he would and did attempt.

That said there are very few players who really can adapt their game to every situation. And weve seen planty of examples with the Australians of them talking about how they feel so much happier and are playing better now they have been told to just go out and do what they do best whether thats bat hard, bowl fast, or just be obnoxious.
KP has always been a better player when hes felt in charge both of the game and of his own role. Maybe thats a weakness in him to some extent, but it doenst suddenly make him worthless or solely to blame for Cook/Carberry/Trott or Roots inability to anchor an innings on regular basis recently.

He may be mentally shot as a player (havent we been here before?) but swapping him for yet another plodder wont on its own win England many matches in the next couple of weeks. And regardless of that he will still retire with a test average to rival almost any England batsman in the modern game you could care to mention.


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