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Where now for England?

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

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 CaledonianCraig Sun 05 Jan 2014, 1:40 pm

Good post.

Firstly, Cook would remain in my side despite calls for him to be dropped/rested. His opening partner is a poser but don't think Carberry (at 33) is who we should be looking at for the future. I'd opt for either Sam Robson or maybe would prefer Alex Lees who can also bowl leg spin. The No.3 spot I'd give to Bell and if KP wants to carry on then keep him at No.4. Ballance deserves another chance and looked composed but was undone by great deliveries rather than poor shot choice. Obviously, Stokes has impressed Down Under and would keep his spot at No.6. I would stick with Borthwick for now as four wickets on your debut in difficult circumstances is no mean feat. As for the wicket-keeper this is a poser. If Prior can find some form with the bat on the county circuit I'd put him back in but if not then perhaps Davies for a test to see what he can do. Broad and Anderson would keep their places and the final seamer spot I'd give to Onions or Finn.
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Post by Biltong Sun 05 Jan 2014, 1:43 pm

I think it has to do with mindset and attitude.

England seemed to just throw in the towel, no fight back, and little spirit.

You would expect the senior players to at least step up, the question is what harm has been inflicted to the team ethos when Trott and Swann left mid tour?

Could not have been very good.
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:35 pm

Hoggy_Bear wrote:
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

For me Mills isn't good enough, I'd like to see Finn given a go in the side. By not actually playing it's enhanced his reputation it seems, but he probably does deserve a shot at redemption. I must point out it's been almost 4 years now since he started out his test career, time to turn that potential into actual performances.

I'd bring Prior back in. He's only 31 I believe, he's got another 4/5 years left in him. Some time away will hopefully have done him good, get his mind back and regain some form. If not Prior, I'd like to see Buttler given a shot, not a fan of Bairstow.

I'm not sure Borthwick is ready yet, certainly not as a bowler. I wouldn't rush him into the side, I'd let him ply his trade in the county scene/on Lions tours for a bit, and keep him around the squad. I think Monty should come in, can do a job for next summer certainly.

Ballance showed some potential, and if they're gonna move Root up to open then he should bat 5. If they're keeping Root at 5, then I'd like to see someone like Robson open, not a retread like Compton or Carberry.

Stokes is a shoe in, but I'd also like to see Woakes again at some point. I think he's got a lot of potential with bat and ball, if you could work him in, but dunno how (unless Anderson retires)

As for the coach I think Flower should be given a shot to turn it round. He's proved himself a good coach over the years, and if he's still up for the fight then he should be given the summer. Gooch has to go, our batting has become awful under him, and the youngsters (like Bairstow) don't seem to be ironing out their technical problems under him either.

So my XI would be:

Cook (C)
Root
Bell
KP
Ballance
Stokes
Prior
Woakes
Broad
Finn
Panesar

(I realise Anderson will play instead of Woakes, but I have a feeling he might retire)
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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:46 pm

my side would be

Cook
Robson
Root
Bell
Ballance
Stokes
Buttler (wk)
Borthwick
Anderson
Broad
Finn

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:48 pm

To be honest Olly it wouldn't surprise me if we get a retirement from the squad but I don't think it will be Anderson. Swann mentioned that when he told Anderson he was retiring Jimmy told him he was carrying on playing.

More likely candidates for retirement are Pietersen, Bell or Prior.
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Post by Born Slippy Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:50 pm

I'd be surprised if Jimmy retires. He's only 31. Think he will go on to at least the next ashes.

I would like to see:

Cook
Robson
KP
Bell
Root
Stokes
Prior
Broad (c)
Treadwell
Finn
Anderson

Think having our most important batsman opening and captaining is a recipe for disaster. Too much pressure and I'm unconvinced he's much of a strategist. Not sure about Broad as captain but there aren't any other obvious candidates.

Prior has to come back. He's only 31 and you don't put the best wk batsman of the last few years out to pasture after one bad year. Finn needs to be given a sustained run in the hope he can get his confidence back.

The spinner is a real problem. I think it's time to move past Monty. Just too much of a liability - particularly if Finn and Jimmy are playing. Treadwell possibly as a stop-gap but I'd ideally like to see someone younger given a shot. Borthwick showed a bit of promise but isn't ready yet.

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Post by subhranshu.kumar.5 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:51 pm

Nice post Sir Hoggy.
Results of all 10 test matches are clear. Many of my English friends predicting 10-0 at the start of Ashes back in July, but sorry England confined to only three test win and that too in one they were lagged in the first inning.

Results apart, where they got themselves wrong. It was neither the bowling nor the pitch condition, they lagged in batting. When India series was going on which England won 2-1, if we go in details we will find that whole batting was dependent on KP and Cook, though I will not forget Prior's handy innings. The last test match was a batting show by both the teams.

Going ahead in NZ tour, bowlers failed to click and so are the batsmen. Prior's inning in the last inning of last test match saved some pride.
Back at home, Compton was sliced, I don't know why.

If we go through the home series against Australia in July-August again bowlers bundled Aussies batting and they lost. But the same could not continued here.
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Post by KP_fan Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:51 pm

Environment created by Flower led to 5-0
not many can disagree

"

http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013-14/content/story/707353.html


there have certainly been mistakes. It was a mistake to bring three tall fast bowlers on tour - all of them endured a miserable trip - it was a mistake to drop Nick Compton before the previous Ashes series - England have not scored 400 since Compton last made a century for them - and it was a mistake to omit Graham Onions.

The selectors may well reflect on the inclusion of Jonny Bairstow as reserve wicketkeeper and the call-up of Scott Borthwick as replacement spin bowler, too. They could not have predicted the breakdown of Trott or the retirement of Swann but they should have been able to foresee Chris Tremlett's lack of pace, Steven Finn's struggles with rhythm and the lack of cover at the top of the order.

There were some obvious contrasts between the sides throughout the series. While Michael Clarke celebrated the "comfortable environment" in which his team operated, while their coach encouraged the team to enjoy their work, to relax and revel in the atmosphere of an Ashes series - the series that every member of their side should have dreamed of playing in since the moment they discovered the joys of this great game - the England team moped around as if they had been asked to defuse bombs while discovering a new energy source and a lasting peace in the Middle East.



It may be worth reflecting on how quickly things can change. Not so long ago, Australia were whitewashed in a series by India. They have recovered with largely the same group of players - the return to form of Johnson is clearly crucial - but with a change of coach. Simply by changing the coach, they changed the environment in which the team operated and, in time, the results followed. Gone were the homework assignments from Mickey Arthur and in came 'joke of the day' from Darren Lehmann. It sounds small, but it represents much.

There is an obvious lesson here for England. The current team have experienced too much work and not enough play. They have experienced too much stick and not enough carrot. They have experienced too much of one thing for too long. The batting coach has failed to coax runs from the side, the bowling coach has failed to develop some talented young bowlers and the fielding coach has failed to prevent some awful errors. None can reflect on a successful tour.

It is anticipated that Andy Flower will request the full backing of the ECB before taking any decisions over his future. It is anticipated he will request full control of the team, the support staff and a final say in selection. It is anticipated that he will ask for full power so that he can take full responsibility. It is probably the only way things can be.

But that is not so different to how things are now. Short of offering Flower an invisibility cloak and a license to kill, he has been extended every advantage the ECB can offer already. And it has culminated in a 5-0 defeat.

Flower has been, without much doubt, the best cricket coach England have had. But unless he can reinvent himself and find another method, it is hard to see how he can continue.
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Post by Born Slippy Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:53 pm

KP is the only one to me who might retire and that's only because there are rich rewards for him of playing many years of IPL. He might decide he doesn't have the commitment any more to graft in test cricket. Bell again is too young to retire.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun 05 Jan 2014, 2:59 pm

Born Slippy wrote:KP is the only one to me who might retire and that's only because there are rich rewards for him of playing many years of IPL. He might decide he doesn't have the commitment any more to graft in test cricket. Bell again is too young to retire.

I'm sure KP did an interview with Sky saying he wanted to continue playing Tests until the South Africa tour in 2015, and go out after that.

Just a gut feeling on Anderson, I don't expect him to retire
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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 3:10 pm

craig why on earth would bell retire?! Are you crazy?

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 05 Jan 2014, 3:14 pm

CF wrote:craig why on earth would bell retire?! Are you crazy?

No I don't think he will retire but is one of those big players who never performed in the series - just a hunch that one or two may feel mentally not up to the task anymore.
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun 05 Jan 2014, 3:18 pm

CF wrote:my side would be

Cook
Robson
Root
Bell
Ballance
Stokes
Buttler (wk)
Borthwick
Anderson
Broad
Finn

Why no KP then CF?
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Post by ShankyCricket Sun 05 Jan 2014, 3:36 pm

Cook (c)
Robson
Bell
Pietersen
Root
Stokes
Prior (wk)
Tredwell (I know he's not a wicket taker in FC but for now you need a holding spinner in England and unlike Monty, Tredwell offers something in other depts)
Broad
Anderson
3rd seamer (someone who can take over from Anderson as the attack leader and I don't think its Finn)

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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 4:04 pm

The same thing happened two years ago at the UAE when Pakistan thrashed England in a similar manner - which included Pakistan missing many of its best players due to the match fixing scandal.  However, there was no call for whole sale changes then - just better preparation.  I suggested at the time that they should choose horses for courses ... i.e. those players most suited to the specific conditions to be found in the overseas series / tournament - but that idea was given short shrift - with the reply that top cricketeers should be able to handle all conditions.

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Post by Hoggy_Bear Sun 05 Jan 2014, 4:10 pm

Nore Staat wrote:The same thing happened two years ago at the UAE when Pakistan thrashed England in a similar matter.  There was no call for whole sale changes then - just better preparation.  I suggested at the time that they should choose horses for courses ... i.e. those players most suited to the specific conditions to be found in the overseas series / tournament - but that idea was given short shrift - with the reply that top cricketeers should be able to handle all conditions.  

Don't think that even the performances in the UAE, poor as they were, were quite as spineless and inept as they've been in this series

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Post by JDizzle Sun 05 Jan 2014, 4:17 pm

Cook
Robson
KP
Taylor
Bell
Stokes
Prior
Woakes
Borthwick/Kerrigan
Broad
Anderson

There are some problems: Stokes is currently not economical enough to be part of a 4 man attack. He has plenty of potential, but he's not there yet. This leads to you not being able to take large punts on a spinner and a third seamer because you haven't got Stokes, along with Broad and Anderson, to fall back on if they are got after. So, you have either pick a steady third seamer i.e. Woakes or Onions, or a steady spinner i.e. Monty or Tredwell. You can't roll the dice with both selections otherwise it will mean a lot of bowling for Jimmy and Broad if it goes wrong.

The batting is easier. Carberry hasn't done enough to keep his place. He'd be useful as a stop gap, but he's made no runs so you need to start again. Robson is getting good reviews, I haven't seen much of him, but he sounds like the man who will get the next shot. Straight shoot out between Taylor, Ballance and Root for the number 4 slot. I'd go Taylor, but I'm biased.

Either you go with a young keeper, Buttler, and nail your colours to the mast with him or you pick another stop gap. Prior has to come back for me, his experience is invaluable and even if he never gets back to the level he was I would still back him to perform as well as Davies or Read.

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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 4:23 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:
CF wrote:craig why on earth would bell retire?! Are you crazy?

No I don't think he will retire but is one of those big players who never performed in the series - just a hunch that one or two may feel mentally not up to the task anymore.


 laughing   considering the 12 months previously including the summer just gone he has been scoring runs for fun...


olly- no KP because im convinced he will retire from test cricket now, and im not the only one who thinks that in the cricketing world, its a nasty rumour that won't go away and is getting stronger.

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Post by kingraf Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:01 pm

The South Africa tour is two years away - long time for KP to run on the motivation of retiring at home, I'd say?
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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:12 pm

It is easy to say sack everyone.  It is more difficult to select the second (third?) raters / untested novices in which to replace them with.  What's happened to Trott? Is that him on the scrap heap then?

Maybe judgement needs to be made over a series of series rather than on a one by one basis.

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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:15 pm

Nore Staat wrote:It is easy to say sack everyone.  It is more difficult to select the second (third?) raters / untested novices in which to replace them with.  What's happened to Trott? Is that him on the scrap heap then?  

Maybe judgement needs to be made over a series of series rather than on a one by one basis.

please do some research on why Trott went home, and then come back and post something half-decent.

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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:17 pm

CF wrote:
Nore Staat wrote:It is easy to say sack everyone.  It is more difficult to select the second (third?) raters / untested novices in which to replace them with.  What's happened to Trott? Is that him on the scrap heap then?  

Maybe judgement needs to be made over a series of series rather than on a one by one basis.

please do some research on why Trott went home, and then come back and post something half-decent.
What an awful reply - surely your response is covering up your own ignorance on the matter?

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Post by msp83 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:18 pm

"It is anticipated that Andy Flower will request the full backing of the ECB before taking any decisions over his future. It is anticipated he will request
full control of the team, the support staff and a final say in selection. It is anticipated that he will ask for full power so that he can take full responsibility.
It is probably the only way things can be."
If this anticipation is Andy's and not that of the media, then I'd say there is space for more problems. Flower is already overwhelmingly powerful in the management, and he gets his way mostly. Think his micromanagement approach has run its course, but it seems rather than learning his lessons, Flower is looking for even more of the same.
If England are to start a fresh, think Flower and his support staff will have to go. And that's where England should start.

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Post by kingraf Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:19 pm

problem with Trott is that with psychological complaints, it's generally a case of sooner rather than later. When a player leaves due to stress, the thought is if time away from the game is all he needs, then a few weeks of no practising should do the trick, the longer he is gone for the less likely a return is.
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Post by guildfordbat Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:24 pm

JDizzle wrote:Cook
Robson
KP
Taylor
Bell
Stokes
Prior
Woakes
Borthwick/Kerrigan
Broad
Anderson

There are some problems: Stokes is currently not economical enough to be part of a 4 man attack. He has plenty of potential, but he's not there yet. This leads to you not being able to take large punts on a spinner and a third seamer because you haven't got Stokes, along with Broad and Anderson, to fall back on if they are got after. So, you have either pick a steady third seamer i.e. Woakes or Onions, or a steady spinner i.e. Monty or Tredwell. You can't roll the dice with both selections otherwise it will mean a lot of bowling for Jimmy and Broad if it goes wrong.

The batting is easier. Carberry hasn't done enough to keep his place. He'd be useful as a stop gap, but he's made no runs so you need to start again. Robson is getting good reviews, I haven't seen much of him, but he sounds like the man who will get the next shot. Straight shoot out between Taylor, Ballance and Root for the number 4 slot. I'd go Taylor, but I'm biased.

Either you go with a young keeper, Buttler, and nail your colours to the mast with him or you pick another stop gap. Prior has to come back for me, his experience is invaluable and even if he never gets back to the level he was I would still back him to perform as well as Davies or Read.

I know it gives us some relief from the current pain and it's mainly a bit of mild entertaiment but I do think we need to keep a reasonably open mind on the team for the first Test for next summer. That Test against Sri Lanka isn't until mid June so the opening couple of months of the county season will be especially significant with several places up for grabs. Just on batsmen alone, I wouldn't rule in or out at this stage any of Root, Robson, Chopra, Carberry, Compton, Taylor, Ballance and probably a few others.

I'm also keen to see all of Cook, Bell and Pietersen playing and delivering in some of those early county matches. Their proven reputations will be good enough to get them in 'my team' at the start of summer 2014 but my patience with them will not be infinite.

As always, some good points above by JD about the need for balance which I'll latch on to. I've always been against playing Woakes in a 4 man attack as I don't believe he has enough penetration to trouble the best batsmen nor is he quite good enough to bat at 6 in Tests. However, he just might be the economical ying to Stokes' more expensive but wicket taking yang. He (Woakes) is definitely a decent batsman who would not be out of place at 7 or 8. Also importantly - thinking of some of our slip ups in this series - Woakes is a very good fielder which is too often overlooked.

Reserving the right to change most before May is out, I'll now plump for:

Cook (c)
Root [very much dependent upon his County Championship start]
Compton [his regular spot in the County Championship - and some public display of eating humble pie would be welcome!]
Pietersen
Bell
Stokes
Prior (w) [assuming back to near best - otherwise, Read with him and Woakes swapping batting places]
Woakes
Broad
Tredwell [holding role in every sense until a younger spinner comes through]
Anderson.

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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:27 pm

nobody can comment on whether Trott will return or not, because we simply don't know how bad his conditon is..obviously we all hope he makes a full and swift recovery, but the simple matter is that we don't know and have to plan for the future without him, and if he does make a comeback and then that will only strengthen our side.

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Post by msp83 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:33 pm

As for the team, unlike India who faced an 8-0 overseas whitewash, the senior players in this England side are not really in the retirement age. KP is 33, Bell and Anderson are also in their early 30s only. Prior is only 31 as well. They are quality players with a few more years to offer to the side. But it has become clear that they all need some fresh air, some fresh approach....... Flower doesn't seem to see things that way, he seems to want even more micromanagement. So they need a new coach.
But that doesn't mean the team need no changes. Of the 3 debutants England tried in the last game, I think only Garry Ballance is potential test class. Scott Borthwick might one day evolve into a batsman who can bowl a bit of parttime legspin. I will be very surprised if he develops into a frontline spinner anytime soon. England need a frontline spinner rather than a parttime one really, and regardless of 4 man or 5 man attack, Borthwick doesn't look likely to be that frontline spinner in the near future. I still think Monty Panesar is the best spinnr available for England now. But if they think Monty's personal issues are still affecting him and that his bowling has declined, they should go for someone like Tredwell. I know he's not one with a very impressive FC record and he's not that young any more, but he's a frontline spin option, has had good success in limited overs internationals, and bowl a lot of overs for a frontline spinner. He might not run through sides like Graeme Swann did, but he can easily bowl 15 overs out of 90 a day.

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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:34 pm

I would rather they gave kerrigan another go to prove it was just nerves, and that he's ready instead of using tredwell in test cricket!

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Post by Guest Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:38 pm

It has been said that the management system under Flowers et al has created stress on players when things don't work out well & they are required to buck up their ideas. I just hope Trott receives all the support he needs. England lost another great batsman - Trescothick - to a stress related illness - and of course the "Flowers regime" can't be blamed for that.

I agree with kingsraff it has to be "sooner" rather than later if at all. Maybe the stress is also partly related to "media" pressure & intrusion.

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Post by Carrotdude Sun 05 Jan 2014, 6:35 pm

I've been away from these boards for a while, mainly hiding behind my sofa until the Ashes were over but this is a pretty interesting topic with which to reappear.

Personally I'm very excited about the start of the county season now, well even more so than I was anyway, as it will act as a kind of shootout for a Test place in a way. England players will have to prove their form and a lot of players will feel like they have a chance if they start the season well, especially the wicket keepers. Here's my team for the first SL Test:

Cook
Root
Bell
KP
Taylor
Stokes
Buttler
Borthwick
Broad
Anderson
Onions

Cook stays as captain as there is no other option really and had been doing well until this series. Root gets himself back in with a good start to the season with Yorkshire and has another chance to cement his place as an opener. The number 5 slot is really up for grabs and there are numerous options but what I want to see is James Taylor starting the season on fire and making it impossible for the selectors to ignore him.

I think Stokes has to play after his impressive series in Australia seeing as he's the only player who wasn't completely terrible and I could really see Buttler getting the nod in Tests seeing as he's obviously fancied by England and has got himself in the limited overs sides. Onions hets the third seamer spot based on the fact he's the third best bowler in the country especially in our conditions, I know it's not exactly future planning but no one else stands out and we could do with a bit of experience tbh.

The spinner is the tricky one, I've gone with Borthwick for continuation reasons really plus the fact he's a decent batsman but we could quite easily play another batsman (Ballance?) and use just 4 main seamers plus Root to fill in if the pitch isn't going to help the spinners. Panesar isn't good enough to warrant his terrible fielding and batting, Tredwell is pretty nothing all round for me and Kerrigan might not be trusted yet by England after his debut debacle although I feel he's more likely than anyone to be the long term Swann replacement.

Did any of that make sense? Very Happy

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Post by guildfordbat Sun 05 Jan 2014, 6:57 pm

Carrotdude wrote:

.... Did any of that make sense? Very Happy


No.


 Wink Good to have you back, Carrot.

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Post by msp83 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:00 pm

Carrotdude wrote:I've been away from these boards for a while, mainly hiding behind my sofa until the Ashes were over but this is a pretty interesting topic with which to reappear.

Personally I'm very excited about the start of the county season now, well even more so than I was anyway, as it will act as a kind of shootout for a Test place in a way. England players will have to prove their form and a lot of players will feel like they have a chance if they start the season well, especially the wicket keepers. Here's my team for the first SL Test:

Cook
Root
Bell
KP
Taylor
Stokes
Buttler
Borthwick
Broad
Anderson
Onions

Cook stays as captain as there is no other option really and had been doing well until this series. Root gets himself back in with a good start to the season with Yorkshire and has another chance to cement his place as an opener. The number 5 slot is really up for grabs and there are numerous options but what I want to see is James Taylor starting the season on fire and making it impossible for the selectors to ignore him.

I think Stokes has to play after his impressive series in Australia seeing as he's the only player who wasn't completely terrible and I could really see Buttler getting the nod in Tests seeing as he's obviously fancied by England and has got himself in the limited overs sides. Onions hets the third seamer spot based on the fact he's the third best bowler in the country especially in our conditions, I know it's not exactly future planning but no one else stands out and we could do with a bit of experience tbh.

The spinner is the tricky one, I've gone with Borthwick for continuation reasons really plus the fact he's a decent batsman but we could quite easily play another batsman (Ballance?) and use just 4 main seamers plus Root to fill in if the pitch isn't going to help the spinners. Panesar isn't good enough to warrant his terrible fielding and batting, Tredwell is pretty nothing all round for me and Kerrigan might not be trusted yet by England after his debut debacle although I feel he's more likely than anyone to be the long term Swann replacement.

Did any of that make sense? Very Happy
Well most of it makes sense. some of the points are arguable, such as Root back in as opener. But the one thing that doesn't make much sense for me is the suggestion that England could play a batsman in place of a frontline spinner and expect Joe Root to act as a fill in bowler.
I've been saying this for long, and have had a few debates on a similar formulation with a few South African friends. A frontline spinner is an absolute must in most conditions in most attacks. Early English conditions might offer a lot to the seamers and the spinner might not do a lot of bowling. But even then, England's attack is not one that can blast through batting lineups with pace, and one partnership might be enough to blunt the new ball and provide a platform for the batting side. In such conditions you'd need a frontline spinner, even one like Robin Peterson would do, if the matches reach day 5, the spinner can be expected to play a more important role even in early season conditions in England. Besides, if England want Alastair Cook to play all games when's he's fit and available, they should have the spinner bowling a decent number of overs otherwise the captain can spend half the games out of the side due to overrate problems!.

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Post by msp83 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:03 pm

The thought that the likes of JP Duminy, Joe Root or Steen Smith can be the led spinners of their respective sides is a non-starter for me. We are talking about test cricket, they all can be useful parttimers with the ball, but none of them are anywhere near good enough to be a frontline spin option for their sides.

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Post by Mike Selig Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:05 pm

Evening all,

I see there has been a lot of discussion about Flower's future (or not) with this England side, and I am going to pretend that you are all interested in my thoughts on the matter. In the meantime, I believe this

Nore Staat wrote:It is easy to say sack everyone.  It is more difficult to select the second (third?) raters / untested novices in which to replace them with.

is a very salient point.

When people start talking in terms of "we need to change things", "heads should roll after this" etc. I wonder whether they believe players should be dropped as a punishment for doing badly, or because they genuinely believe others can do better. The latter is fair enough, the former is IMO entirely stupid. The argument is often backed up with the equally nonsense "if I did as poorly at my job as [insert latest target here] has done, I'd be sacked", which is probably false, and certainly irrelevant - whereas each "job" in the England cricket team has maybe at most 2 or 3 people who could do it adequately (or hopefully better), I guess most jobs would have significantly more, so that when you lose your job as a result of a monumental error you are replaced by somebody who could do the job as well, this is not necessarily the case for the England cricket team.

I have in the past made the mistake of making changes "for changes sake" (as Andy Strauss put it very eloquently) in a losing team, and I promise you, the players see through it, and don't fall for it.

The principle of selecting a cricket side at this level, in 9 out of 10 matches, is or should be fairly simple: to pick the combination of 11 players out of those available which gives you the best chance of winning the game, whilst keeping an eye on the future. There are times when it may be a good idea to "have a look at someone" like I believe England did this test, and I don't necessarily blame them, but most of the time, that is it. Indeed, you could make a case that England's experimentation in the final test at the Oval last summer (that does seem a long time ago) handed an initiative to the Australians which they never relinquished (I believe such an argument would be overstating things, but it is interesting that as England were messing around with Kerrigan and Woakes, Australia for the first time got their team full of players playing in the right position, Warner as an opener, etc.).

With that in mind, and with some regret, I would argue against picking Borthwick this summer. His bowling is simply not quite good enough yet. Added to that, Sri Lanka and India play spin well, and the pitches will probably not be spin friendly (if England know what's good for them). Don't get me wrong, I liked a lot of what I saw from Borthwick at Sydney, but can England afford a spinner who is going at 5 an over and who the captain doesn't trust 100%? The question is of course rhetorical. I appreciate the argument that "Borthwick is the future" and have time for it, but the time to pick Borthwick as your main spinner is if and when he is the best spinner in England, or close enough to it. At the moment I don't believe that to be the case. England should go for Tredwell, or maybe have a look at Kerrigan. I'm afraid I thought Panesar was awful on this tour (what seems to have been forgotten amongst the shambles of Swann bowling poorly and Cook barely using him is just how poor he was at both Adelaide and Melbourne).

Regarding the rest, 3rd seamer is a problem. I just don't think Mills is anywhere near good enough, sorry Hoggy. The issue is that if England want to pick Stokes, and even more so if they pick Borthwick, they simply need their 3rd seamer to be able to provide some control. Yes I know loads on here hate the word, but the truth is Siddle, Watson and Lyon played a key part in this ashes win by drying up the runs and allowing Johnson and Harris to rest suitably; conversely, Australia knew that once they saw off Broad and Anderson, there were runs to be had, and indeed often cashed in (this applies as much to the supposedly economical Bresnan as anyone else tried). In reality England can probably only afford one Stokes type bowler - someone to bowl aggressively and make things happen; if you pick 2, then Anderson and at times Broad will be overbowled and have to play the containing role. Particularly with a novice spinner.

Finn of course when he was bowling at his best would have been ideal. We shall have to see what his early season form is like.

guildford's call for Woakes is intriguing and has merit: as a 3rd seamer he doesn't offer enough threat, but as a 4th seamer to give your main bowlers a break and pick up (hopefully) the odd wicket? A bit like Watson? It is certainly worth considering...

Onto Flower.

First I should admit bias: I believe Andy Flower has not only been England's greatest ever head coach (the distinction between "head coach" and "coach" is an important one, the latter is about specific technical, tactical, physical or mental work, whereas the former is about managing the whole thing), but also is still amongst the top 2 head coaches in the world (Gary Kirsten, since you ask).

There is no doubt that England's play has stagnated over the last 2 or so years. I believe they have become a bit one-dimensional and fixed in their idea; their gameplans have relied to some extent on the opposition playing badly, and their limitations have been put into stark relief by this series. The mark of a great head coach is how he adapts, responds to challenges, keeps challenging himself and his philosophy, and his players, takes on new ideas etc. It is very hard, once you have been around a few years and particularly when things are going well, and I admit freely that Flower has fallen short in this regard.

It is clear that a fresh approach is needed. The question is therefore whether Flower can provide this fresh approach, or whether someone can provide it better (we return to my first point, which is just as valid for coaches and head coaches). I still believe Flower is the best man for the job; I believe in his interviews he has acknowledged the need for a fresh start, and that this crushing defeat is just what is needed to spur him on further - indeed I think he is hungry for the chance to put things right, and chomping at the bit to show he can. I would stick with him, not because he's earned that chance, but because I genuinely think that if he is prepared to take a fresh approach (and I believe he is) then his fresh approach will be better than that of any other available coach. Who else is there? I certainly wouldn't give the job to Giles (more on that); the other main options would be Stewart (who has hardly been a riveting success at Surrey) or Fraser from what I understand. They would be fine I'm sure, but are surely not (yet) in Flower's class.

I would change the batting coach - Gooch has shown time and time again as a player and now a coach that he isn't all that adaptable. He has done some really good things in instilling discipline into this team's batting, but this has now gone too far to the point where some players seem afraid of expressing themselves.

I would also reconsider Giles's place as head of the ODI team - England have long used the ODI side as a feeder team to the test team, but I believe things have stagnated further under Giles; let's not forget that the first messing around of Finn from a management perspective (there was the thing with his action, which is as much the fault of Finn than anyone IMO) came when he was dropped for the Champions Trophy, having led England's one-day attack for a while. I'm not going to go into the whole Rankin thing again... If England are to succeed with this fresh start, they will need the ODI side to come on board and play more freely as well.

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Post by msp83 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:05 pm

Regardless of Graeme Swann's strong recommendation, I don't see Borthwick doing a much better job than what the likes of Duminy and Samuels usually do.

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Post by Mike Selig Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:10 pm

I agree totally with msp's views on having a specialist spinner.

For what it's worth, Cook probably to stay on as captain due to lack of other options, but I'm not that keen on him. Just doesn't seem a natural leader. Broad? KP (only slightly tongue in cheek)? Prior?

Prior probably remains England's best bet as keeper. It is not particularly encouraging for Bairstow that he didn't do any better than Prior when the latter has been in the worst form of his life. If his form continues to be so poor in the early parts of the county season then maybe try someone else, but who? Buttler is surely not ready yet (another couple of years)... so we're back to a stop-gap, or Davies (who England don't seem to rate), or Kieswetter (please no)?

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Post by Stella Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:25 pm

My team for the first test of the summer.

Cook
Root
Bell
Pietersen
Ballane
Stokes
Prior
Broad
Finn
Anderson
Monty
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Post by Carrotdude Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:28 pm

msp83 wrote:
Carrotdude wrote:I've been away from these boards for a while, mainly hiding behind my sofa until the Ashes were over but this is a pretty interesting topic with which to reappear.

Personally I'm very excited about the start of the county season now, well even more so than I was anyway, as it will act as a kind of shootout for a Test place in a way. England players will have to prove their form and a lot of players will feel like they have a chance if they start the season well, especially the wicket keepers. Here's my team for the first SL Test:

Cook
Root
Bell
KP
Taylor
Stokes
Buttler
Borthwick
Broad
Anderson
Onions

Cook stays as captain as there is no other option really and had been doing well until this series. Root gets himself back in with a good start to the season with Yorkshire and has another chance to cement his place as an opener. The number 5 slot is really up for grabs and there are numerous options but what I want to see is James Taylor starting the season on fire and making it impossible for the selectors to ignore him.

I think Stokes has to play after his impressive series in Australia seeing as he's the only player who wasn't completely terrible and I could really see Buttler getting the nod in Tests seeing as he's obviously fancied by England and has got himself in the limited overs sides. Onions hets the third seamer spot based on the fact he's the third best bowler in the country especially in our conditions, I know it's not exactly future planning but no one else stands out and we could do with a bit of experience tbh.

The spinner is the tricky one, I've gone with Borthwick for continuation reasons really plus the fact he's a decent batsman but we could quite easily play another batsman (Ballance?) and use just 4 main seamers plus Root to fill in if the pitch isn't going to help the spinners. Panesar isn't good enough to warrant his terrible fielding and batting, Tredwell is pretty nothing all round for me and Kerrigan might not be trusted yet by England after his debut debacle although I feel he's more likely than anyone to be the long term Swann replacement.

Did any of that make sense? Very Happy
Well most of it makes sense. some of the points are arguable, such as Root back in as opener. But the one thing that doesn't make much sense for me is the suggestion that England could play a batsman in place of a frontline spinner and expect Joe Root to act as a fill in bowler.
I've been saying this for long, and have had a few debates on a similar formulation with a few South African friends. A frontline spinner is an absolute must in most conditions in most attacks. Early English conditions might offer a lot to the seamers and the spinner might not do a lot of bowling. But even then, England's attack is not one that can blast through batting lineups with pace, and one partnership might be enough to blunt the new ball and provide a platform for the batting side. In such conditions you'd need a frontline spinner, even one like Robin Peterson would do, if the matches reach day 5, the spinner can be expected to play a more important role even in early season conditions in England. Besides, if England want Alastair Cook to play all games when's he's fit and available, they should have the spinner bowling a decent number of overs otherwise the captain can spend half the games out of the side due to overrate problems!.

I pretty much agree with that, we need a spinner in the side but hard to find one at the moment who would be worth a place, Borthwick was my initial thought as referenced above but the main thing they'll need to do early season in England is to be economical, accurate and at least hold up an end for a bit to allow rotation. On that basis I suppose Tredwell would be the most appropriate choice but it's just so uninspiring isn't it? This should certainly be seen as a massive opportunity for all young spinners in the country to work their asses off to be as good as they can possibly be and force their way into this England side.

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Post by Carrotdude Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:30 pm

Mike Selig wrote:I agree totally with msp's views on having a specialist spinner.

For what it's worth, Cook probably to stay on as captain due to lack of other options, but I'm not that keen on him. Just doesn't seem a natural leader. Broad? KP (only slightly tongue in cheek)? Prior?

Prior probably remains England's best bet as keeper. It is not particularly encouraging for Bairstow that he didn't do any better than Prior when the latter has been in the worst form of his life. If his form continues to be so poor in the early parts of the county season then maybe try someone else, but who? Buttler is surely not ready yet (another couple of years)... so we're back to a stop-gap, or Davies (who England don't seem to rate), or Kieswetter (please no)?

My Buttler selection earlier was more gut feeling than what I would like to see. If Prior gets his mojo back then all is good but if he doesn't then Davies (if he starts well) should get the nod. Soldi behind the stumps and very experienced now he has all the ability in the world with the bat and a better option than anyone else around (in my rather Surrey tinted opinion, obviously Smile)

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Post by msp83 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:35 pm

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.

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Post by msp83 Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:42 pm

Mike and others, I am reproducing parts of one of my earlier posts from the 5th test thread here where I tried to put forward my views on Flower's continuation As the debates have moved here.......
This series didn't happen overnight,
in fact after the 2011 summer, England's consistency was badly hit in the UAE but that was put down to a couple of ill-timed bad sessions and their general
problems against spin. Then they had an average series in Sri Lanka but not many had issues. Then they lost to SA but then people rightly said they lost
to a better side. Then KPGate happened and most thought all that was down to the 'egoistic', 'greedy', 'ungracious', 'arrogant' and 'opportunistic' Pietersen
and that Flower was an angel the way he let Cook 'Reintegrate' the out of favor batsman. After they won a historic series in India, many thought England
would easily thrash South Africa had they played them then. When they struggled against the number 8 side in the world it was put down to England taking
New Zealand lightly, and Matt Prior saved their skinn, that was touted as the reflection of the fighting qualities of the side. When people pointed out
that the England batsmen were far too inconsistent with the bat in the return series as well, there was not many who listened as England won the series.
Though England won the home Ashes, there were some serious issues but not many wanted to look at that side.
Now after this utter humiliation, most of them want the coach, who couldn't identify and successfully implement counter strategies for the last 2 years
to carry England forward. In fact it seems like he's the only one above criticism in this entire saga.
I think England need a change of guard and a change of philosophy. Cook has been in the job only for a year, and he led them to an Ashes win and a series
win in India. Considering that, think its Flower who should go after a stint of 5 years that have produced mixed results for England contrary to perceptions
that all was well before this little blip.
The core of the side that Flower took to high points was put together by Duncan Flecher and his less credited successor Peter Moores. Strauss, Cook, Pietersen,
all established themselves in the Flecher era, The likes of Anderson and Prior were discovered in the Flecher era and established themselves in the Moores
era. Veteran county cricketrs like Graeme Swann and Ryan Sidebottom, players who played important roles in the Flower era were brought back to international
cricket by Moores. Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett were discoveries of the Moores era.
Under flower, the players who emerged and played a decent number of games so far are Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow
and Joe Root. Root's story is one of complete mismanagement, so is Finn's. Who other than Trott proved to be a player of sustained excellence?
How could a coach who played a leading role in messing around 2 of the brightest stars who emerged for English cricket in the last 5 years, Finn and Root
be the right man to take them to a new era of rebuilding? How is James Taylor these days? How could Flower, who messed around the likes of Nick Compton
and Taylor be the right person to lead England through a rebuilding face?
I am not saying Flower was all bad for English cricket. He could produce some fabulous results in the first couple of years of his term, he helped the
side recover after the Moores Pietersen rift and the aftereffects and strengthen and consolidate the continuous process of greater professionalization
of the team and so on. But I don't think many of England's senior players are enjoying their cricket at the moment. None of Pietersen, Prior, Anderson,
Bell and cook are in their mid 30s. Even Graeme Swann hadn't quite reached that point. Swann is already gone, if more of the senior lot is lost to English
cricket, they are lost at a cricketing age that is not really old enough. I just can't understand the 'Flower Can Do No Wrong' approach, and I would like
to hear some considered responses from posters here.

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Post by guildfordbat Sun 05 Jan 2014, 7:57 pm

Mike - top posts as ever but I do feel you're obligated to tell us who replaces Gooch and Giles.

One of the difficulties for even those of us who try and follow the game closely at county and international level is that there's little coverage of those doing technical work behind the scenes.

Purely out of personal interest, do you know or know of Toby Radford who's recently been appointed Glamorgan's head coach, having previously been involved with coaching for Middlesex and the West Indies? I'm not touting him for an England role but came up playing against him 20 odd years ago when he was a very young batsman with Reading and tipped for a great playing career. I've followed his career with some interest since then. He went on to play a bit for Middlesex and Sussex but never really cracked it. However, as a coach he seems to be going upwards.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sun 05 Jan 2014, 8:04 pm

Apologies in advance if this has been brought up before in this thread, but surely the MCC/ICC should also be looking at how Tours and Test Series are scheduled?

Clearly some of England's most dependable players have come up way short in this series, Cook, Bell, Trott, Prior, Swann, Anderson, even Pietersen. And no sign Cook ever wanted Panesar in the first place.

Not dissimilar to footballers, not just England's, appearing jaded during World Cups and European (whatever it's called now).

Sooner or later we all run out of gas, whatever line of work we're in, so high time authorities bore in mind that players, by and large, perform better when they're fresh.

You could argue it's been the same for Australia, but sure they'd prefer to play the away Tour first and scamper home to prepare playing under their most favourable conditions.

Player-wise, England need to figure out who their foundations are going forward and make some tough choices - all very well having heated debate about the marginal players but perhaps they'd've done better if the leaders had shown some appetite, Anderson, Bell and Cook.




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Post by Hoggy_Bear Sun 05 Jan 2014, 8:09 pm

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?

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Post by Mike Selig Sun 05 Jan 2014, 8:42 pm

guildfordbat wrote:Mike - top posts as ever but I do feel you're obligated to tell us who replaces Gooch and Giles.

Since you ask, Ben Smith for Gooch, and Angus Fraser (who I rate very highly for his work at Middlesex, particularly bringing on young fast bowlers) or David Ripley for Giles. Although I don't mind that much if Giles stays on.

Other options being spoken about include Paul Collingwood (too soon, didn't do that well with Scotland, IMO too close to the Flower style) or Mark Ramprakash (surely too early, hasn't done all that well yet at Middx)...



guildfordbat wrote:Purely out of personal interest, do you know or know of Toby Radford who's recently been appointed Glamorgan's head coach, having previously been involved with coaching for Middlesex and the West Indies? I'm not touting him for an England role but came up playing against him 20 odd years ago when he was a very young batsman with Reading and tipped for a great playing career. I've followed his career with some interest since then. He went on to play a bit for Middlesex and Sussex but never really cracked it. However, as a coach he seems to be going upwards.

Toby is a good friend of a very good friend of mine. A couple of years ago we weren't that far off securing his services for France Cricket!

Highly regarded particularly in the shorter formats. If England go for a specialist T20 coach, he wouldn't be too far down my shortlist.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 05 Jan 2014, 8:50 pm

On a side note does anyone think that some of the youngsters in the upcoming ODI squad are potentially test players?
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Post by kingraf Sun 05 Jan 2014, 9:35 pm

depends - is Jade Dernbach in the side?
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun 05 Jan 2014, 9:36 pm

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)
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Post by guildfordbat Sun 05 Jan 2014, 9:45 pm

Mike - thanks for the names and suggested roles. Interesting stuff.

The only one I've met at all and that was briefly is Fraser. However, I really took to him. Good humoured and clearly very knowledgeable across the county game. That by itself certainly doesn't mean he should be appointed but it's a useful start.

Interesting as well about Toby Radford. He really was a hell of a young player. Almost everyone thought he would go on to have a successful career in the game but I don't think anyone at the time was thinking of coaching. Just goes to show ...

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