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How to solve a problem like the England test side? (mainly the batting and spinners)

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How to solve a problem like the England test side? (mainly the batting and spinners) Empty How to solve a problem like the England test side? (mainly the batting and spinners)

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:57 am

Thought I would make a new post/thread on this, so as to not clog up the winter tours one...and give it it's own space to breathe! Now the dust is settling on the most recent English batting/Ashes shambles, and there is seeming appetite for looking at what needs fixing...I'm going to run through some #thoughts on what I'd do.
I would also recommend listening/watching Sky's discussion on this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HOErX8ponw
I don't agree with all points of view in there, but it is a good discussion I think.

Right...onto the issue at hand here - we can produce good seamers, I think that much is evident. Managing them is a seperate issue, but the talent is there. JDizzle's man Robinson looks a hell of a talent if he can get that body into test shape, and while we are soon to be losing Anderson and Broad, which will obviously hurt...I think there is good players there and coming through (Sonny Baker szn will soon be upon us!)

Batting - we haven't produced a test level batsmen who has developed in the test setup since Joe Root came into the side in 2012. I think there is a two fold reason for this...one being the standard of county cricket, the second being the coaching/development once in the side.

Spin bowling - we seem to either actively try to ruin (Bess) or destroy the confidence of (Leach) any spinner who shows promise, and really have struggled to produce a reliable spinner since Swann now (not even a Panesar type has come along really). I think this probably comes back to the standard of country cricket again...

Now before I head into some suggestions, and calm has descended and I have come down to reality...it's not all bad. We do have one of the best white ball sides possibly ever (certainly our best ever one), and in the not too distant past we were the #1 test side in the world. That did all happen with 18 counties...so I am standing down from my "cull half of them" stance. I think if we were starting from scratch there is no way we'd have 18, but the ECB isn't going to get rid of any (not the will or balls too) and turkeys don't vote for christmas in terms of them disappearing off their own back. So we're going to need to work in the framework of 18 counties (which isn't necessarily a bad thing!).

There also needs to be realism about where red ball/long form cricket is on the global stage - I think Atherton talks about this well on the Sky piece, it is not about one format being "better" than another, it is about realising that they all need to compliment each other, and acceptance of the reality that mainly the t20 game is likely to fund a lot of the sport going forward around the world. The days of kids coming through with the only goal being a test cricketer are pretty much over...which again can be fine, so long as we work with this!

And finally, I and I am sure many here had hoped that cricket might have used the pandemic to reflect on the ridiculous schedules that international teams play these days. Unfortunately it seems to have used the pandemic to try and cram in *more* cricket (an ICC white ball event every year forever!)...this really isn't changing anytime soon either. Again, not a death knell, just schedulers are going to need to be smarter about how they do things.

All that is said to say, I think some evolution not revolution is needed...so I'd probably like to see the below from what suggestions I've read/heard so far...

Short term
1. Rejig the English cricketing summer schedule
Atherton has been championing this stance since the summer I believe, and it does look to me to be the best realistic idea out there at the moment. For clarity it is

Royal London One Day Cup to run from April to Mid May
County Championship to run from Mid May to late July, with potentially a final round of games or two in September
The Hundred to run from late July to mid August
T20 blast to run throughout the year as before (ie. occasional Friday night games), but with the bulk of games in mid August-early September

I think this makes the most sense, and would likely be the most realistic option to get voted through.
The one day cup should stay as a competition, but it is the least attended of the English comps and as such really shouldn't get priority in terms of weather/isn't so effected by weather as early championship games because white balls don't do what the red dukes does.
The Hundred isn't going anywhere - and I think it can be used as a great tool for getting people into the sport. Maybe just needs a little tightening up schedule wise.
T20 Blast - county chairman are going to want those Friday night blast games in early summer, which is fine...but the majority of the comp (maybe just over half) can be played in late august and September...and lets not have finals day in October.

The County Championship then gets a massive chunk of the summer, with ideally very good weather (and mixed, in mid may there should still be some spicy wickets but by late July you should be getting spin more into it). Now this isn't the only thing that needs doing with the county championship...

2. Revamp the county championship format (including making the games 5, not 4 days)
For starters - I have never really understood beyond finances, why we play a four day red ball format at domestic level when tests are five days. If that can be rectified...it should.

I think Rob Key nailed this on the Sky cricket podcast - there is currently too many county championship games played, of too little quality. Playing more red ball games does not automatically = better red ball players.
His suggestion for two top divisions of six (basically a 1a and 1b) with a division of six below I think is a good suggestion. The two top divisions play 10 games (5 home and away) for the chance to get to a final (winner of each division), and one from each division gets relegated to the bottom division, with two coming up from that division.

That way in theory, you've got the "best" sides playing each other more often in the top divisions, but you are also offering good incentive for those in the bottom division to make getting promoted a reality (whilst also making sure no teams in the top divisions become too comfy).

It also chops off some games from the calendar - which I have less of an opinion on...but it might not be the worst thing.

It's probably not an ideal suggestion, but it does seem to me to offer incentive to pretty much all counties to make a good fist of red ball cricket. In the current structure, if you're someone like Derbyshire (who have done this in recent years) why would you pour resources into red ball cricket for a 2 in 10 chance of promotion, when you can focus and make good headway focusing on just the white ball stuff?

3. Split the head coaching roles
I know there is often a lot of debate around this, and there are definite pros and cons for sure to having one coach, or split coaches...but with the current international schedules only going one way, I think this is just going to need to be what happens.
I am noted as not a fan of Chris Silverwood, but how can we possibly expect a man to be on top of his game as a coach, and to be able to plan/prepare teams properly when one week he's at a T20 World Cup and then a week later joining up with a Test side for a week or two before a series? Heck the Ashes just finished, and there is t20's on Sunday!
It's just unfathomable to think one man can do this job any true justice or really get any proper development/coaching done...and the point made on the podcast about it limiting your pool of potential coaching candidates is also true. Taking on a job, as it currently stands, where you barely get any time with your family at home isn't exactly appealing to many when you can coach in the IPL for 6 weeks and probably make more money, for less stress and you know actually see your family and do things outside cricket.

Splitting the coaching role with one focused on red ball/test side, and one for the white ball sides makes sense to me. But obviously that throws up the selection issue which leads me into...

4. Reintroduce a chairman of selectors/Director of Cricket and selection panel
I posted this at the time when Ed Smith was sacked and they added yet more to the Head Coach's plate...but for me it was absolutely ludicrous to expect the man who is the bloody full time coach to also be able to do the job of selecting players, I appreciate there are some "scouts" around, but a selector should always see a player before selecting them and there is just no way the coach can do this.

Bring in a Director of Cricket/chairman of selectors type, who will oversee selections for the red ball and white ball squads alongside the coaches, and a selection panel. They may not always get it right, but there is a reason this method has been done for decades and continues to be done for the majority of cricketing nations!

In the current constraints of what cricket is, I think these suggestions will help us get some better outcomes in terms of producing players (better arrangement and hopefully quality of red ball cricket from the schedule) and then developing them (splitting the coaching workload). Obviously these are all short term solutions, and there really does need to be a bigger review by the ECB into the sport of cricket and is accessibility which leads me onto some longer term suggestions

Long term
1. Make a concerted effort to reintroduce the sport to state schools and try to make the sport cheaper!
A pretty simple idea, maybe less easy in reality...but currently cricket is pretty much almost exclusively a private school educated only sport, and is falling more and more off the radar/curriculum in state schools. Obviously a lot of work would need to be done on this, but basically the sport cuts off a large swath of the population by never getting it's interest...and those who it does gain the interest of, you need to have some seriously dedicated parents who have a fair bit of ££££ to be able to afford to play academy cricket for a county.
You basically make the sport accessible for like 1-2% of the population before they even become late teenagers/adults. I appreciate cricket is never going to be the main sport of the public in England, but at least give yourselves a chance of attracting some of the talent pool of kids, especially those from minority/disadvantaged backgrounds!

2. What is the role of the England Lions?
Think this is something that needs to be reviewed...is this a proper developmental side, or is this merely a team of fringe players who will play the odd game together?
I realise covid has been happening recently which complicates things massively, but I am fairly sure I read that India A have played double the amount of games the Lions have over the last half decade...which doesn't seem right to me.
Having them play in a crowded English summer schedule would be tough admittedly, but how about we sort out some proper tours for the Lions and give our young players some true tests and feel for playing a three match first class series in the subcontinent, or down in Australia etc?
At the moment it is neither really serving the purpose of giving gametime to players needing form, or giving a good step up in development for promising young players...it's kinda just there.

I've rabbited on long enough there, but hopefully it can be a good discussion starter and if people have other thoughts or ideas do throw them out there. Maybe we can get Guildford to collate all the best ones and present them to Stewie to pass on... Smile Very Happy
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Post by guildfordbat Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:31 am

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Thought I would make a new post/thread on this, so as to not clog up the winter tours one...and give it it's own space to breathe! Now the dust is settling on the most recent English batting/Ashes shambles, and there is seeming appetite for looking at what needs fixing...I'm going to run through some #thoughts on what I'd do.
I would also recommend listening/watching Sky's discussion on this -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HOErX8ponw
I don't agree with all points of view in there, but it is a good discussion I think.

Right...

...

...

I've rabbited on long enough there, but hopefully it can be a good discussion starter and if people have other thoughts or ideas do throw them out there. Maybe we can get Guildford to collate all the best ones and present them to Stewie to pass on... Smile Very Happy

Ha!Very Happy  To the bottom line anyway.

You've obviously put a lot of thought and work into this, Olly. As you suggest, I'll tune into the Sky discussion first and consider your post further from there. thumbsup

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Post by VTR Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:55 am

Top posting, makes far too much sense to be implemented!

There is a danger of the baby being chucked out with the bathwater. Not saying there aren't issues, but I seem to remember Justin Langer (I think) praising how the CC was a tough competition, and something the Aussies could look at after 2005. I know that's a while ago now, but that was a two division structure, T20 was in its infancy as well. Though if you go forward a bit, the 2011 team was a product of the same system when T20 was coming more to the fore.

Its possible though the whole thing is just cyclical. The absolute debacle of being bowled out for nothing to lose by an innings to the Windies in early 2009 was from a team just over 2 years away from being world number one. The even lower pit of despair that was 1999 was fairly quickly turned around to score a series of historic series wins. The difference now as stated is at least we aren't utterly laughable at the white ball stuff, as previous nadirs England have been terrible at everything!

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Post by Duty281 Wed Jan 19, 2022 7:13 am

Blimey, that's an opening post and a half! Some responses to what you've posted are:

1) Scheduling. I broadly agree with that scheduling idea. I'm not fussed where the 50 over comp goes; the County Championship needs the prime months of summer (I'd also like to see more promotion and higher-quality streaming of it); the T20 Blast can go wherever's left; I'd abolish the Hundred. I really don't see how the Hundred will attract new fans when the T20 game is already there and they are similar formats. Agree there should be a cut-off date to ensure Finals Day is not in October...at the rate it's currently moving along the calendar, soon we'll have festive cricket at Edgbaston!

2) CC format. I'm not especially keen on making the CC five days, mainly because it'll squeeze the calendar even more. A compromise could be 4 days of 110 overs, a move which Test Cricket should be targeting.

I think two top divisions of six is still too many teams, and I'd just like one top division of six-eight teams in a straight league format. Preferably no final at the end. You could have three tiers of six teams, with the third tier being semi-pro/amateur and the top players naturally gravitating to the top division. That could be ten games in the top tier, but with Scottish football league-style fudging you can stretch it to 15 games between the top teams. And I'd like to see every game in the top tier get proper promotion and broadcasting.

3) I agree with this. Cricket should learn from baseball. One General Manager or Director of Cricket to oversee the whole thing, and I would go for three separate Head Coaches for each individual format (obviously that becomes four when the Hundred takes the world by storm and every one is playing it, from Finland to Argentina). It is lunacy to expect Silverwood to do it all. Separate coaches was done before when Ashley Giles (please fire him, somebody) took charge of the ODI team and Flower concentrated on tests.

4) I agree there should be a selection panel for the overall squads. Selection should be based more on data analytics than the eye test. And overall selection for batsmen should be more country and condition specific - this is something already done routinely for the bowlers e.g. extra spinners in the subcontinent but is absent for batsmen. An intelligent selection team wouldn't expect every batsmen to master every condition in the world, save a few such as Joe Root. But England played Hameed in Australia even though they shouldn't have done; they should play Jennings in Pakistan but they probably won't; they should keep Pope away from the sub-continent as though his life depends on it;

I also feel that batting orders in general should be more experimental, but this is something for a county side to consider, not England.

On the two long term ideas:

1) Sport would ideally be more accessible for state schools, but it's very tough to achieve this. Like football, cricket has a lack of coaches, especially at junior level. Cricket is also far more cumbersome to set up and play than football, or even rugby. There's a lack of playing fields in general. And cricket also has an image, perhaps justifiably, of being a middle-class or even toff sport, not one for the likes of the working class - and it may take decades to change this image.

2) Good point about the Lions. They should play more games in the winter months on tours of Australia and/or the subcontinent, where they can regularly play Australia A or India A, perhaps some state sides.

On some other points you've brought up:

Coaching is a mammoth problem and it seems, to my amateur self, very unprofessional the way coaches are appointed. 'We're going on a tour to Australia'; 'Oh OK, we'll get Thorpe in for this one' etc.

18 counties is, I think, simply unsustainable from a financial viewpoint. There are too many professional cricketers.

As for the long term future of test cricket, I don't think it'll exist by 2050: there's simply not enough global interest; it fits very well into the Victorian, Sherlock Holmes world of grace, patience and manners, but does not correspond well to the filthy, polluted and rapid 21st century way of life; smaller countries are already marginalised; the ICC is strangling it and the Big Three aren't exactly helping; it's a dead financial loss to most countries hosting a test; future players, and the ones coming through now, will dream of franchise success because that's where the money is and where the global audience is - batting seven hours to save a test in the oppressive heat of some foreign land is very romantic, but the youth of today are rarely taken by such splendour.  
However, despite the imminent death of test cricket, I think England should continue to cherish and prioritise it. Maybe it can be saved? And even if it can't be saved, I would rather England weren't bottom of the ladder when the whole thing ends.

Would also add that all home England games should be put on FTA TV, YouTube, Twitter and anywhere else, in an effort to attract a bigger audience. Proper warm-ups for winter tours.

And, most importantly of all, the ECB must be either scrapped, with a new organisation springing up, or emptied entirely and filled with new people. Cricket people. The governing organisations of our sports are an embarrassment, it doesn't matter if it's the FA, RFU, ECB or even the LTA. Incompetent governance and incompetent leadership blights our sporting landscape.

One final thing is that I think the golden England test team of 2009-2011 was just a perfect storm. A fluke almost. It wasn't down to anything brilliant that the ECB did, or some wonderful years of junior coaching, or fantastic investment. It was just good fortune. And it had to happen, really, at some point that England would produce a truly wonderful test team, having perhaps failed to do so for the entirety of the sport's history. Sometimes that can happen in spite of other factors. England's youth development in football was a joke, but in the late 70s and 80s it managed to spit out Hoddle, Waddle, Barnes and Gazza. English cricket managed to put together Strauss/Cook/Trott/KP/Bell/Collingwood/Prior for those golden years. More by accident than design, otherwise we would have seen multiple follow-ups over the past ten years, not just Joe Root.

The ODI success was achieved by something very unEnglish - a daring to be different, to be bold, to be innovative and experimental. Maybe, if nothing else happens, the test team can try to reinvent the way test cricket is played?

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Post by Afro Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:50 pm

Duty281 wrote:

The ODI success was achieved by something very unEnglish - a daring to be different, to be bold, to be innovative and experimental. Maybe, if nothing else happens, the test team can try to reinvent the way test cricket is played?

Maybe we could try a different approach of scoring 400+ in the first inning and also taking 20 wickets. Whistle

Sorry, the scars of the Ashes are still a bit raw!!!!
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Post by dummy_half Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:52 pm

One thing I've long thought should be considered is some sort of regional competition sitting between the CC and Tests - say 4 regions (North, Midlands, South-east, South-west) representing 4 or 5 Counties each, for example North selecting the best players from Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Derbyshire. A competition played with the Test players available, with either a mini league or knock-out competition, and playing to Test match regulations, to see who of the up and coming players is likely to make the step up.

Only problem is that the only spot in the current schedule would be early season, before the form for the season has been established.

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Post by alfie Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:24 pm

Well now...I confess I hadn't seen this thread earlier today when I posted a recommendation for all to have a look at that excellent podcast on the old Ashes thread (which is now in some danger of being completely derailed as I see not merely Tino but Galted and Superfly have now moved in Shocked

Be that as it may : I agree Atherton and Key had some very interesting ideas as Olly has flagged. I rather like the Atherton plan for the domestic season but will defer to those of you more directly affected because you regularly attend County games.

Anyway this is a better place for this discussion so thanks Olly : we can leave the main thread for short term selection issues , eh ? As long as Galted and Super haven't turned it into a bar room brawl arena...

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Post by Galted Wed Jan 19, 2022 6:43 pm

alfie wrote:Well now...I confess I hadn't seen this thread earlier today when I posted a recommendation for all to have a look at that excellent podcast on the old Ashes thread (which is now in some danger of being completely derailed as I see not merely Tino but Galted and Superfly have now moved in Shocked

Be that as it may : I agree Atherton and Key had some very interesting ideas as Olly has flagged. I rather like the Atherton plan for the domestic season but will defer to those of you more directly affected because you regularly attend County games.

Anyway this is a better place for this discussion so thanks Olly : we can leave the main thread for short term selection issues , eh ?  As long as Galted and Super haven't turned it into a bar room brawl arena...

You need to hide your threads a bit better, I found this one without even trying.
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Post by guildfordbat Thu Jan 20, 2022 12:07 am

2022 domestic fixture list to be issued 1pm tomorrow.

That will be one step towards helping solve the problem or making it worse.

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Post by JDizzle Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:40 am

In 2004, Warwickshire won the CC drawing 11 out of 16 games. Maybe the aim should be to encourage a team to do this again! Haven't seen any mention of it yet (not listened to the Sky podcast yet, so they may cover it), but let's tinker with Bonus Points. Let's encourage draws.

Whether that is simply increasing the draw points or extending the 110 over limit? Or just BPs for batting, say, 130 overs? Or even getting more funky and making more batting BPs available for home sides to encourage teams to create flat pitches. There must be a way to try and encourage long innings without getting absolute pavements like Surrey/Glammy... as no-one enjoys that.

Olly touched on the Lions and it did become apparent this tour how it isn't working. In 2020, the Lions played a "Test" vs Australia A. Two players scored hundreds - Dom Sibley and Dan Lawrence. Both are now capped but neither played this series. One other player passed 50 in 2020 and that was James Bracey, who made a hundred vs Australia A this tour. So that is three hundreds in two Lions tours and none of those players played a Test despite England not passing 300. Something isn't working.

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:50 am

I won't comment on a lot of this, but in terms of introductions to schools.

I find cricket is one of the easier to introduce and use as a game across genders. You will get limited skills taught by your normal Primary teachers - of the teachers I know who are interested in cricket, you have to at least half that for any genuine ability - but catching and throwing are pretty much taught from Reception up. As it's a striking sport, it filters in too.

I would also say that the standard of teaching activity has improved considerably. Resources aren't expensive comparatively (you don't need green fields to teach cricket, most of it is done on playgrounds or indoors) and there is certainly much more in terms of little games and such nowadays than when I was in school.

There is also clearly a concerted effort for cricket to be accessed more. Firstly because these kind of cricket activities being used in schools are not being dreamed up by teachers, these are resources that will have been created by coaches and I suspect from cricket coaches at the guidance of an authority. On top of that, I have started to see a lot of free cricket events in villages around me. Cambridgeshire is a nice area to live, so that is probably helping with funding, but there's some sort of effort going in.

The problem really is no kids know who any cricketers are. The Hundred may get mocked, but it's flashy and aimed at a more digestible way for younger people to consume. If they want to make more impact, those players should probably be going to a different primary school every week or two and doing sessions, trying to grab attention.

Moving some home tests to the BBC, ITV etc would help too. Recurrent idea with all these things, but name recognition means a lot.

Work with schools and get children's attention, that's the key. We do a couple lessons of PE a week, there's a lot of sports, it is a horrible subject to teach (ability levels and interest vary hugely, let alone how behaviour changes...) so if you can find a way to make it cheap and easy, it'll get priority.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue Jan 25, 2022 6:55 pm

https://twitter.com/abi_slade/status/1485939342661099522?s=21

Addition - get rid of dinosaurs like this bloke from county cricket too
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Post by Dolphin Ziggler Wed Feb 02, 2022 1:59 am

England likely to sack Silverwood
Alec Stewart to step in on interim basis
Strauss wants to split ODI and Test roles

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Post by Afro Wed Feb 02, 2022 4:30 pm

Dolphin Ziggler wrote:
Strauss wants to split ODI and Test roles

I think this is crucial for success across all formats, they are different skill sets required for each, they should be managed separately, with only links in place to manage player welfare

I appreciate its not quite the same, but its a bit like Gareth Southgate managing the England 6 a side team as well!
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Post by Gooseberry Wed Feb 02, 2022 7:24 pm

Long rambling collection of thoughts:

Theres a big difference between short term sticking plasters like sacking the coach and rejigging the squad and things that will actually make a difference in the standard of players coming through, and more importantly their ability to play the game the way it is across the world.

Silverwoods reign has been pretty poor after a decent start, but he does have a lot of mitigating factors in that. Ultimately its Strausses job to balance the needs of the white ball and red ball, and oversee the pathways to elite cricket. Sacking those underneath him might make it look like hes doing something but feels a bit like when Rob Andrew used to get a higher paid job invented for him every time an England rugby coach got sacked. I'm not a Silverwood fan or apologist, but I dont feel like getting rid of him will make a short term difference or in anyway addresses the issues that have led to the mess England are in.

Same would apply to Root losing the captaincy. Maybe shaking up leadership would help change the atmosphere and mentality in the squads which is clearly rotten, players are not performing to their best. But really there are literally no viable options for test captain. Who deserves a spot in the team on performance, will be around for at least 3 years, and available for the super majority of series through that period? Only Root. And thats before you ask if they have any credentials as a captain.


Unpopular opinion but I think England really need foreign coaches, ones who have recent experience in top level environments that bred players who performed at an elite level. We have been down that road before of course, with some success. India did it for the best part of a decade which built the base of professionalism in their test set up. That English coaches aren't sought after across the world by franchises, first class sides, and international teams should tell us something.

The suggestion above that they are splitting the ODI and test roles puts Kirsten firmly in the frame and he said he would take it if they did that. I was in his camp to get the role over Silverwood in the first place. The big question mark though is has he been out of the front line for too long, hes really a professional pundit rather than a coach now.

Whoever gets that job they desperately need specialist coaches who have constant access to an elite group of players who they can check in with through the year, not just when they are in squads and training camps (the few days of those they get).

The above point that the Lions (and performance squads) system hasn't really been working is fair too. The whole contracted/elite player system needs to be rejigged. The fast bowler programme they ran a few years back had some success, could similar things be done for opening bats and spinners? Hopefully bubbles ending will make it easier to have integrated squad training camps and expose the younger players to the higher end coaching/training/expectations (assuming those are driven up and it doesn't just make things worse!)

Sorting out the schedules is on paper an obvious fix. Longer warm ups, less cricket in total, less overlap etc. The commercial realities of cricket, especially with the hit from Covid, are going to make that very difficult. That goes for players as much as schedulers, on one hand they may want more warm ups but do they want to spend 3 months in Aus over Christmas? Are they willing to give up half an IPL season to get some county cricket under their belts before summer tests? Short of paying absurd central contracts thats not going to be viable, and potentially just creates tension with thew white ball needs. Hopefully we will be able to move away from bubbles this year which will take away some of the pressure, but crazy schedules seem here to stay.

The domestic game really needs the shake up to make a longer term impact.

Ive long argued that county cricket has become a breeding ground for mediocrity, and the standards have declined increasingly over recent years. The ECB looks finally ready to admit this, and whilst there will be pain in losing some professional first class sides it should've happened at least a decade ago....if the focus is on breeding players who can excel at test level. And that is a choice the game needs to decide on, theres been way too much fudging and hoping (plus self interest from the turkeys) that tinkering with counties and the CCC will make a difference.

Franchised first class teams could also give some central control over players contracts, and what games and roles they are used in to support the international teams requirements. Again pretty controversial and would really upset the actual fans of domestic cricket, but if we are looking purely from the perspective of bettering the test team you'd really want that.

The best players, with the best coaches, and elite overseas players (theres been a real decline in these) with the wages concentrated into a smaller pool will drive the standard up, and mean young players wont be learning they can just coast through to success. Old players wont be able to hang around with middling performances (but those who continue to excel will still have value).
The "more pro players = more test standard ones" just doesn't add up in reality. Theres more successful test teams (New Zealand) with smaller player pools, and if the best aren't good enough then then 12th best certainly isn't going to be. Sure there's needs to be a balance, but we simply cant economically sustain so many pro first class sides and its abundantly clear by now that any number of pro players wont make a difference if they are playing trash cricket and know mediocre is good enough to get a county contract and test call up.

The experience of players going to IPL and how the level and intensity of competition their helped them develop as players should be an example to aspire to for our domestic cricket. The best players, the best coaches, and high expectations on them. If the aim is to get stronger international sides.

Pitches and balls should better reflect the way cricket is played in the rest of the world. That way bowlers and batsmen will have to develop the skills to thrive anywhere, and England cant just hide behind home conditions victories. The Chris Woakes home/away issue is a real example of how "classic county conditions" are hurting the players at test level. India made a concerted effort to ensure they had seamer friendly pitches in their first class game, and backed that up with money to help recruit and train youngsters with potential....they now have a stable of good seam bowlers for the first time in their history, but also still have spinners in abundance.

Then theres the issues with club and youth cricket feeding into the first class/pro game. Its rightly been raised that theres invisible class/wealth/race barriers to getting into the game. Not just in the way its perceived but also in the costs associated, places where opportunities exist, and the attitudes/culture of the grassroots game. When do so many British Asians form their own teams rather than joining existing ones, part of that is because they don't feel welcome of part of those clubs/teams.
Its a hard message to sell but the attitude that people need to adapt to cricketing culture rather than teams adapt to the people needs to be switch if cricket wants to become divers and truly open.

Then theres coaching standards at grassroots level, ECB chance to Shine and the money invested to capitalise on the Ashes win hasn't delivered. Thats a worry, but more definitely needs to be chucked at that along with improving accessibility. Unfortunately money is likely to stay tight for a while, but investing in growing the sport and driving up quality could pay down the line in arresting the decline and affect that has on the standing of the game and attractiveness to kids to take up.








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Post by Dolphin Ziggler Thu Feb 03, 2022 2:33 am

Giles has stepped down

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Post by VTR Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:01 pm

Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:06 pm

VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

Seems like a decent enough chap but had to go.

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Post by Galted Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:21 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

Seems like a decent enough chap but had to go.

He'll always be remembered for his match and series-winning 7 not out at Trent Bridge in 2005.
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:25 pm

Galted wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

Seems like a decent enough chap but had to go.

He'll always be remembered for his match and series-winning 7 not out at Trent Bridge in 2005.

I can't remember who it was, could have been Allan Border or some other Aussie pundit, but they said, before the 2005 series, that if any Aussie got out to Giles, they should retire or something along those lines. Then he ended up getting all the Aussie top 7 out at some point during the series. That was pretty funny. As was him smashing McGrath back past mid on with a proper flat bat village shot at the Oval. And of course, the King of Spain mugs.


Last edited by Mind the windows Tino. on Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Galted Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:39 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
Galted wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

Seems like a decent enough chap but had to go.

He'll always be remembered for his match and series-winning 7 not out at Trent Bridge in 2005.

I can't remember who it was, could have been Allan Border or some other Aussie pundit, but they said, before the 2005 series, that if any Aussie got out to Giles, they should retire or something along those lines. Then he ended up getting all the Aussie top 7 out at some point during the series. That was pretty funny. As was him smashing McGrath back past mid one with a proper flat bat village shot at the Oval. And of course, the King of Spain mugs.

That's even funnier than the time Usain Bolt bowled Chris Gayle.
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Post by Soul Requiem Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:08 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
Galted wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

Seems like a decent enough chap but had to go.

He'll always be remembered for his match and series-winning 7 not out at Trent Bridge in 2005.

I can't remember who it was, could have been Allan Border or some other Aussie pundit, but they said, before the 2005 series, that if any Aussie got out to Giles, they should retire or something along those lines. Then he ended up getting all the Aussie top 7 out at some point during the series. That was pretty funny. As was him smashing McGrath back past mid on with a proper flat bat village shot at the Oval. And of course, the King of Spain mugs.

He knew how to keep things tight which is an undervalued trait in todays cricket. Without his contribution that pace quartet wouldn't have functioned as well as it did. The ball to get Damian Martyn was a beauty too.

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Post by JDizzle Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:27 pm

Galted wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

Seems like a decent enough chap but had to go.

He'll always be remembered for his match and series-winning 7 not out at Trent Bridge in 2005.

His 50 on the final day at the Oval in 2005 is an underrated innings. Was still in the balance when he came in. The Graham Dilley of 05.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:32 pm

JDizzle wrote:
Galted wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

Seems like a decent enough chap but had to go.

He'll always be remembered for his match and series-winning 7 not out at Trent Bridge in 2005.

His 50 on the final day at the Oval in 2005 is an underrated innings. Was still in the balance when he came in. The Graham Dilley of 05.

Really was. Although he was probably a genuine no 8, he always looked really nervous when he came out to bat. Especially so in that innings. I vividly remember watching his body language change as he loosened up batting with KP as the realisation that they were going to win the Ashes dawned on him. And how angry he was when he got out as he was seeing it like a basketball at that point.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Thu Feb 03, 2022 11:03 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

In dressmaking for example.

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Post by superflyweight Thu Feb 03, 2022 11:04 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

In dressmaking for example.

Assistant to the dressmaker.

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu Feb 03, 2022 11:09 pm

superflyweight wrote:
JuliusHMarx wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
VTR wrote:Stepped down or sacked, seen reports using either term, quite a difference! At the end of it though, you can't lose the Winter's big 5 match series and not expect some major fallout. That 3-2 defeat to the Windies will definitely hurt for a while

Ah yes, the old euphemistic "stepping down" quote. When I worked in a corporate environment, we used to chuckle at the latest person to "step down" to "pursue other opportunities".

In dressmaking for example.

Assistant to the dressmaker.  

I prefer the term Textile Entrepreneur.

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Post by GSC Fri Feb 04, 2022 2:19 am

Silverwood has now walked (or been pushed)
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Post by Gooseberry Fri Feb 04, 2022 2:30 am

Not a shock was it. Itll be tough to tempt the sort of person who could really make a difference, but they really need someone with better credentials this time who the players will instantly respect.

Talk seems to be Langer, or Ponting (both very expensive/difficult to convince). Langer has a bit of baggage, and apparently isnt massively keen on it, but would be the most qualified option available. My worry is with his old mates in charge that Stewart will de facto go from being interim to permanent if Langer isnt tempted, without any real legit coaching credentials. We cant really go on with head coaches learning on the job.



Looks like Bayliss might be getting the Aus job.

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Post by Duty281 Fri Feb 04, 2022 2:42 am

Great news about Silverwood and Giles. SkyBet have coughed up some odds for next England test head coach:

Stewart 2/1; Kirsten 4/1; Collingwood 6/1; Langer 7/1; Gillespie 8/1; Ponting 9/1; Trott 9/1.

Some others - Trescothick 14/1; Hussain 14/1; Cook 28/1; Bumble 80/1; Monty 100/1; Warne 100/1.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri Feb 04, 2022 3:14 am

No odds on KP?

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Post by guildfordbat Fri Feb 04, 2022 3:19 am

Duty281 wrote:Great news about Silverwood and Giles. SkyBet have coughed up some odds for next England test head coach:

Stewart 2/1; Kirsten 4/1; Collingwood 6/1; Langer 7/1; Gillespie 8/1; Ponting 9/1; Trott 9/1.

Some others - Trescothick 14/1; Hussain 14/1; Cook 28/1; Bumble 80/1; Monty 100/1; Warne 100/1.

I would also expect Graham Ford's name to get a mention.

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Post by GSC Fri Feb 04, 2022 3:21 am

Real power vacuum now aside from Strauss. Might take a while to sort it all out
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Post by sirfredperry Fri Feb 04, 2022 3:55 am

Silverwood's utterly bonkers decision to leave Anderson AND Broad out at Brisbane should have been enough on its own to get him sacked.

There have been some barmy selection decisions over the years, but doubt if there have been many (any?) worse than that.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri Feb 04, 2022 5:32 am

guildfordbat wrote:
Duty281 wrote:Great news about Silverwood and Giles. SkyBet have coughed up some odds for next England test head coach:

Stewart 2/1; Kirsten 4/1; Collingwood 6/1; Langer 7/1; Gillespie 8/1; Ponting 9/1; Trott 9/1.

Some others - Trescothick 14/1; Hussain 14/1; Cook 28/1; Bumble 80/1; Monty 100/1; Warne 100/1.

I would also expect Graham Ford's name to get a mention.

Irelands decline under him has been as bad as Englands , albeit they nearly won that test against England they only played 3 so really his recent experience is white ball. Hes never been part of a top level high performing international set up as a coach or player, and its that attitude/psychology/expectation level England need and what Silverwood lacked.

Plus the England job is not the one for someone who turned down a contract citing travel fatigue and effects on his family life. I appreciate the Surrey connections but don't think he has the credentials England need, and would struggle mentally with the demands of the job.

(Ignoring Stewart as interim) Kirsten, Langer and Ponting to me are the viable candidates up there. Promoting Trott, a part time batting coach, would just be failing upwards. Collingwood isnt going to bring much new and freshen things up. Always been a fan but Im quite of the opinion now England need outsiders to come in and teach them how successful sides go about things and a full change of attitude and culture in the dressing room.

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Post by VTR Fri Feb 04, 2022 3:43 pm

If they didn't get Ponting as head coach, do you think they could tempt him in as fielding coach, with a focus on enacting runouts?

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Post by Gooseberry Fri Feb 04, 2022 4:29 pm

GSC wrote:Silverwood has now walked (or been pushed)

Being reported as sacked now.

Interesting OPINION article on cricinfo pointing to Giles' key decisions and failings, largely based on employing Silverwood as a 3 format coach and being focused on what the players wanted vs what the teams needed from them.

Thorpes coming under the cosh now for being part of a drinking culture in the team bubbles, which really shouldn't have been a shock to anyone given his known issues, but really sums up the lack of professionalism in the England set up and why there needs to be an outsider come in and read the riot act. Albeit that Langer and Ponting were contemporaries of Boon youd hope theyd have the natural authority to do that.

Caretaker role has been confirmed for WI. Apparently Dawson the U19 coach is in line for that, certainly not a long term solution but could be part of a pathway for him to be groomed as a future senior coach. In that regard its better than Stewart. Collingwood would be the other obvious candidate, but depends how much of the fall hes taking for the fitness standards and lack of professionalism (wasnt he bought in to be a fitness and fielding coach?). His brief stint leading the white ball side wasn't their most glorious, but if he isnt taking a big share of the blame for recent disasters he has a better chance of getting the white ball head coach than the test one.


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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Fri Feb 04, 2022 5:45 pm

Gooseberry wrote:Albeit that Langer and Ponting were contemporaries of Boon youd hope theyd have the natural authority to do that.

This is the key point for me. Has to be an outsider to the set up this time with real authority and one that isn't going to cosy up to the big egos and personalities in that team. Has to come in with a really strong view on which direction the team is heading, be very authoritative and most importantly, be backed 100% by the ECB if they want to make big changes. If it costs a fortune to get Ponting or Gillespie or someone of that stature in then so be it. Success generally costs a lot of money so how serious are the ECB about the test team.

It is no surprise that the last two successful and mildly successful England test sides were run by non English coaches in Flower and Bayliss. Flower was a disciplinarian by all accounts and Bayliss a little less so but still hugely respected. They worked and England have to go back to this for the test team.

Obviously both those coaches had stronger teams and arguably captains which is another issue. Although I am still of the opinion that Root hasn't been as awful as some think, he is dealing with a very limited team for all sorts of reasons but is now indelibly linked with this team and its culture and poor performance so should probably be replaced. There isn't exactly a plethora of people lining up to replace him but the argument not to move on just because there is no one else is a terrible way of operating. If it isn't working, then change it and back the decision. I would give it to Stokes if he is committed to playing test cricket but with a strong coach who will prevent him bowling himself into the ground. Even if he plays as a batter alone and England look at other ways to 'balance' the side.

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Post by GSC Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:13 pm

Thorpe's now gone also
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Post by Gooseberry Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:21 pm

Stokes is too vital to white ball to be test captain. He simply can't play all 3 formats. I'm not sure his well documented mental issues make him suitable for such pressure either.

Any decision on the captaincy should absoluetly wait till there's a permanent coach in, and find someone there's a mutual trust and vision with. Root will know pretty quickly of he's on board or not, and the new coach should pick a captain he wants.

The absolute worst case would be for Root to go now, and england get a capatin the permanement coach doesnt want. The least worst option is the best one.

Thinking about the split head coach roles the Stokes issue I guess is one place that tension could be caused. Silverwood mightve been caught in teo minds regarding multi format players and workloads, but it's better than having the coaches fighting over who plays when. If they do go down that route again then Strauss would need to take a front seat role in managing the players workloads and focus, and be in direct touch with the players to understand their own personal feelings. It's made to work elsewhere and did for england previously so not insurmountable.

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Post by Soul Requiem Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:35 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:

It is no surprise that the last two successful and mildly successful England test sides were run by non English coaches in Flower and Bayliss. Flower was a disciplinarian by all accounts and Bayliss a little less so but still hugely respected. They worked and England have to go back to this for the test team.

Obviously both those coaches had stronger teams and arguably captains which is another issue. Although I am still of the opinion that Root hasn't been as awful as some think, he is dealing with a very limited team for all sorts of reasons but is now indelibly linked with this team and its culture and poor performance so should probably be replaced. There isn't exactly a plethora of people lining up to replace him but the argument not to move on just because there is no one else is a terrible way of operating. If it isn't working, then change it and back the decision. I would give it to Stokes if he is committed to playing test cricket but with a strong coach who will prevent him bowling himself into the ground. Even if he plays as a batter alone and England look at other ways to 'balance' the side.

You can go one step further and include Duncan Fletcher so the last three mildly decent test sides.

Another point of the coaches is that they were all familiar to each other which doesn't create the necessary friction to move a team forward. You need a blend of different ideas to grow.

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Post by GSC Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:54 pm

Strauss saying Root is continuing as Captain at least through the next tour, and that Strauss himself will only be interim.

Honestly this will probably take a long time to sort out given the management spine of the ECB has been mostly gutted
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:55 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:
Mind the windows Tino. wrote:

It is no surprise that the last two successful and mildly successful England test sides were run by non English coaches in Flower and Bayliss. Flower was a disciplinarian by all accounts and Bayliss a little less so but still hugely respected. They worked and England have to go back to this for the test team.

Obviously both those coaches had stronger teams and arguably captains which is another issue. Although I am still of the opinion that Root hasn't been as awful as some think, he is dealing with a very limited team for all sorts of reasons but is now indelibly linked with this team and its culture and poor performance so should probably be replaced. There isn't exactly a plethora of people lining up to replace him but the argument not to move on just because there is no one else is a terrible way of operating. If it isn't working, then change it and back the decision. I would give it to Stokes if he is committed to playing test cricket but with a strong coach who will prevent him bowling himself into the ground. Even if he plays as a batter alone and England look at other ways to 'balance' the side.

You can go one step further and include Duncan Fletcher so the last three mildly decent test sides.

Another point of the coaches is that they were all familiar to each other which doesn't create the necessary friction to move a team forward. You need a blend of different ideas to grow.

Yes, good shout. Forgot about him. There was a really good 3 part series on Sky about Fletcher. Ian Ward interviewing him. It was a fascinating insight into his thinking. You may have seen it?

Agreed on the familiarity. Fletcher and an abrasive captain dragged a really poor England side into the realms of respectability. That is probably what is needed now. Not sure there is a Hussein type figure around but at least get a coach who will be a bit more confrontational and drive the standards higher.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:56 pm

Unless they split the coaching roles (which they 100% should), they ain't going to get any of these top names being banded around like Ponting. Absolutely no shot
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:57 pm

Gooseberry wrote:

The absolute worst case would be for Root to go now, and england get a capatin the permanement coach doesnt want. The least worst option is the best one.



Yep. I'm not suggesting they change it right now, but Root can't carry on long term.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Fri Feb 04, 2022 7:58 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Unless they split the coaching roles (which they 100% should), they ain't going to get any of these top names being banded around like Ponting. Absolutely no shot

They will be splitting it for sure. Strauss is a smart guy, he will absolutely see the changes needed.

As for Ponting, they would get anyone if they threw enough money at it.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by Soul Requiem Fri Feb 04, 2022 8:06 pm

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:

Yes, good shout. Forgot about him. There was a really good 3 part series on Sky about Fletcher. Ian Ward interviewing him. It was a fascinating insight into his thinking. You may have seen it?

Agreed on the familiarity. Fletcher and an abrasive captain dragged a really poor England side into the realms of respectability. That is probably what is needed now. Not sure there is a Hussein type figure around but at least get a coach who will be a bit more confrontational and drive the standards higher.

I haven't but will try to get round to watching it.

Everything about the set up feels too friendly and in todays environment I don't think a Hussein type captain would be accepted which is unfortunate. Joe Root is indicative of that, the guys a great player but comes across as a bit of a sap if i'm honest and I doubt he has the character to put the hammer down when needed. Crossing the line and the racism within the sport is unacceptable but this is elite sport so if you're unable to handle forceful criticism you're not up to it.

I've worded this post terribly but hopefully the general gist is there.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri Feb 04, 2022 8:37 pm

Someone who will make tough decisions like asking Broad and Anderson to sit out ? Whistle

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Post by king_carlos Fri Feb 04, 2022 10:59 pm

Giles, Silverwood and Thorpe out.

Strauss in for the interim.

Root stays.

The right people have lost, got and retained jobs IMO. It's just a shame that Strauss's personal circumstances mean he will only take on this sort of role on an interim basis.

Dizzy remains my first choice for the Test role by an absolute mile.

The head coaching roles desperately need splitting. To me Ponting would then be the dream white ball coach. He has an absolutely brilliant cricket brain, great rep as a coach, an existing relationship with my choice for Test coach in Dizzy and Punter is the type to understand the need to look after the 3 format players.

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Post by king_carlos Fri Feb 04, 2022 11:09 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Silverwood's utterly bonkers decision to leave Anderson AND Broad out at Brisbane should have been enough on its own to get him sacked.

There have been some barmy selection decisions over the years, but doubt if there have been many (any?) worse than that.
That's one of the selections I defended at the time and still do due to how Anderson and Broad's bodies need managing these days. Due to the weather after arriving in Australia they had basically no overs even in the nets. The lack of practice, let alone match practice, was ludicrous and so badly hampered by the weather.

Had either been picked short of practice at their age and pulled up lame the setup would have then been absolutely lambasted for the opposite thing they are now lambasted for anyway.

If we still want Jimmy and Broad in the Test setup, which I definitely do, it is important to remember that they can no longer be treated like most other fast-medium seamers when it comes to their preparation. We've basically got two mid-80mph swing and seam bowlers who need looking after like most 90+mph thoroughbreds do.

Whilst they both add an absolutely huge amount when fully fit how we get/keep two seamers with that many miles on the clock fit is clearly a real challenge rather than an unnecessarily conjured problem of Silverwood and Giles creation. Especially with the ludicrous schedules England now have. We played 15 Tests in 2021, it would have been 16 if not for the cancelled T5 against India in the summer.

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