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Ashes 2021/22 and other cricket through the winter of 2021 thread

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Post by VTR Mon Jan 24, 2022 8:09 am

First topic message reminder :

Don't know anything about that number 9 and 10, are they decent hitters that just happen to be low in the order, or were England again awarding outlier performances to the opposition?

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Post by kingraf Mon Mar 28, 2022 2:16 pm

A year ago, after England had beaten India in the first Test, Joe Root had just become the first English captain, and, without looking I'd bet first captain of any sort since Cricket became serious sport - say c. 1960, to win four Tests in the subcontinent in a row. He had tied the most wins in English cricket history AND had a win perfcentage only below Brearley. I acknowledge that the year since then has been a nightmare the likes of which only Zimbabwean and Bangladeshi captains could possibly understand, but is the argument really that he has regressed as a captain in the last year? I see a jockey who didn't have the horses. If Root has decided he's had enough, fair enough - certainly wouldn't blame him, but his batting hasn't suffered from the continued beatings, and unless Stokes wants a go, there literally isn't even a player England could pick as a transition captain. There isn't a single other name on the team sheet that isn't one bad series away from being discarded. England have had the mockers on South Africa recently, but I'd say this summer, with the World Champions New Zealand, a South African team with seven wins out of their last eleven , and a single Test against India, isn't the summer to try a new captain. Especially one seen as a transitory one, given the fact that the home Ashes are next year.

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Post by JDizzle Mon Mar 28, 2022 2:33 pm

I don’t think Root has to have regressed per se, sometimes what worked previously no longer does as events change. In this case, the team he captained has got worse which I would agree is mainly due to events outside his control i.e. England having about 1 other functional batter and that is Stokes + Bairstow counting as about 50% each.

Unfortunately, I still think these are pretty much the best players England have and somehow someone has to squeeze more out of them. Which does feel beyond Root’s capabilities, and we’ve just never needed that before. I wouldn’t hate Stokes, but there a near 100% chance he bowled himself into the ground three Tests in and they are back to square one. Wonder if it is a coincidence he did such a good job, albeit in the only 3 ODIs, last summer when he couldn’t bowl…

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon Mar 28, 2022 4:29 pm

guildfordbat wrote:Alfie - even by your usual standards, that's an excellent post. A top notch comparison of current England captaincy issues with those of the past together with who we turned to in earlier years and how they got on. I suspect it may surprise some of those lucky enough to be in the younger contingent here that Brearley was originally selected as a batsman and not as captain.

Going out now but I'll post a few thoughts later on what I would do. Might just help if we get Olly's usual review and marks out of ten for the series. Wink  thumbsup


Guildford I love this stupid sport, but not even I put myself through watching the majority of all three of the games in this series Laugh

I don't think Surrey's finest Mr Foakes would have scored highly though (maybe what I did catch, was just the bits where he did very bad...)
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Post by Duty281 Mon Mar 28, 2022 5:23 pm

Some quick thoughts:

Lees - Not remotely a test player, his footwork is atrocious. He's a downgraded version of Sibley and his painful SR of 27 for the series illustrates that.

Crawley - I like Crawley, but I don't think he's a test option for the long-term and certainly not an opener. I was excited about his potential initially, but he's so easy to get out as he plays too many loose shots and lacks the ability to grind.

Root - Please get back to four. Please don't be captain ever again. Please continue to be brilliant with the bat.

Lawrence - See Crawley. And nowhere near a test 4.

Stokes - Pretty mediocre series with the bat, bar that one outstanding innings, and was a strong contributor with the ball. Wonder how much is left in Stokes' tank. Without him the entire balance of the side is ruined.

Bairstow - In the absence of other options, Bairstow remains. Scored a brilliant century in the first test that was likely the difference between a draw and a defeat, but did nothing else.

Foakes - Hugely disappointing series with the gloves and had the lowest batting average of the recognised batsmen (19). Hopefully he gets time to improve, Buttler got about 50 tests, but I can easily envisage him not featuring in the first test of the summer

Woakes - Never, ever play Woakes overseas again. He's had an atrocious winter. His overseas bowling average is up to 52, but his home bowling average is 23. Hopefully the England selectors can work out what that means, and pick him accordingly.

Overton - Not a test player, unless the test is in early May, and the sky is black, and the wicket is greener than Ireland.

Mahmood - The hope beyond all despair. Best bowling average of the series from an England perspective (23), looked the part, had an excellent command with the ball, and is only 25. There's some hope.

Wood - How much longer has Wood got left? 32 years old and injured more often than not.

Fisher - Played a test and didn't look especially good. Was an absolutely baffling decision to take him on the tour, can't see him being picked again.

Leach - A credible series as he ended up leading wicket-taker for England, but his SR was over 100. He has good control, but we're all aware of his limitations. He's essentially Ashley Giles part II, with glasses, but still the best England have. I was disappointed, yet not surprised, that we didn't see Parkinson get a test.

County season starts in just over a week, the clamour for Darren Stevens' England inclusion begins in a fortnight, and England's next test - the start of a new era, with Mark Nicholas leading England to the promised land - is in just over two months.

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Post by guildfordbat Mon Mar 28, 2022 5:45 pm

JDizzle wrote:Bunsens at Taunton? It’s not 2019 anymore. We prepare green tops now!

It’s not really a genius level tactician you are looking for if you go for a specialist captain though I don’t think. I don’t remember Brearley, but no-one really remarks on his on field captaincy - it is more about how it got the the best out of Botham via his man management. Same with Nasser really, he dragged that team into the 21st century via his force of personality rather than by any tactical wizardry.

And not many people would have had Morgan pegged as one of England’s greatest ever captains when they crashed out of the 2015 WC only beating Afghanistan and Scotland. But he had a vision which aligned with Bayliss and more importantly with the players he had. There would be no point trying to play the style they do without Hales/Buttler/Roy/Bairstow etc

You always see teams fail in the NFL when coaches and General Managers are hired in different cycles, and they end clashing and visions not aligning. It is crucial that the Coach gets to pick his captain.

So if you do pick a ‘wildcard’ - Abell, Billings, Vince etc my question would be can they command the respect of the team and do they have the personality, drive and vision to take England forward? Rather than whether they have any sort of tactical magic. As my opinion remains that 90% of Test captains sit in the middle tactically and don’t make a noticeable difference on the pitch, and there are 5% either end which do - for good and bad!

Hi JD - you're almost certainly right there about Brearley's greatest captaincy skill. He showed a belief in key players (especially Botham) and got them to believe it about themselves. Former Australian speedster Rodney Hogg summed it up saying, ''He had a degree in people''. [I remembered the quote but needed the net to find out who said it!]

There could be a quirky side to Brearley though. In 1982 before the start of a Middlesex v Surrey Championship match, the former England and Middlesex spinner Fred Titmus popped into the changing room to wish his former team mates well and to cadge a cup of tea. Titmus was then about 49, retired from playing and was planning to have a leisurely day watching the game. Brearley had a hunch believing the track would suit Fred and talked him into playing. As so often, Brearley's hunch proved correct as Fred took a smattering of wickets and Middlesex won.

So much for a bit of history. Where to now? Not staying with Root is my immediate (and probably easiest) answer. In so many of his interviews this winter, he's seemed devoid of self-belief which surely makes it near impossible to instil the same in his players. Their lack lustre performances in that timeframe appear to back up my negative thought there. Not an essential requirement but little or nil effective quirkiness shown by him either.

Stokes then? If he really wants it, I wouldn't be too unhappy. However, he already has a lot on his plate with bat and ball as well as having suffered recent physical and mental health issues. My fear is adding the captaincy would be too much. Also, as vice-captain against the Windies (think that's right), is he too close to Root?

A 'wildcard'? Not for me. As flagged by Alfie, Brearley wasn't really one as he was already in the Test side as a batsman, albeit struggling. Also, a real wildcard was Chris Cowdrey who further weakened a weak team; that's the danger. Brearley had the likes of Gower, Botham and Willis in his side. Not convinced we have those sort of skills available to us now to allow a captain to be selected whose own playing abilities don't merit inclusion.

So who then? Not ideal (getting excuses in already) but I would go with Broad for this summer. He obviously has considerable Test experience and merits selection anyway. It would also be a clear acknowledgement that omitting him from the Caribbean tour was wrong; that probably means it won't happen but it would please me and perhaps Sir Fred! Caveats: he needs a clear instruction not to waste bowling reviews (and will need a canny and assertive wicket keeper to hep there, eh Ollie Whistle ) and how he handles his team mates. Not ideal but things usually aren't with this type of thing.

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Post by Afro Tue Mar 29, 2022 12:02 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:I see Abell's name floated...is it great captaincy that he happens to captain a side that produces bunsens at home?


Bit 2019 that Olly. They picked Burns and Pope based on their averages from batting on a road, so why not.

In all seriousness though, much as I love him, Abell isn't the answer. I'm not sure he actually gets the best from players at Taunton and our batting has been abysmal too. It has been our bowling that has given us our relative success in recent years.
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Post by Dolphin Ziggler Tue Mar 29, 2022 12:55 pm

Tough balance, tougher than is being made out by the litany of ex-captains who we turn to for rent-a-quotes nowadays.

Is there a better captain? Is there a better captain who can play in the team and be worth their inclusion? Is there a captain whose play (and life) won't be too negatively affected for it to be worth it? Is there a better option who wants it?

For my money, I'm still with Root. This series doesn't really work much in argument's favour for either side. My (less than passionate, I will admit) defence of him can be pierced immediately by the result. But detractors cannot use this series too seriously either. The mess above him, the selections forced upon him, both are handcuffing the man.

The Broad/Anderson decision - it seemed to me to come above his head, but I didn't dig much into it and he may have offered comments that suggest otherwise. Baffling one, truly. You step aside for the new generation when there's one worth that bit of a leg-up. Were Woakes and Overton ever that? No, don't answer, cos any answer other than no is wrong.

Equally, the typically drawn out decision making about new coaches and new structure above him is a mess. If we need that sorted before we name a new captain, we arguably need that sorted before we cast aside this one. If Silverwood was so bad as to sack, why isn't that marked down for Root? If the new one is set to be so good, why isn't he given a chance with the man who (recent results aside) would be the man most would pick?

I just also don't see a great alternative. Certainly not one worth maybe puncturing your only consistently quality player. Unfortunately, talent and results don't go hand-in-hand with Bairstow enough (and he appears an awful choice as captain), Stokes's mind and body both deserve more time to achieve a bit more serenity.

If it's not Root, give it to Broad and Anderson as a pair. One of them will always be in the team for the next year, unless the selectors feel it's worth giving Ian Salisbury and Alex Tudor a chance to shine instead.

Maybe just bin off Foakes, give the gloves back to Bairstow and play Morgan at 7.

I do understand the reasons against, more than I've made apparent here, but the lack of alternative and the absolute s*** he#s had to deal with whilst remaining an excellent batsman means I still favour him

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Post by guildfordbat Wed Mar 30, 2022 1:26 pm

Dolphin Ziggler wrote:

... But detractors cannot use this series too seriously either. The mess above him, the selections forced upon him, both are handcuffing the man.

...


A strong and effective captain would not have allowed the mess to develop.


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Post by GSC Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:52 pm

It's really tough, and in many ways really just a sideshow to the real issue of just a lack of talent which Root can't really be held responsible for.

But there's also been systemic decline and underperformance under his captaincy. I don't think England are as bad as some of the results they've produced. If England are embarking on a rebuild, do you need a new captain to flip the culture
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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:22 pm

GSC wrote:It's really tough, and in many ways really just a sideshow to the real issue of just a lack of talent which Root can't really be held responsible for.

But there's also been systemic decline and underperformance under his captaincy. I don't think England are as bad as some of the results they've produced. If England are embarking on a rebuild, do you need a new captain to flip the culture

Root has had a rough gig with the utterly shambolic batting pool to select from but that runs far deeper than just changing the captain. I don't subscribe to the view that Vaughan, Strauss or any other captain would have got that much more out of this team. Marginal improvement, probably, but nothing dramatic. They are woeful as a set of batsman. A more natural captain would have probably handled the bowlers and strategy better and won one or two more matches, turned a couple of defeats into draws maybe, but if you can't score 300 runs in the first innings over and over again, it doesn't matter who is handling the bowlers, or coming up with some fancy tactic, you're not going to win many tests.

But he has to go now. In any walk of life, be it business, sport, politics, not changing a failing system as there are "no better options" is a terrible way of operating. You'll never move on with that theory. You find someone else, whoever that is, and give them the backing.

New leader, new coach, new captain and definitely a new batting coach as none of the recent bunch appear to have done anything to halt the decline.

Start again, get some people in with a firm vision at the ECB and on the pitch, make sure the vision is aligned on and off the pitch and back that vision like they did with Morgan and his white ball team. Also accept that there will be failures and more pain before it gets better. Fans will accept that if they can see the genesis of something better. Just like the white ball side. As low as can be in 2015, then plenty of failures on the road to being no 1 and world champions. Fans accepted it as they could get on board with the process.

Getting the best coach available is absolutely crucial and let them pick the skipper with input from the new MD and Strauss. If that is someone like Ponting, then go and get them. Anyone that thinks that he wouldn't come is misguided. Throw enough money at someone and they move. It is like that is business and it is absolutely like that in sport. Always has been and always will be. There will always be the odd exception but they are exceptions that prove the rule. Are the ECB serious enough about resetting the test team? If they are, rather than just milking the white ball game for every pound, then pay what it takes to get the best people in charge.

Mind the windows Tino.
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Post by kingraf Thu Mar 31, 2022 11:16 am

In 2003, after a pretty horrific world cup South Africa dropped Shaun Pollock and appointed Graeme Smith as captain because he was, by their metric, the least damaged player from the World Cup debacle. It of course worked well, and Smith had an eight year run as the captain in ODIs, and 11 years in Test cricket. So it's not like it can't work out. But I'm not sure the right decision was made, because the first three years were painful, to a degree - highlighted by a 5-0 smashing at the hands of Australia one summer and a first home series loss vs England for a generation. More importantly, the change in fortune did coincide with the emergence of a young core that included ABDV, Steyn and Amla. Ie The jockey looked a lot better once we suped up his horse.
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Post by alfie Thu Mar 31, 2022 11:40 am

Lots of good comments above. I really do appreciate that Root cannot as skipper make his batting colleagues better (in fact he probably does , to a point , by his own excellence with the blade !).

But that isn't the whole thing , is it ? A team which lacks a really strong batting group can still win games through fine bowling - and on several occasions in the recent past England have been in probable winning positions in matches - only to falter in the face of opposition late order revivals. Yeah you can say "well the bowlers weren't quite good enough" ; but it seems to me that Root has too often made the wrong call at crucial points in matches : strange bowling changes , odd tactical moves ; defensive field setting very quickly in the face of a few boundaries...Maybe he is "unlucky" ; but I have to say it looks more like he doesn't learn from past errors and/or just lacks the instinct needed.

I wouldn't even shoot him for that , however frustrated it makes me : but with the rotten run that England have had recently I would have expected to see a bit of emotion - anger , even - from the skipper. Instead I see (on the field , in after match pressers) something like resignation ; a repeated statement that "we are working on it " not very convincing . And if he isn't convincing me - or many pundits - how can he convince his players ?

The replacement may not work . Won't know until he tries ! (Whoever he is) But I do agree with Tino that it really does look like time to try Something Different...

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Post by alfie Thu Mar 31, 2022 1:28 pm

I see Sam Curran is going to play as a top order bat for Surrey next week as he makes his way back from injury...

Wish him well : can't see him becoming a top six for England but it will be interesting to see if he can bring his batting on to the degree that a few people have suggested may be within his capacity. He's a lot younger than Woakes so his future prospects would certainly be enhanced by serious CC runs.

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler Thu Mar 31, 2022 2:25 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
Dolphin Ziggler wrote:

... But detractors cannot use this series too seriously either. The mess above him, the selections forced upon him, both are handcuffing the man.

...


A strong and effective captain would not have allowed the mess to develop.

I don't entirely disagree, but I don't know if the system even allows it. A lot of it he cannot stop, not being able to pick the coach or other senior figures.

I suppose the argument is around whether other captains would have allowed the Broad/Anderson mess. I've read Root's comments as not being best pleased, and maybe he felt it was out of his hands. But you may well be right in believing (if you do, I'm assuming here Smile ) that other captains wouldn't have allowed it to happen at all, or at least would have put up an obvious fight.

Stripping the team of its two best bowlers and two most experienced players just after taking a tonking in Australia and reshuffling the batting line-up will never make sense to me.

It's funny, I don't really disagree (much) with anyone's opinions on Root, I just don't see a better option. What they really need to do is make no decision at all until they have a coach in, then the coach decides.

What's more important: a good coach or a good captain?

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Post by guildfordbat Sat Apr 02, 2022 9:08 am

alfie wrote:I see Sam Curran is going to play as a top order bat for Surrey next week as he makes his way back from injury...

Wish him well : can't see him becoming a top six for England but it will be interesting to see if he can bring his batting on to the degree that a few people have suggested may be within his capacity.  He's a lot younger than Woakes so his future prospects would certainly be enhanced by serious CC runs.

That's what young (? - he'll be 24 in June) Sam Curran is saying and seems to be the case but there were a few grumbles and moans about that at a members' bash this week at the Oval. That's understandable as there has to be a question mark over whether he merits a Surrey place for his batting alone.

From 114 fc innings (including 14 not out), Curran's averaging 27 with nil centuries. With Burns, Amla, Pope, Foakes and Jacks expected to be available and in the eleven for Surrey's CC opener, that leaves only one or at most two batting berths left.

Strong competition for the remaining place(s) should come from Ryan Patel and Jamie Smith. If pre-season form and games are to count for anything, Patel merits selection with scores of 128 not out and 25 retired against Sussex and 85 against Middlesex even though he has a lower fc average than Curran. Smith (not 22 until July) is a versatile player and imo a likely Test batsman with stats going some way to back that up - 42 fc innings (including 4 not out) with an average north of 36 and 4 centuries.

Curran playing against Warks on Thursday may benefit England later this summer but I don't believe he, England or England supporters should have an automatic entitlement for that to happen. As I say, I wasn't alone in that belief earlier this week.


PS Mainly for Ollie - Jacks is expected to be the only slowie in a seam heavy attack to start the season.








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Post by Duty281 Tue Apr 05, 2022 11:45 pm

Stokes having a scan on a knee injury, which could equal another lengthy lay-off. He did bowl a lot of overs in the Caribbean.

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Post by dummy_half Wed Apr 06, 2022 12:39 pm

Duty281 wrote:Stokes having a scan on a knee injury, which could equal another lengthy lay-off. He did bowl a lot of overs in the Caribbean.

Are Ben Stokes and Manu Tuillagi the same person? Outstanding performers when fit, but this being an increasingly rare state for them.

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Post by king_carlos Wed Apr 06, 2022 1:59 pm

Stokes is increasingly reminding me of Botham or Flintoff later on in their careers. Everything seemed to done with a grimace and a bit below their very best.

Stokes is a better bat than either so he should hopefully be able to perform that role well later into his career than Botham or Flintoff who were more bowling all rounders.

When it comes to bowling I think Stokes has already lost a bit of pace and just looks in pain through most spells. It's not much fun to see.

I really hope he doesn't get further burdened with the captaincy. He's got enough on his plate already. Not to mention that I think Stokes would bowl himself into the ground the second England are struggling with a slightly old ball. With is basically every time England bowl with a slightly old ball.

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Post by guildfordbat Wed Apr 06, 2022 6:44 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
alfie wrote:I see Sam Curran is going to play as a top order bat for Surrey next week as he makes his way back from injury...

Wish him well : can't see him becoming a top six for England but it will be interesting to see if he can bring his batting on to the degree that a few people have suggested may be within his capacity.  He's a lot younger than Woakes so his future prospects would certainly be enhanced by serious CC runs.

That's what young (? - he'll be 24 in June) Sam Curran is saying and seems to be the case but there were a few grumbles and moans about that at a members' bash this week at the Oval. That's understandable as there has to be a question mark over whether he merits a Surrey place for his batting alone.

From 114 fc innings (including 14 not out), Curran's averaging 27 with nil centuries. With Burns, Amla, Pope, Foakes and Jacks expected to be available and in the eleven for Surrey's CC opener, that leaves only one or at most two batting berths left.

Strong competition for the remaining place(s) should come from Ryan Patel and Jamie Smith. If pre-season form and games are to count for anything, Patel merits selection with scores of 128 not out and 25 retired against Sussex and 85 against Middlesex even though he has a lower fc average than Curran. Smith (not 22 until July) is a versatile player and imo a likely Test batsman with stats going some way to back that up - 42 fc innings (including 4 not out) with an average north of 36 and 4 centuries.

Curran playing against Warks on Thursday may benefit England later this summer but I don't believe he, England or England supporters should have an automatic entitlement for that to happen.  As I say, I wasn't alone in that belief earlier this week.


PS Mainly for Ollie - Jacks is expected to be the only slowie in a seam heavy attack to start the season.



Sam Curran not included in Surrey's 12 man squad for the Championship match starting tomorrow at Edgbaston. Don't know if that's Surrey's decision, the ECB's (Surrey refer to the ECB ''overseeing his back to playing programme'') or a combination of the two. Whatever, the right decision for me and Surrey.

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Post by guildfordbat Mon Apr 11, 2022 1:37 pm

Just to finish off banging on here about Sam Curran and his omission from Surrey's CC opener.

Both David Hopps (cricinfo) and George Dobell (The Cricketer) confirmed in their match reports that the ECB wanted Curran to play. He would have done so only as a batsman as he has not yet fully recovered from a back injury. However, Surrey didn't consider his pre season form with the bat good enough to merit a place.

From a Surrey but also an England viewpoint, I support Surrey's decision even though it's not what the ECB wanted. England should get stronger if the Championship is stronger and that will sometimes need the counties to stand up to the ECB.


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Post by Duty281 Wed Apr 13, 2022 6:08 pm

Duty281 wrote:https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2022/03/26/mark-nicholas-makes-surprise-tilt-england-managing-directors/

Mark Nicholas has, surprisingly, applied to be the managing director of England men's cricket (responsible for selecting the new coaching team and restructuring the domestic game).

Rob Key has also thrown his hat in, but the favourites are Marcus North (er...OK) and Ed Smith (shudder).

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/61092159

Won't be Marcus North. Rob Key the favourite.

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Post by GSC Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:04 am

Root steps down so the next domino falls. At least it's a clean slate for the next regime
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Post by alfie Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:52 am

So : in not totally unexpected news , Joe Root jumps before being pushed...

Slightly tricky timing , with Stokes the logical replacement currently under an injury cloud ; though hopefully that will be cleared before the NZ series starts in June. But in any case it will be up to the incoming management to settle on the next leader.

Good in that it clears the air. Whoever takes the baton , Joe will have plenty of time to reset his personal focus on his batting : he was doing extremely well despite the cares of office so maybe this release will herald even greater run scoring feats ?

Think they do need to get a move on appointing the new MD and coach though.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Fri Apr 15, 2022 1:49 pm

Rob Key set to be announced as the new managing director of England cricket next week according to the Telegraph.

Reading the article, it sounds like interest/applications in the role were pretty limited - Alec Stewart, Mike Hesson, Ed Smith not applying and Marcus North withdrawing his application all for various reasons.

Key, to be fair to him, was a well regarded county captain during his days at Kent, and has remained in touch with the county game and is giving up a well paid commentary role to take up the rather, lets say, mammoth (some would say impossible!) task.

Also noted in the article is how Key spoke back in January on Sky (on their podcast) about wanting to see split red and white ball head coaches, along with a return of a national selector/selection panel. I would agree with all that, and hopefully he is able to implement them
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