One Tour Too Many

December 18, 2013 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

Congratulations to Darren Lehmann, Michael Slater and the Australian cricket team on their emphatic Ashes victory.

What has been interesting to listen to in the past few days are some of the so-called experts extolling the remarkable turnaround in the team’s fortunes since Lehmann took over as head coach, but in the next breath saying how close the series was in England and that if it had not been for the batting of Bell, England may not have won. Guys you can’t have it both ways!

The truth is Australia’s top order fired in this series where they failed in England. In England the home nation’s bowlers bowled marginally better than their Australian counterparts, but managed to add more runs in the tail. In Australia in their own backyard the Australian bowlers have reversed that trend and to a man have out-bowled England.

There is rumoured discontent in the England camp and certainly Alistair Cook does not look a comfortable captain.  The fact that so many players had their say when England was in the field shows he is not authoritative enough. He has certainly been extremely conservative by comparison to Michael Clarke’s aggressive tactics.

England appear to have too many players simply going through the motions. Hindsight is perfect vision, but Kevin Peterson should not have played in the WACA test, and one has to question whether he should play for England again. A senior player who lacks discipline has no place in a team in crisis. If Australia put a man on the boundary he has to try and hit it over that man’s head. His ego will not allow him to play responsibly, he has to try and prove he is up to any challenge. The Australians knew that, set the trap, and he fell in into it every time.

Graeme Swann has been out bowled by Nathan Lyon by a country mile. One has to wonder why he was played ahead of Monty Panesar who was the superior spinner in Adelaide. No doubt he was picked on reputation and past performances, and it cost England dearly. At the moment he is confirming the opinion of many that he has been a very overrated slow bowler; as a bowler that does not spin it much, its seems unfair to call him a spin bowler.

Probably the most disappointing bowler for England has been James Anderson. On the last Ashes Tour when many felt his style would not suit Australia he defied the odds and bowled a good length with vim and vigour. This tour his line and length have not been of the same standard and he has lacked the same aggression and zip.

Australia have been superb, but where they under performed in England, so too have England under performed in Australia.

It is time for Andy Flower to ring the changes if England are to have any chance of avoiding a 5-0 whitewash. It is time to start building for the future and to thank some of the stalwarts for their efforts, but put them out to pasture. Lehmann has shown faith in players such as Steve Smith and it has paid dividends. England have some players who they believe are good enough to step up, its now time to give them a chance to restore a bit of respectability to the tour.

Sadly for some of the senior England players they look jaded, the battle was too much, they no longer had the fight, and watching them one feels that they are simply lapping up the experience of a final Ashes tour. Maybe they would appreciate the experience more watching from the stands in Melbourne!


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