December 18, 2013

Where now for England?

ESPNcricinfo staff

The post-mortem into England's Ashes drubbing is well underway both within the team and the media. Build for the future? Try and win the next two Tests? Time to drop some senior players? What is Andy Flower's future. All issues up for debate. In the Guardian, Mike Selvey says that while wholesale changes are not the answer now is the time to start planning for the next Ashes in 2015.

Flower will need to make a rapid assessment of which players he believes will be around and in a position to form the nucleus of the squad in 2015. These might include, from the Perth XI Cook, Joe Root, Ian Bell, Stokes, and Stuart Broad, perhaps with the addition of Anderson still, and Bresnan. Michael Carberry probably not. How Kevin Pietersen fits into this is hard to gauge but if his ambition is still there then so should he be.

Andy Bull, in his Spin column, reflects on the similarities with 2006-07 both on the field and in terms of some of the over-reaction

Then, as now, England did not know their best XI when they arrived in Australia but then, given the injuries they had suffered, they had more excuse for the confusion. Now, as then, they made mistakes with their selections, although none so grievous as the decision to leave out Panesar and pick Giles. Picking three tall fast bowlers, Boyd Rankin, Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn, could yet become as infamous a decision, unless in the last two Tests the trio combine for more than the four wickets Tremlett has taken so far. Do that, though, and the question will be why, one game aside, one or the other or the third did not play when the series was still at stake.

Over in the Daily Mail, Martin Samuels says the England set-up need to take a hard look at themselves but also need to take leaf out of Australia's book and not pension off too many players just yet

Meanwhile, across the corridor, the inquest began. Whither Alastair Cook and Andy Flower, Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior, James Anderson and Graeme Swann. It was the end of an era of English domination in this finest of sporting contests, and some will argue the end of England, too. Certainly, this England. Yet what if Australia had thought the same way? What if men like Siddle, Haddin and Watson had been discarded in disgust, too, at some point in their sorry trot. It is not as if the margins of defeat were tiny in what English cricket may come to regard as the good old days: 197 runs to lose the 2009 series, an innings and 71, an innings and 157, an innings and 83 on the 2010-11 tour, 347 runs at Lord's last summer. Australia, your boys took one hell of a beating.

Plenty of people are having their say on England's position, including the Daily Telegraph's political correspondent Peter Oborne who says Alastair Cook must go.

Alastair Cook should step down as skipper. It's clear after England's dreadful and humiliating performance that he is not suited for the captaincy. Anybody listening to his media interviews over the last few weeks can tell that he lacks leadership qualities. More importantly, Cook has lost form dreadfully since becoming captain, and this matters. Cook is probably England's best batsman since Peter May 60 years ago. If he had not been captain it is almost certain that Cook would have put it the big scores that would have saved us from defeat. The England team desperately needs Cook's batting.