July 24, 2014

A checklist for England's fans

"Ishant Sharma can't even bowl". And other pearls you need to be spouting right about now

Every knowledgeable England fan on social media knows that the people wearing white in this picture need to be binned asap © Getty Images

As I trawl through social media with a haunted, soulless look on my face, it strikes me that not every England fan is massively overreacting to the second-Test defeat to India. Believe it or not, there are people out there who are taking time to form a considered opinion, who refuse to jump on bandwagons or diminish the opposition's achievements. They're a very small minority, but even so, it's troubling.

Considered opinion and even-handedness are not what social media is all about. With that in mind, here's a checklist as to what you, as an England supporter, should be saying right now.

1. Ishant Sharma can't even bowl
It's simply not enough to insult your own team. You need to do it while slagging off the opposition, giving them no credit whatsoever for achieving a memorable result. Why say that Ishant Sharma bowled well when you could just as easily say that he normally bowls ineffectively? By saying the latter, you can make England's efforts look even worse.

2. MS Dhoni can't even captain
Same principle as above. Belittle your team by discrediting the opposition. Dhoni may have won pretty much everything going, but that was because of the players. Anyone could captain India and win World Cups and whatnot with the talent he has at his disposal.

3. Alastair Cook can't even captain
It's nothing to do with the players. It's something more fundamental than that. It's Cook's captaincy. A poor captain never won anything.

4. Make Joe Root captain
Root is one of the few England players who's doing well at the minute. It is for that reason that he should be made captain. It worked the last time the best-performing batsman was made captain, didn't it? When someone's playing well, you really need to make the most of their inherent successfulness by making them do as much as possible. The pressure won't break him.

5. Drop at least one senior player
The team failed in the winter and it's failing now. Common denominators must be excised. Ian Bell is 32. He's had it. Bin him. James Anderson is tired and is letting the team down by not being their best bowler by a greater margin. Bin him.

6. Drop at least one newcomer
Remember when Ben Stokes was the only real positive to come out of the Ashes? Of course you don't. Bin him. That Sam Robson's clearly not the ideal opening partner for Alastair Cook. Bin him. And bin Cook too, obviously. That goes without saying.

7. Drop the spinner
What exactly is Moeen Ali bringing to the bowling attack, aside from wickets? England's second-highest wicket-taker in the series concedes far too many runs to be in any way effective. He's averaging almost as much as Broad and Plunkett in this series. Unforgivable. Bin him.

8. Drop the wicketkeeper
What's that? Matt Prior has dropped himself? Well, drop Jos Buttler then. Drop him pre-emptively before he loses England the next Test.

9. Identify a secret county genius
It's all well and good calling for everyone to be dropped/binned, but you also have to suggest alternatives. Everyone's got a favourite county player who they know - just know - would transform into the greatest player ever were they given a run in the Test team. If you're not sure who to get behind, try and look for someone who has absolutely no chance whatsoever of ever being selected. That way, your theory can never be tested and you can keep going on about the player in question ad nauseam, safe in the knowledge that you can never be proven wrong.

10. Sack the coach
Peter Moores is clearly holding England back. Unarguably, everything would be fine without him, just like it was immediately before he arrived, when England were a very, very successful team.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ram on July 24, 2014, 22:19 GMT

    2. Stop captaining from the dressing room with stats, feedback of previous matches, etc, find someone who can read the game on the ground instead of reading it in laptops (I believe either Cook is not the kind of a captain I think or he is not being allowed to do that). 3. It is always important to carry at least two new players along with the team for every series just to expose them to the international level instead of suddenly calling them. Because game can also be improved by listening to seniors in dressing room and playing along with them in the nets, which will certainly help youngsters and also boost the confidence in them that they are in contention to play for the country. 4. Board members should always take view of the players with regards to scheduling the matches, we can't ask professionals to slog like donkey under the banner of playing for country/serving for country. Utmost care has to be taken that player never thinks whats there in playing for country.

  • Ram on July 24, 2014, 22:10 GMT

    Ok let me suggest here. I certainly believe the players are world class even though they are losing right now (probably best available in England right now). So, my recommendations right now. 1. Instill confidence in players saying no matter what you are my team for the next 10 matches, but you have to perform the role assigned to you (success and failure shouldn't matter as long as is he playing according to the plan). If you look at the batsman from 1-6 in the team they all play similarly. Change it. Send an aggressive batsman along with Cook, if he fails send in stable batsman as one-down (Root), Bell at 4 as he is the most experienced and accomplished batsman in the team and can keep the score card ticking. 5th batsman. 6th wicketkeeper.7th and 8th allrounders, 9, 10, 11 bowlers. among 5, 6, 7 at least one has to be good at saving the wicket and others who can score. Now choose partner for cook, 5th, 6th, and 7th batsman who can play in above mentioned manner.

    to be Contd.

  • Marius on July 24, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    1. Broad out. Find literally anyone else to replace him. Jordan or Onions preferably. He looks stuffed right now, and chances are I could bowl faster than he did at Lord's. And I'm a leggie playing in the suburban 2nd XI comp.

    2. Cook out. Give Bell the captaincy (it's not like he could do worse), get Root to open, move everyone from Moeen to Plunkett up one spot, and put Kerrigan in. That way you've got a specialist spinner, and a longer tail - where you've been making more runs than the top order anyway.

    3. Prior out, Buttler in. Already happened, but Prior looked even more stuffed than Broad did.

    4. Teach the seamers how to pitch it up. If they must bowl short of a good length, it should be halfway down the pitch and aimed at the batsman's throat.

    5. Teach everyone how to play against a short delivery. There's nothing wrong with being a compulsive hooker when batting, but when saving a Test, trying to send the bowlers over the cow corner boundary isn't the best option.

  • Dummy4 on July 24, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    you missed most important point - Blame KP for all of these.

  • Raoul on July 24, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    Bring back Rob Key. He's ace.

  • Jonathan on July 24, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    Funny as always, your majesty, but I'd actually say that I don't see enough of 9. Lots of people willing to say how dreadful England are, but relatively few with any alternatives.

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