July 25, 2014

How to save the England cricket team: a blueprint

It's time for probably a root-and-branch review and possibly even a full overhaul of the domestic game

"Quinoa. Fat bloody lot of good that did us. I'm telling you, kale's the way to go" © Getty Images

Drafting in players from the county system
There's every reason to suppose that the domestic set-up is producing the right sort of cricketer, i.e. young lads who can keep their mouths shut and their left elbows high when tucking the bat under their arm and walking off for a duck. With a bit of work on their team spirit and press-conference evasion techniques, several players could be elbowing their way into the middle order soon and elbowing their way right back into the dressing room two or three balls later.

Tapping into the wealth of expertise from older generations
If there's one thing England cricket really knows about, it's how to react to a crisis by freaking out massively and blaming everyone else. Advice should be sought from the key figures of the 1990s team for input into taking positives, working hard to turn things around and being grateful that West Indies are no longer any good at least.

More thought-provoking articles from veteran broadsheet columnists
The time has now come for Michael Henderson to ask the question others dare not ask: is there something innate in the DNA of white English cricketers that makes them lazy against the short ball, and is the white English cricketer's innate marvellous sense of rhythm in some way to blame?

Recruitment
It is the ECB's understanding that Ishant Sharma might have possibly had a grandmother or uncle or something who once came to the UK on holiday. No reason why he couldn't have a British passport fast-tracked in time for the Southampton Test. Only question is whether he will be nicknamed Sharma-y (the proposed choice of attack leader James Anderson) or Ishanty (the preferred nomenclature of England's self-styled Mayor McCheese, Matt Prior).

Stepping up the Pace Bowler Remodelling Programme
After the successes achieved in turning Steve Finn from a wicket-taking quick with a technical flaw into a gibbering husk of his former self, it may now be time for Anderson to have his action re-re-modelled to the state it was in right at the start of his career. It is also hoped that Stuart Broad could be made more dangerous by having him bowl left-handed, or possibly just underarm.

Leadership development
Sadly it appears that the previous captaincy paradigm the ECB was working towards may have under-successed. In retrospect, the best answer to the question "And what sort of England team are you looking to lead, skipper?" was probably not "Whatever Mr Flower tells me to do." Especially now Mr Flower is no longer in charge.

Copying other countries
This has always worked brilliantly in the past, after the success of trying to be like Australia. Given the success of Ishant Sharma, it is quite clear that the time has now come for England to be more like India. We must focus on developing tall, erratic seamers who come good every now and again. Also, in order to produce the amount of batting talent we need, it will be necessary for the population of the UK to be increased slightly to 1 billion people.

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