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The depths to which England cricket has slipped over the winter has been stark. An Ashes mauling and their shocking defeat to the Netherlands in the World T20 has placed calls for stronger personnel and better strategies, both on and off the field. Michael Vaughan, in his column for the Telegraph, says the reality check should be well heeded.
We concentrated solely on winning last summer and not producing a brand of cricket that would sell the game to the public. Cricket is always fighting other sports for attention so we have to win well but we have produced steady teams capable of boring average sides into submission. It has led the players to believe they are better than they are. As supporters we have been given a dose of reality too about the standard of this England team. We have good players but not great players. Now Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen have gone we need to fill the dressing room with attitude and character, and not pick players on stats-driven form in county cricket.
Mike Selvey, in the Guardian, dissects England's performance in the World T20 and finds their humbling against an Associate nation was almost on the cards with their slippery fielding and their desperate lack of confidence.
To fail to chase a low total against a modest Netherlands side highlighted not only the lack of skills in the English game in general when confronted with alien conditions, but also a lack of commitment and personal responsibility, the latter something that Giles has been trying to drum into players without obvious success.
In the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain says that it should not be Ashley Giles getting the blame for England's latest debacle.
That said, the real question for me is not about Giles -- or whoever else gets the job. It is about changing the brand of cricket played by England. When there's pace on the ball, and it's going through to the keeper and nibbling around under lights, they're fine because it's the kind of cricket they play at home.
With Matt Prior having been dropped from the England Test side, and Jonny Bairstow's unconvincing form in Australia, the wicketkeeping position is up for grabs at the start of the season. The role very much needs involves producing sizeable runs these days as well as how good they are behind the stumps. In the Observer, Tim Lewis thinks back to a previous era when there was a battle between the keepers
The Taylor-Knott imbroglio was not a standard, frothy, sporting back-and-forth. It was not: should the England football team line up with Ashley Cole or Leighton Baines at left-back? It meant something. Your allegiance was a revealing comment on who you were and what you stood for. It was an aesthetic judgment, perhaps even metaphysical. A vote for Taylor showed you acknowledged the labours of a fine craftsman, that you could appreciate unshowy elegance, that you weren't distracted by razzle-dazzle. A preference for Knott, meanwhile, screamed that you were an ignorant heathen.
Andy Flower likes to tap into the knowledge of other sports, and their coaches, as he decides on the best way to go about his job. That job has now become very tough in the wake of the Ashes whitewash and there are suggestions he will walk if he doesn't get his way over Kevin Pietersen. Sir Clive Woodward, who guided England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, writing in the Daily Mail, provides an view from outside the cricket world about how the ECB need to go about rebuilding.
No matter the sport, the head coach must be the only man who is unequivocally in charge, yet even Flower's job title of 'team director' muddies everything. In our national set-ups both in cricket and rugby, too many key decisions are being made by committee. That in turn leads to popularity contests and allows compromise to come into play. When things go wrong reports are commissioned -- the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash sparked the Schofield report -- but nobody fronts up to take the blame.
The UK media are picking through the bones of England's Ashes skeleton, partly trying to work out where it all went wrong and partly assessing where it ranks among sporting thrashings. Paul Hayward, in the Daily Telegraph, argues the 5-0 whitewash has to rank at the top of English humiliations given that they came off the back of winning 3-0 just a few months ago.
This time, after a reasonable first day of the series in Brisbane we saw England assailed by technical, intellectual and emotional chaos, with no one able to stop it. Recent Ashes history makes no sense. The swing from the summer is too great for us properly to comprehend because it takes us beyond mere sporting factors into a vast realm of psychology, team spirit and character. Flintoff has spoken of his depression on the 2006-07 tour. One wonders at the private thoughts of captain Cook and his men now and how they will suffer with the results from these five Tests slung permanently around their necks.
In the Daily Mail, Paul Newman writes that the rebuilding for 2015 - the next Ashes - has to start now and that five players who appeared in this series should never play for England again
The senior players have let England down. Graeme Swann will be the hardest to replace. Jonathan Trott will have to convince England that he is well enough not to leave a tour again if he is to come back but Matt Prior will return, possibly as early as the first Test of next summer. But there will be those who should never play Test cricket again after this -- Monty Panesar, Tim Bresnan, Chris Tremlett, Michael Carberry and Jonny Bairstow.
In the Guardian, Vic Marks assess the performances of Boyd Rankin and Michael Carberry on the third (and last) day in Sydney
We have seen plenty of Carberry already on this tour. He has impressed by his swift-footed valour against Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris at the start of the innings. Then, so often he would stagnate. Perhaps he felt he was doing his duty as wickets fell at the other end. Then he would be dismissed, a victim of his own inertia.
In his column for the Daily Telegraph, which was also published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Geoffrey Boycott does not think England will take the tough decisions that are needed.
Over recent years England have employed more backroom staff believing it makes them more professional. In fact, they have over-complicated professionalism. We have coaches for everything. Psychologists, team analysts and an 82 page diet book that made us a laughing stock. It is time they got into the real world and stopped wasting money on frivolous luxuries that do not make any difference when Mitchell Johnson is whistling it around your earhole. The players have stopped thinking for themselves.