The Ashes 2013-14 December 17, 2013

Can England's senior players fight back?

It used to be said that a player never recovers from the disappointment of a poor Ashes tour. What are the prospects for the senior England players who failed to deliver?
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It used to be said that a player never recovers from the disappointment of a poor Ashes tour.

There is plentiful evidence in this England side to suggest otherwise: Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, James Anderson and Kevin Pietersen were all part of the grim 2006-07 Ashes campaign yet have gone on to enjoy distinguished careers.

But when a man as reserved as Cook starts to talk about senior figures in the England side "playing for their futures" then you know something has gone seriously amiss.

England, for the first time since 2009, do not hold the Ashes and several of the senior players on which they built their hopes have failed to deliver.

Ashes defeats - particularly overwhelming Ashes defeats - tend to mark watershed moments in careers. There will be calls for resignations, there will be calls for sackings and calls for players to be dropped. It is likely some of those calls will be answered. There may even be a retirement, or at least a partial retirement, in the offing.

It is surely relevant that most of those who have endured disappointing series are those who have been involved in the England set-up for some time. As such, they have played a huge amount of cricket, they have spent around 250 days a year in hotels and they have been in the same high-intensity environment. Somewhere along the line, it appears they have become jaded.

The case of Jonathan Trott - forced home with mental exhaustion - might be extreme, but there are several other players on this tour who might be not so far from a similar fate.

Equally, it may be no coincidence that, of those to have enjoyed better series, three are relatively new to the set-up. Michael Carberry, Joe Root and Ben Stokes are all relatively fresh to international cricket, are yet to be wearied by the treadmill or worn down by the intensity of the England set-up. All three showed the mental strength to fight just a little harder than their more experienced colleagues.

Here we look at the performance of five senior players and weigh-up their chances of being involved when the Ashes is next contested, in England in 2015.

Alastair Cook: Age 28 Record in the series: 154 runs at 25.66 Chances of being involved in 2015: High

By Cook's high standards, he has endured a poor six months. He has not made a century in any of the eight Tests against Australia and, with ponderous feet and a backlift that appears to bring his bat down at an angle, he has looked an increasingly hesitant, awkward figure at the crease. A propensity to plant his back foot may be the long-term issue: he is reaching and pushing for the ball outside the off stump and over balancing towards the off side when playing off his legs. He has also, simplistic though it may sound, been the unfortunate victim of a couple of very fine deliveries. The best batsmen find ways to deal with such issues, but Cook might consider himself somewhat unfortunate. Weariness may be a factor. No batsman in international cricket has faced as many deliveries as as Cook since the 2010-11 Ashes series - he has actually faced more than 1,000 more than anyone else - and he is also carrying the burden of captaincy. When England fought back to win in India, the responsibility appeared to benefit Cook's game but perhaps the attritional nature of the role has worn him down.

He has struggled technically before. Towards the end of 2010, the Pakistan seamers provoked a crisis of self-confidence, before Cook rediscovered his form in Australia. With a record as good as his - he has already scored more Test centuries than any England player - it seems hard to imagine he will not find a way past his current predicament and it is inconceivable that Cook will step down or be sacked in the near future.

James Anderson: Age 31 Record in the series: 7 wickets at 52.48 apiece Chances of being involved in 2015: Medium

Sometimes it is a mistake to judge simply by returns. Anderson has, for much of this series, bowled far better than his figures suggest. While comparisons with the end of Matthew Hoggard's Test career have been made - Hoggard was dropped having lost just a little of his pace - Anderson has been bowling briskly - he passed 90mph in Perth - and has rarely delivered loose balls. But his failure to find much lateral movement has rendered him worryingly impotent on pitches on which Australia's trio of seamers have proved more adept. Anderson has also suffered through the failure of his batting colleagues: provided with little time to rest between innings, he has invariably been forced into the field in the second innings with Australia's batsmen benefiting from a dominant match position. It would be simplistic to dismiss Anderson as dangerous only in English conditions, too: only a year ago MS Dhoni rated him the difference between the teams in India and he was excellent in Australia three years ago. This is far from the vintage performance that Anderson produced in 2010-11, but his chances of being involved when Australia return to the UK in 2015 remain decent.

Graeme Swann: Age: 34 Record in the series: 7 wicket at 80 apiece. Chances of being involved in 2015: Low.

Swann has bowled better than his figures suggest. On pitches offering him little - he is far from the first spinner to find life tough in Australia - and invariably facing match situations providing the batsmen with a license to attack, he has been given very little opportunity to shine. The relative lack of left-handers in the Australian order has done him few favours, either, while the lack of turn has rendered his arm-ball something of an irrelevance. You could not tell from the figures, but he produced his best bowling of the series in Perth, gaining pleasing dip and beating as good a player of spin as Michael Clarke in the flight in the first innings. He has failed to find much turn, however, and has also not generated the bounce of his opposite number, Nathan Lyon. There have been occasional, though unconfirmed, signs that his right elbow - twice operated upon and an increasing concern - is bothering him again and a nagging suspicion that he is not quite able to sustain the dip and turn he once could through long spells. With many, many miles on the clock and plentiful opportunities in other walks of life beckoning, it would be no surprise if Swann retired from at least one form of the game in the coming weeks.

Kevin Pietersen Age: 33 Record in the series: 165 runs at 27.50 Chances of being involved in 2015: High.

It is the manner of Pietersen's dismissals that provokes such criticism. It can often seem he is getting himself out: twice he has been caught clipping to mid-wicket, twice he has been caught pulling and once he has been caught on the long-on boundary when trying to drive over the fielder positioned for the stroke. But such a view fails to credit the excellence of the Australian bowling against him. Pietersen has been tied down by tight bowling and inventive fields that have led to him looking for release shots. While the redoubtable Peter Siddle has gained the credit for having something of a hold over Pietersen, the truth is less straightforward. Pietersen was often forced to defend for long periods against Johnson and Harris and looked to target Siddle as the weaker member of the seam unit. People may look for easy explanations - his recent knee problems, for example - but there is little evidence of any long-term issue other than his frustration at being tied down by good, accurate bowling. There has been no shortage of fight: his strike-rate for the series - 51.40 - is considerably down on his career rate - 62.01 - and Pietersen has been conspicuous in his efforts to advise and encourage other members of the squad. He has had a disappointing series, certainly, and some will always look to punish him for perceived errors in the past. But Pietersen has recently suggested he intends to continue playing international cricket until 2015 and, whether in decline or not, remains as dangerous a player as England possess. He is far too good to be jettisoned.

Matt Prior Age: 31 Record in the series: 107 runs at 17.83 Chances of being involved in 2015: Low.

From the moment in May that Prior was presented with England's player of the year award for the previous 12 months, his form has deteriorated. At first it was just his batting - Prior has made only one half-century in 19 subsequent innings - but of late his keeping has started to suffer, too. As a player who likes to counter-attack, part of the problem is that Prior has been brought to the crease too early against a hard ball and fresh bowlers. But he has also shown some faulty shot selection, failing to show the requisite patience and judgement about which balls to leave and defend. And, as his run of low scores increased, so his confidence has fallen. He has been another victim of some fine, disciplined bowling from Australia. The fact that his challengers - the likes of Jos Buttler, Steve Davies or Jonny Bairstow - are deemed either not to be ready or not to be in the best of form, might win him some more time, but Prior has already been the beneficiary of the selectors' faith. Time is running out for him.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BigINDFan on December 18, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    It is gutting for Eng but they should not get carried away and start axing or let players retire becoz of losing the Ashes. There are 2 more tests left and focus should be on competing and trying to win. So Eng blanked Aus at home only recently and now Aus returned the favor in their backyard. Not all is lost! Of course Anderson, Swann and Prior should be let go since their performances and body language is not positive. Make those changes right now and let younger players compete and learn in the next two matches. Start rebuilding now. Just look at how Stokes played the last innings. So what if the seniors failed let them go and bring Trott back when he is ready. He needs to be told it is ok to fail and just play your natural game. Eng will be fine.

    Aussies deserve this win for the hard work and patience. But they are not dominating. It is mostly Eng not being mentally strong and focused. Pick up the pieces and push forward. Cook needs to be strong and inspire not wallow in despair.

  • jb633 on December 17, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    Today is an upsetting day as an English fan and it is extremely difficult to stomach what we have witnessed. It is not so much the losses but the manner of them that hurts the fans like myself. I must congratulate Aus as they have had some dark times recently and their hunger to improve has won the day. Their attitude in the face of adversity is one I think any sportsman can appreciate and learn from. They have been aggressive, nasty, brutal, skillful and most of all hungry. Talent and experience is important in sport but nothing can compete with dedication and focus. I am hoping that these losses will ground us as a nation and give us the kick we need to replace the complacency with hunger and the lethargy with dynamism. I must say despite all the garbage trash talk between bitter Eng/Aus fans I respect what you guys have done and how you have done it. I am going to try and instill this attitude into the club side I captain. Lets see where it gets me hahaha

  • kepler22b on December 20, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Posted by ArthursAshes on (December 19, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

    You said 'Forget about what happened in the Tests' Um that's all we're talking about. There are only 5 pitches we have to worry about. So far the Aussies have scored 700+ on the first three. They certainly haven't been 'bowler friendly' for England. If the English keep blaming tosses or pitches then they will continue to be smashed.

    And forget Berry, he's having a bleat because the Vics are hopeless this year.

  • on December 20, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    Prior's main problem is not his batting - it's his wicket keeping! Those missed stumpings are much more important than how many runs he scores. His problem is that he's been given the role as main arbiter on whether to refer or not. He's trying to watch everything when he should be watching the ball into his gloves.

    I want changes now - I want Pietersen, Swann, and Prior out and start from there. I'd move Bell to open and push Cook to 3.

  • woody3 on December 19, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Swann is not the bowler he was. He hasnt been worked out, he has elbow and shoulder problems. Would not be surprised if he retires after ashes or very soon after. Anderson, while still occasionally hitting good pace is generally slower than he was. He looks almost as if trying to extend his career by bowling within himself. It could end up finishing it. Cook and Pieterson will play as long as they want. Look at the way the Aussies celebrate Pietersons wicket. Only question for Pieterson is desire, for Cook whether a return to the ranks would help his batting. Prior has been batting poorly and his keeping has been dire. He appears to have either lost confidence or burnt out. How well he bounces back will be a test of him and the management.

  • IAS2009 on December 19, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    i agree that England played very slow, specially KP and Prior, they have some soft dismissal too. The key to England success in the past was mainly cook holding one end and batsmen at other End score freely, look at innings from Bell and KP in India, it was Cook holding the other end and there are no collapses, Ashes in England although Cook did not play well bu Root was doing similar task and it was close series than the result shows 3-0 England was far less convincing than 3-0 Aussies here. This is still very good England team, players caught up in bad patch a lot of them at the same time, They might win next two if they play positive and put score on the board to give any chance to bowling unit to get 20 wickets.

  • JG2704 on December 19, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    @maximum6 on (December 18, 2013, 23:25 GMT) The problem is - as I've cited as a potential problem for a while - is that England batsmen have got into the habit of getting bogged down and not moving the game forward. It seems to be a mindset thing. KP and Prior are both going at a SR at around 50 but 3 of KPs inns and 5 of MPs have been significantly under a SR of 50. In general playing a positive inns is so alien to English batsmen that when there becomes a situation where we have to chase the game we look panicky when trying to be positive. Also I've seen Bairstow showing positive intent for England before and Ballance has a rep for being a positive batsman

  • Nutcutlet on December 19, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    With the Ashes gone, England really needs to begin the rebuilding process without further delay. This means that there are some huge calls to make & not ones that Andy Flower can view with his usual equanimity. The prospect of Rankin &/or Ballance making their debuts in front of about 85,000+ triumphant Aussies is not one that can be viewed with a great deal of confidence. No matter. It has to be done, for the sake of the long-term. What England needs most of all is a positive statement of intent that takes away the fear & trepidation that has seeped through in the previous three Tests. Some reputations have been damaged, but if some are repairable, by the same token, some are not. Swann & Prior have been extremely good England players, but how many last chances should they be given? If Broad isn't fit, then Rankin plays .And it just may be that Ballance sits this one out as Jonny B must surely be given his chance. Otherwise his tour selection looks absurd. No easy calls for the G.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 19, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, I think we've seen a very jaded england team, weary from tours away and seeing the inside of hotel rooms, India were in very similar situation in 2011, where thier senior players all looked a little jaded.

    I thought it was a mistake to play key test players in the ICC Champions trophy especially with the schedule, we had at the back end of the year.

    When you look at the number of tests played since 01-jan-2012 England have playeed 28 tests, only 13 of those have been at home, by Jan 10th 2014 it will be a total of 30 tests, 17 Away, compare that to Aus who will have played 26 tests, with only 12 away.

  • ArthursAshes on December 19, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    Kepler22b

    Forget about what happened in the Tests, look it up, Australia have been producing more bowler friendly wickets for their cricket. Here's one comment last year from South Australia coach Darren Berry about producing "green tops".

    Berry told reporters Cricket Australia needed to look into "the state for first class wickets across the country. Wickets all around the country are very, very bowler friendly."

    Shaggy076

    I'm not saying the younger Australian bowlers are no good or can't bowl fast, it's just that a lot of it is promise and they do seem to be injury prone. They've also been helped by home pitches that are bowler friendly. It isn't just about bowling fast either, the radar has to be right, ask Mitch.

    The big problem Australia has in the future is batting. Where are the young batsman? Some have been tried and found out, that's why the current Australian team went for experience, even newcomer Bailey is 30. Who replaces Clarke and Watson?

  • BigINDFan on December 18, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    It is gutting for Eng but they should not get carried away and start axing or let players retire becoz of losing the Ashes. There are 2 more tests left and focus should be on competing and trying to win. So Eng blanked Aus at home only recently and now Aus returned the favor in their backyard. Not all is lost! Of course Anderson, Swann and Prior should be let go since their performances and body language is not positive. Make those changes right now and let younger players compete and learn in the next two matches. Start rebuilding now. Just look at how Stokes played the last innings. So what if the seniors failed let them go and bring Trott back when he is ready. He needs to be told it is ok to fail and just play your natural game. Eng will be fine.

    Aussies deserve this win for the hard work and patience. But they are not dominating. It is mostly Eng not being mentally strong and focused. Pick up the pieces and push forward. Cook needs to be strong and inspire not wallow in despair.

  • jb633 on December 17, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    Today is an upsetting day as an English fan and it is extremely difficult to stomach what we have witnessed. It is not so much the losses but the manner of them that hurts the fans like myself. I must congratulate Aus as they have had some dark times recently and their hunger to improve has won the day. Their attitude in the face of adversity is one I think any sportsman can appreciate and learn from. They have been aggressive, nasty, brutal, skillful and most of all hungry. Talent and experience is important in sport but nothing can compete with dedication and focus. I am hoping that these losses will ground us as a nation and give us the kick we need to replace the complacency with hunger and the lethargy with dynamism. I must say despite all the garbage trash talk between bitter Eng/Aus fans I respect what you guys have done and how you have done it. I am going to try and instill this attitude into the club side I captain. Lets see where it gets me hahaha

  • kepler22b on December 20, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Posted by ArthursAshes on (December 19, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

    You said 'Forget about what happened in the Tests' Um that's all we're talking about. There are only 5 pitches we have to worry about. So far the Aussies have scored 700+ on the first three. They certainly haven't been 'bowler friendly' for England. If the English keep blaming tosses or pitches then they will continue to be smashed.

    And forget Berry, he's having a bleat because the Vics are hopeless this year.

  • on December 20, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    Prior's main problem is not his batting - it's his wicket keeping! Those missed stumpings are much more important than how many runs he scores. His problem is that he's been given the role as main arbiter on whether to refer or not. He's trying to watch everything when he should be watching the ball into his gloves.

    I want changes now - I want Pietersen, Swann, and Prior out and start from there. I'd move Bell to open and push Cook to 3.

  • woody3 on December 19, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Swann is not the bowler he was. He hasnt been worked out, he has elbow and shoulder problems. Would not be surprised if he retires after ashes or very soon after. Anderson, while still occasionally hitting good pace is generally slower than he was. He looks almost as if trying to extend his career by bowling within himself. It could end up finishing it. Cook and Pieterson will play as long as they want. Look at the way the Aussies celebrate Pietersons wicket. Only question for Pieterson is desire, for Cook whether a return to the ranks would help his batting. Prior has been batting poorly and his keeping has been dire. He appears to have either lost confidence or burnt out. How well he bounces back will be a test of him and the management.

  • IAS2009 on December 19, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    i agree that England played very slow, specially KP and Prior, they have some soft dismissal too. The key to England success in the past was mainly cook holding one end and batsmen at other End score freely, look at innings from Bell and KP in India, it was Cook holding the other end and there are no collapses, Ashes in England although Cook did not play well bu Root was doing similar task and it was close series than the result shows 3-0 England was far less convincing than 3-0 Aussies here. This is still very good England team, players caught up in bad patch a lot of them at the same time, They might win next two if they play positive and put score on the board to give any chance to bowling unit to get 20 wickets.

  • JG2704 on December 19, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    @maximum6 on (December 18, 2013, 23:25 GMT) The problem is - as I've cited as a potential problem for a while - is that England batsmen have got into the habit of getting bogged down and not moving the game forward. It seems to be a mindset thing. KP and Prior are both going at a SR at around 50 but 3 of KPs inns and 5 of MPs have been significantly under a SR of 50. In general playing a positive inns is so alien to English batsmen that when there becomes a situation where we have to chase the game we look panicky when trying to be positive. Also I've seen Bairstow showing positive intent for England before and Ballance has a rep for being a positive batsman

  • Nutcutlet on December 19, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    With the Ashes gone, England really needs to begin the rebuilding process without further delay. This means that there are some huge calls to make & not ones that Andy Flower can view with his usual equanimity. The prospect of Rankin &/or Ballance making their debuts in front of about 85,000+ triumphant Aussies is not one that can be viewed with a great deal of confidence. No matter. It has to be done, for the sake of the long-term. What England needs most of all is a positive statement of intent that takes away the fear & trepidation that has seeped through in the previous three Tests. Some reputations have been damaged, but if some are repairable, by the same token, some are not. Swann & Prior have been extremely good England players, but how many last chances should they be given? If Broad isn't fit, then Rankin plays .And it just may be that Ballance sits this one out as Jonny B must surely be given his chance. Otherwise his tour selection looks absurd. No easy calls for the G.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 19, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, I think we've seen a very jaded england team, weary from tours away and seeing the inside of hotel rooms, India were in very similar situation in 2011, where thier senior players all looked a little jaded.

    I thought it was a mistake to play key test players in the ICC Champions trophy especially with the schedule, we had at the back end of the year.

    When you look at the number of tests played since 01-jan-2012 England have playeed 28 tests, only 13 of those have been at home, by Jan 10th 2014 it will be a total of 30 tests, 17 Away, compare that to Aus who will have played 26 tests, with only 12 away.

  • ArthursAshes on December 19, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    Kepler22b

    Forget about what happened in the Tests, look it up, Australia have been producing more bowler friendly wickets for their cricket. Here's one comment last year from South Australia coach Darren Berry about producing "green tops".

    Berry told reporters Cricket Australia needed to look into "the state for first class wickets across the country. Wickets all around the country are very, very bowler friendly."

    Shaggy076

    I'm not saying the younger Australian bowlers are no good or can't bowl fast, it's just that a lot of it is promise and they do seem to be injury prone. They've also been helped by home pitches that are bowler friendly. It isn't just about bowling fast either, the radar has to be right, ask Mitch.

    The big problem Australia has in the future is batting. Where are the young batsman? Some have been tried and found out, that's why the current Australian team went for experience, even newcomer Bailey is 30. Who replaces Clarke and Watson?

  • Shaggy076 on December 19, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    ArthursAshes; Last summer Starc was clocked at 148 k/hr (92.5mph), Patterson was clocked at the same speed in India. Cummins has always been at that pace as well. We do have young bowlers with genuine pace. Patterson at the start of his career tore through the Indian batsman who came over here as favourites to win. Right now I wouldn't have any of these three in our best team as the incumbents are performing. But if needed and injury free they are certainly talented enough to contribute.

  • jmcilhinney on December 18, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    I've said elsewhere that the England players being jaded is not an excuse but it may be at least part of the reason for their poor performance. The problem is that there really is no solution to that issue. It's hard to become unjaded without time away from the situation, which means that some of those players would have to be dropped or else walk away from international cricket. That may spell the end of the road for some of them. I'm not sure that anyone would appreciate any player making themselves unavailable for selection without fairly extreme cause, e.g. Trott, but if these players' loss of form is more than just a loss of form then continuing to play may not be of any help.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 18, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    What is needed is not LESS aggression from England. Dropping KP and Prior may seem a good knee jerk but in reality you are wanting to drop the two players who are capable of agression and lifting the scoring rate, so desultory as it is, and letting it drop to 1.14,not 2. wghatever. Runs have to be scored. occupation of the crease for the sake of it will just make us even more laughing stock. We have been ridiculous as it is and Root though he scored 87 at Adelaide does not have clue how to keep the score moving. He has no notion that runs are required. The future? Give it up. he needs to go back to county cricket to try and iron out his scoring deficiency. Cook too needs to buck it up, We need to be scoring at 3.5 to have a chance. otherwise the strokeless wonders will drag us even deeper into the mire. As for Panesar replacing Swann? get real! Or Kerrigan? Or Briggs? Is this live at the Appollo or Test cricket? And Finn? Please give us a break. He is THE liability.

  • on December 18, 2013, 23:15 GMT

    Send for James Foster! If we were playing in England, Matt Prior, who has served England royally, would be rested. In practice, of course, bringing in someone for Boxing Day is a non starter now. Foster and Chris Read have not been treated well - one suspects that along with Robert Key and Ravi Bopara they have not fitted well into the dressing room. . Both can now bat and are world class keepers. Anderson is still our best bowler at home; Broad is inconsistent, Bresnan not really suited for Aussie pitches (especially WACA). Why on earth have the England management not managed Finn better? The psychology is not working.

  • kepler22b on December 18, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    Posted by ArthursAshes on (December 18, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

    Um those bowler friendly pitches have seen Australia score 700 three times this summer without losing all 20 wickets. Both the Aussies and Saffas scored big here last summer and the Aussies - particularly Clarke - scored massively against the Indians. The difference between here and other countries is that the outfields are fast and not much cricket is lost to weather.

    And watch out for Cummins and Pattinson; both are quick and steepling (if they can ever get their backs right).

  • kepler22b on December 18, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    Cook faces so many balls because he scores too slowly and bowlers will not bowl to his run scoring zones any more.

    Swann has bowled better than his figures suggest. No he hasn't but keep dreaming. He has rarely beaten the bat or had chances put down.

    ...facing match situations providing the batsmen with a license to attack.

    Well if he bowled out a few more Aussies he wouldn't be facing those situations. He has been attacked and absolutely carted. 3 of his 7 wickets have come when players are on the assault in the 2nd innings. He did bowl slightly better in the 1st innings in Perth but the aussies are not worried about him at all and Bailey and Watson will continue to thrash him.

    Swann was replaced by Root to stop the carnage in Perth.

    BigINDFan

    There's a huge difference in the manner of the 'blankings'. This is a slaughter. The poms have been bowled out 6 times and chased 500 in all three tests. I suggest you watch the second day 2 Brisbane or the first session of day 4.

  • JG2704 on December 18, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding on (December 18, 2013, 14:52 GMT) Personally , I'd make changes in the next test. You'd know more about Jonny's Wking but I don't see him doing any worse with the bat. KP will stay in the side and probably play a big inns now that it doesn't matter. Really there are a handful of players who could go for the next match and some big names and I'm not saying the replacements are better/would do better , but at least they are fresher/less scarred. It might do the individual players more good to be rested too and who knows one of the replacements might just stand up. The worst case is that we get thrashed again but at least we've tried something new

  • JG2704 on December 18, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    @jackiethepen on (December 18, 2013, 10:31 GMT) Beg to differ re KP. I thought pretty much all of his dismissals had a lax feel to them. Also pretty much all the batsmen seem to have only had 2 gears. As things stand I think the 2 players who come home with any sort of credit are Stokes and Carberry. Stokes for his efforts/tenacity and Carberry (while not technically the best) seems to have valued his wicket more than his more experienced teammates

  • on December 18, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    I thought this was the greatest England cricket team ever... According to the English media ?.....greatest top order batsman in English cricket history ?...... .... And how come only the English batsman have breakdowns ... Mentally !....umm

  • BO512 on December 18, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    I have no doubt that swan should stay in the England team, he may have had a hard time in Australia but look at his other recent series. I do feel that Prior is past his best though, I think that they should give him a break from tests but that he should not be dropped for ever I think he should be temporarily be replaced by Buttler. Anderson may not have performed well this series but whenever he has a bad time he usually bounces back, he should be given a good while in the England team yet. Cook needs to sort out his problems but will not be dropped.

  • on December 18, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    Can I politely suggest that Alastair Cook temporarily steps down from the captaincy for these final 2 Ashes tests to just concentrate on his batting? Someone who would clearly be deemed to be a temporary captain such as Ian Bell could step into the role for the MCG & Sydney tests. It wouldn't be a long break from captaincy for Cook, after all the ODIs will soon be here in January but a bit of freshness might do wonders for all concerned.

  • oze13 on December 18, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    If Prior is selected for the Boxing Day Test it means only thing. England are going nowhere as they haven't got the guts to make tough decisions. To be honest, Swann, Anderson and Pietersen should all be feeling the shepherds crook. Anderson's body language is appalling. You can't perform like they have and have any complaint about being dropped. Complacency is endemic in this England squad. Cook has to get to grips with the captaincy. Warnie was right all along!

  • anuradea on December 18, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    I do not know what all the fuss is. As I have said in the past once England play a few matches in england in the early summer they will win and all will be forgotten. But they will have to stop being babied and asked to deliver for what they get paid for as this is their JOB. Like everyone else who does a job for a living who is asked to perform to keep their jobs the players need to perform as well. It is up to the management to have the capable back ups ready as replacements. As for trot and the others who complaint of mental exhaustion means that they have not being managed well and has been babied for too long. If you want to be a premier sports person at international level you need to be tough mentally and physically and it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you develop the necessary toughness. You can not start a tour and leave it after one game as if you do you will be letting down your country, team, and yourself in that order. How many from other countries had left a tour!!

  • Chris_P on December 18, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    @ jb633. Good luck with your team next season. I am currently going through a tough time in my season as well, but it's all good. All said & done, while the victories have been emphatic, still, in my mind, I don' think England is as bad as many make out nor do I believe we are near where we should be, we still got a few problem areas. Normally I prefer not to comment on opposition players as I leave that to their supporters, but I really feel that Stokes has performed well when tossed into the Ashes cauldren. This oftem breaks players, but he showed plenty of grit, & it was refreshing to see EVERY Australian player applaud his century, something both sides haven't done lately.

  • Long-Leg on December 18, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    @liz1558: A very good point about Finn. Why has he not progressed as expected. England seem willing to keep faith with out of form batsmen who have talent. Why do they not back young bowlers with enormous potential in the same way?

    @lioneart: I have not heard any good reason why Onions was not brought on this tour. He should have been here.

    @Saad Amjad: You must be joking!

  • yorkshire-86 on December 18, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    There is no doubting Cook's place in the XI, like many have said he will probably go on to break most English accumulative batting records, and the Test appearance record too. What is the problem, is him being captain. Captaincy was thrust upon him despite him showing NO leadership WHATSOEVER in the games leading up to Strauss's retirement. The other problem is the initial selection of bowlers. Like many have said, Onions left at home is a disgrace. Finn - dropped in the previous series for poor performance. Tremlett - has shown NOTHING since coming back from injury to make him look like he is still able to bowl at this level. Rankin - a guy who has never played a Test in his entire LIFE, suddenly given a seat on an Ashes tour? And Carberry over Compton? Big error. A guy with Test centuries discarded for someone who seems to get scores of 30-60 runs then give his wicket away EVERY time? He is out of his depth at this level.

  • anton1234 on December 18, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    I must say, I have enjoyed this series; the sledging, the fact that the two sets of players are not getting along. If two opposing teams are all friendly to each other, who socialise at the the end of a match, that image spoils it for me. You are on the opposing teams and therefore should be hostile, as this series has proven to be.

  • on December 18, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    England senior players piss on cricket pitch Just need to remember Embarrsing day for cricket and after that see wats going on ........

  • Englishmanabroad on December 18, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    @Valleypf Your comment regarding Anderson/Steyn is, to put it politely, pretty inane. In 9 years Steyn has played ~20 test matches and taken ~120 wickets while in 10 years Anderson has played in 90 test matches and taken ~390 wickets. So based on that, and using your ridiculous logic, is it your contention that by the time Steyn has played 90 test (which at his current rate will take another 30yrs) he will have amassed ~550 wickets???? Good Luck.

  • cric_J on December 18, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    @Maximum6 : Couldn't agree with you more regarding England needing an aggressor at the top with Cook. It isn't without reason that some of the best opening pairs of test history have had one accumulator and one aggressor. When you have such a combination, you have solidity in your batting from end and aggression from the other. That is there isn't too much risk taking from both ends yet the score board keeps ticking. Also it gives a lot to the opposition bowlers/captain to think about as they need to approach both players differently. The need for one of the openers to be attacking becomes all the more significant when playing teams who look to attack from the word go, much like this Aussie side.

    Cook, despite all his off form in the last 8-9 months, is a perfect accumulator/grafter. Carbs, naturally, isn't the sort of grafter he has had to be this series. Neither is Joe. But due to Cook's early dismissals early, they've had to change their plans.

  • ArthursAshes on December 18, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding, I don't think either Pattinson and Starc covered themselves in glory in England last summer. Australian pitches have been bowler friendly for a few years according to reports and this may have inflated the stats of many of their younger pace bowlers coming through. There's no younger version of Johnson, getting it around 95mph and if it's accurate, that will always be a handful.

    The pitches certainly dented the stats of many young Australian batsman - where are they? If Clarke and Watson retire they have big gaps to fill. Warner and Smith could be their senior younger batsman and while they are good, I wouldn't put them in the class of previous generations of Aussie batsman.

    Credit to Australia, but in 2015 they may be forced to field a very different team. I still fancy England to win it back in English conditions, unless Johnson is wrapped up in cotton wool and can still bowl accurate mid 90's when he's 34.

  • on December 18, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    The series is lost, the star players are jaded, out of form. Give them a rest, give some younger players some test experience - so when the stars reach the end of their careers their replacements will not be inexperienced at the top level.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 18, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    @ArthursAshes, a good point but in the wings, are Pattinson, Cummins and Starc, providing they get over thier fitness issues. Int he keeping department you have Wade whoo looks a very competent replacement for Haddin.

    The question is who is likely to succeed Rodgers, I was suprised they didnt plump for Robson over Rodgers in england this year, he was a longer term prospect.

  • ArthursAshes on December 18, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    2015 will be an interesting return series, in part because this Australian team can hardly be called one for the future. Quite a few of them are the wrong side of 30. Approximate ages in 2015. Rogers 38, Watson 34, Clarke 35, Bailey 33, Haddin 38, Johnson 34, Harris 36, Siddle 31, and all of this assumes no retirements, loss of form or injuries. It's a side built for now, not a dynasty and the younger players coming through, especially in the batting, are hardly world beaters. There's no one of Clarke's class on the horizon. England ought to be worried if all these players were in their 20's, but it's a side that could decline very quickly. Could be that Australia will have the bigger problems in 2015.

  • lioneart on December 18, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    Has anybody heard a good reason why Graham Onions was left at home?

  • YorkshirePudding on December 18, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    @JG2704, I am starting to feel the same way about Flower, I think like all teams sometimes you need a shake up, playing NZ in NZ and in the early summer was a chance to rest some key players like Anderson, Broad, and allow the batsmen to play 3-4 early season FC games, so they could be ready for what is a marathon of 10 tests against the same opponents.

    I was looking at the stats for games played since the start of 2012, England 28, Aus 24, and SA 18 (those are the ones I remember).

  • AshesErnie on December 18, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    KP has got to go. For all the rubbish talked about him being a team man when he got his latest let-off a year ago, he's still an ego-driven loose canon doing more harm than good and completely beyond the control of Flower, Gooch, Cook or anyone on the ECB's gravy train. One for Paul Downton's first bullet......

  • JG2704 on December 18, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    My 2 biggest worries re replacing are Swann and Prior. Swann has been the best spinner England have had since Underwood and re Prior - you have to go back to Stewart before you get a WK batsman who compares. India have rebuilt nicely after making some necessary calls but India is a much bigger country where cricket is a much bigger sport. My one change I think would be Flower at the top. He's done well for England but has taken them as far as he can IMO and I think there have been several instances where we've kept underperforming players in the sides for too long because of loyalty/past performances. It's almost like dropping a player is like ending their careers. Also I think he's a bit of a one trick pony re tactics etc. I had kind of hoped the India series was proof that we could turn things around and we'd turned a corner but looking back on this year the 3-0 Eng Ashes flattered us, We could so easily have drawn 1 of the NZ home tests and were probably lucky to draw in NZ.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 18, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Though we are looking at present players and a few young ones have been mentioned elsewhere, something which stares me right in the face is the idea of initiative..England lack what Australia had in this series. A really aggressive proactive run hungry initiative grabber at the top of the order. Aus have Warner. We have stodge stodge and more stodge-though carberry has at least lightened the load a bit. The model for what I seek sits in on the 'Verdict' and plays for Somerset. We desperately need a Gooch/Stewart,Trescothick style of opener. it is all very well playing anchor but how many do we need when no-one has gone out there to take the initiative. Carberry is in possession and could give it a go. Otherwise we must look elsewhere.No point in bringing back Compton.Cook is what he is. We won against odds in 2005 by having a higher run rate than Aus. Now we have a half speed runrate. Root is certainly not the answer. Food for thought.

  • on December 18, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    Suggested 4th Test team: Cook, Robson (if poss, Root if nott) Bell, Ballance, Root (Carberry if Root opening), Stokes, Bairstow, Bresnan, Finn, Rankin, Panesar. That is, change everything that moves. Because either a) the current team has forcibly expressed its unspoken bone-marrow commitment to losing the series 5-0 (not through complacency, I feel, but fear of the pain of the responsibility created by regular winning i.e. the deep reason why some think England better when underdogs) or b) I'm wrong about the foregoing, but there's not much point in seeing the dodgy veterans boost their averages and draw/win a match or two when it's useless, so give the others a chance and see what might turn up, individually or even team-wise. And then start from scratch with a new coach (not Giles either, look at the start he made), all squad contracts cancelled pro tem (see you in court of you object), play some county cricket, pick a team, pick a captain from among them - future ahoy!

  • YorkshirePudding on December 18, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    @waza1234, Moving Root around the order is part of the problem, hes a natural opener. he opens for his county and was selected based on his figures as an opener. So far in 14 tests has had 3 different starting positions, 6, 2, and 3.

    If they see him as a long term opening option then stick with him as an opener. This is going to start sounding like a broken record, but after the last winter in NZ players should have been allowed to play county cricket, and it should definately have been the case after the summer.

  • on December 18, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    i think england should keep they best team for the odi series, and make a priority to win the world cup in australi.

  • Basingrad on December 18, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    George, Buttler and Bairstow are not good enough keepers to do the job in Tests on a permanent basis. Buttler is probably not yet a good enough all-round batsmen either. The options are Davies and Kieswetter, with the latter my preference. His batting is quite reminiscent of (an in-form) Prior - deals in boundaries rather than strike rotation, hence one-day struggles for both - but he is a class player and a keeper who has developed to the point that he is at least Prior's equal.

    The other name England will look at is Adam Wheater but Davies and Kieswetter are better keepers and should be the two principal contenders.

  • cricket-india on December 18, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    on day 2 of the adelaide test i had written prior, anderson and swann will go the trott way if they are not replaced by bairstow, panesar and onions (yes, send an SOS for him). i had also written KP has no business strutting around like a prima donna if he can't lift his game and do a vvs back on the oz...he's failed as well, and his dismissals have been cavalier, even giving credit to the oz for excellent planning and execution. cook and flower will have to drag england back from this brink, and bell, KP (cut him to size first), stokes, bairstow, carberry despite his age), root and panesar will have to close ranks as the core group. this ashes is lost, but it's not the end of the world. india have seen worse (8-0, anyone?) and-at the time of writing-are doing not too bad against steyn and co, so all is not lost for england. just face up to the truth, acknowledge things for what they are and stay grounded even as you work to get your hunger back.

  • on December 18, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    What is all this talk about 2015? By my count the next Ashes should be scheduled in England for 2017!

  • wnwn on December 18, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Keep Anderson and Swann for the 2015 Ashes where home conditions will suite them. Move Bell up to 3 if Trott doesn't return. Move Root down the order where he's more comfortable. Replace Pietersen with Ballance if he doesn't start scoring big runs. Give Carberry and Stokes time to establish themselves. Bring in Onions as the third seamer. Replace Prior with Bairstow for wicketkeeping duties.

    So the team looks like: Cook (c), Carberry, Bell (vc), Pietersen/Ballance, Root, Bairstow (wk), Stokes, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Onions.

  • liz1558 on December 18, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    As Mary Poppins might've said, a spoonful of Flower helps the Ingerland go down.

    England are badly lacking motivation and inspiration under Flower - not that he's a bad coach - but his day has gone. The biggest issue is Finn's lack of progress. He ought to be England's most destructive (and only) genuine fast bowler. Flower hates risks, and Finn represents too big a risk because he is inconsistent. Someone needs to get England taking risks again.

  • cloudmess on December 18, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Poor Ashes series always seem to drive selectors, fans and pundits into demanding a full-scale clear-out of players, very much a return to the old reactionary days of picking cricketers purely on current form. Everyone knows the England management has become too intense and regimented and that the senior players are all near burn-out. It has been increasingly apparent in the last 2 years. Like Duncan Fletcher, Flower has a touch of genius about him, but he is still missing a vital component in his management. In his search for perfection, he increasingly forgets that his players are not machines but human beings, with frailties like the rest of us.

  • James_Houlder on December 18, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Following sub-standard performances last summer, Matt Prior spoke in October of his underestimation of the vice-captaincy and the effect the additional off-field responsibilities had had on his game (http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013-14/content/story/682703.html). This is something he still has not adapted to manage, but having been such a strong performer for England prior to his appointment, I'd like to see this addressed before dropping him from the team altogether. Perhaps the England set-up are asking too much of him at present? At 31 years old he still has some gas left in the tank, so a mutual decision to appoint a different VC and lighten Prior's workload could allow him to rediscover the form that made him the best keeper-batsman in the world only 8 months ago.

  • on December 18, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    England thrive when they are on the back foot or in the under-dog position. Their lack of a solid goal to chase, as well as lovely execution in all three areas from a far hungrier Aus side has proved to much for them. When they were aiming for the test mace, fighting to become the best in the world they thrived. As soon as they got there, they faltered. Aus did an amazing job at forcing Eng to veer from their gameplan. Bat long and boring, tire the opposition, allowing rest for their bowlers and coming out fresh against a weary opposition. The difference in this series was definitely the fielding. The top teams will always have the best fielders in their side. Holding catches in slips running people out. Just look at the Flintoff runout of Ponting in '09. It's moments like this that inflict dejection in the opposition and turn games around. Developing all players' fielding and making a priority from juniors onward is a must if Eng (or any team) want to get to -and remain at- the top

  • A.Ak on December 18, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Yes, These players are the key reason for their failure. But be nice to Anderson, this is his first failure after very long time. That was not bad at all for a fast bowler.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 18, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    (cont) In regards to the bowling, Swann at 34 was always going to struggle in aus like giles did in 2005/6, Anderson at the end of last summer looked exhausted and was never going to repeat the hieghts of 2010/11, as the conditions have been very different. Tremlett too was a poor choice, as he was 2-3 yrds down on his pace of 3 years ago, and I'd have prefered to see Onions.

    Finn was worth a punt, as the faster wickets should have suited him and rankin. Stokes isnt the second coming of botham just because he scored a 100, he really needs to be taking wickets as well.

    England have a light year next year and really need to take some decisions, one should be to allow batsmen and bowlers to be released back to thier counties at the start and end of the season.

    The captaincy is the biggest issue, unfortunatley I cant see anyone who can step up, as no-one has any FC experience, i would be tempted to give cook a season captaining essex in the CC.

  • geoffboyc on December 18, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Amidst all the understandable gloom and talk of purging the squad, we have to remember that the England bowlers had Australia at 132 for 6 at Brisbane and 140 for5 at Perth. Also when Carberry dropped Haddin at Adelaide Australia were 250 for 5, should have been 6. Can anyone tell me that a Michael Vaughan led team would have let Australia get to almost 300, 570 and then 385 respectively in those innings? The individual bowlers and fielders obviously have to take some responsibility but the planning and captaincy left a lot to be desired too.

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    I see the players above as similar to the Aussies in 05. Had Australia won that series, guys like Warne, McGrath, Langer etc would have retired before the 06-07 series. Instead they hung on for an extra couple of years to get their revenge. I can't see why a few of these England players won't do the same. This poor performance should motivate them to be there in 15. I don't think Prior will make it though, he has been terrible.

  • AidanFX on December 18, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Initially when I noticed the likes of Anderson, Swan would tell fielders where to go I thought it was quite a good approach; the bowlers know what they need after all. But as I saw more it became clear at this stage of Cook's career he lacks the gusto to take charge of the players. Too many players were barking up instructions as Cook stood in the slips; then he might come to the bowler for a bit with others offering advice. It reminded me of Ponting when he began to lose all his star players in a hit; only a more timid version of Ponting. The time wasting tactics of England both on the field and with the bat was nauseating to say the least. Cook was also too quick to make defensive fields; which played into Aussies hands.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 18, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    @zoot364, to be fair to most england fans, who believe it or not dont post on this site, have seen this coming for about 18 months, the Aus-SA series showed that Aus where very competative in home conditions, but for weather they may well have taken the series 2-1, or earned a draw.

    In terms of England the NZ series started to show that Cook, and others were starting to show signs of fatigue and being out of form, we were lucky to get away with a series win in england against NZ and the top order regularly collapsed against Aus being saved by Bell and the tail end.

    Of the current players its too soon to drop Prior, mainly as there is no viable alternative, Bairstow's glovework is aveage and Buttler wasnt even a first choice keeper at somersett.

    Of the batsmen, KP should be scoring more than 1 hundred every 11 innings, in his prime it was 1 every 4. Cook is really just out of form, Bell shot his bolt in the summer, Root is inexperienced and Carberry is a short term option.

  • heathrf1974 on December 18, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    I believe England can bounce back. Maybe not to the heights of number 1, but they still have good players and can still win most of their matches at home.

  • jackiethepen on December 18, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    There has been impatience recently among senior cricketers about criticism getting out to a "soft dismissal" or "risky shot". When a batsmen gets out in cricket something has gone awry, the bowler usually causes a misjudgement which causes the mishit. Batsmen have an array of shots and how they play them, technically well or blatantly not well will be obvious in their innings. The standard at the top level is extremely high. But the bowling attack is there to beat them and so battle commences. To me KP has been playing the bowlers fairly well and decides to take them on. In this Series, the Aussies have been playing the same aggressive tactics and by and large have come off. But if anyone saw the start of Warner's innings he was "loose as a goose" in Strauss's memorable phrase. That to me suggests that at some point luck will desert him like it has Prior, who also developed looseness in his game. Does KP play loosely? I would say not.

  • DoubleKickDrum on December 18, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    England have played poorly and Australia well in their own back yard. There is no permanency to this. Next Ashes series could easily reverse again. One poor series doesn't make England rubbish. Some evolution needed perhaps but I don't think there should be any wholesale changes (remember the late eighties / early nineties?)

    Don't panic!

  • zoot364 on December 18, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    George, thanks for this article. It draws attention to Australia's well executed plans, something that has been underplayed by English fans as they - perhaps understandably in their disappointment - look for scapegoats. A key issue for England now is identifying which of the next generation is capable of stepping up a level to Test cricket. It's a huge step that very few can successfully take - look at all those batsman England have tried at no.6, none of whom made the grade sufficiently to be trusted to play in this Ashes series or last summer. The only way to find out is to pick them, so they might as well start now.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 18, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @Rednwhitearmy: England had to fight tooth and nail bar Lords to win 3-0 in England, and they would have probably lost in the third test but for rain. Here, England have been absolutely smashed into the ground and haven't even looked like getting ontop of Australia, that's a massive difference.

    England have hardly won a session bar the first day at the GABBA, it's absolute annihilation. There is a difference between winning and destroying an opposition, England won against Australia, but Australia have utterly destroyed, demoralised and trampled all over England and they have rolled over and packed their bags.

  • SurlyCynic on December 18, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Seems like a lot of excuses here for Swann and Anderson. The reality is they have been dreadful and it's time for new blood.

  • on December 18, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    I think the only area I disagree with this article is over Pietersen. Given the obvious attractions of the IPL, I wouldn't be that surprised to see him retire from test cricket before too long, provided he can continue to be involved in the one day game (he'd want to play in the 2015 world cup). The selectors would have to be extraordinarily pig-headed (not entirely out of the question) to refuse him this.

  • imtiazjaleel on December 18, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    i beleive the problem lies in bowling, batting and fielding. They were moments when England was on top and did not capitalize. i felt that they could have chased 500 because it was a good batting wicket, which Stokes has proved. Even if you look at the dismissals, KP, Bell, Root, Prior all went to poor shot selection. Though Australian bowlers were bowling very good, but after sometime they would have tired. ENG had enough time to chase down the score. Chasing more than 400 in second innings is always tough because of the pitch conditions which normally deteriorates on the fourth and fifth day, but this pitch thoug having some cracks but it did not help the bowlers in taking the wickets.

  • CricketingStargazer on December 18, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    I don't see the selectors making drastic changes for Melbourne - Bairstow for Prior is likely and Stuart Broad will not be rushed back, so Finn or Rankin will play (if the EPP side were still in Australia I would have given Chris Jordan his debut).

    For 2015, change is inevitable. The England side has been evolving (Stokes is a debutant, Root is in his first year) and will continue to evolve. Graeme Swann will not be around and one of the many young bowlers will have to step in. Despite his chastening debut, Simon Kerrigan is as good as anyone in world cricket, but needs to mature fast. Tredwell and Monty are still around - neither is as complete a cricketer as Swann, but they are both experienced international cricketers. There are plenty of young bowlers around: Jordan, Mills, Topley are obvious ones. James Harris is highly rated, as are the Overtons.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 18, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    At least were not accusing the aussies of pitch doctoring, using silicone tape, cheating thought not walking & being "lucky"

  • Mindmaker on December 18, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    The biggest problem with England is not their game. I believe it is to do with the way the team management try to micro manage even the smallest little bit of their game. They just stifle everyone and all the players become zombies trying to fit into the strait jacket. They must allow the players to play their game more. Look at KP. You can hardly recognize his play. Team management has achieved its goals on micro management but with what results on the field? Give the players more freedom and let them be themselves.

    This is exactly what the Ozzies have done under Boof and away from that stifling regime under the previous manager. Their performance tells its story on which approach works.

  • on December 18, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Don't write anyone off because they've struggled in Australia against a fired up team, but England need to start identifying their generation next: especially bowlers.

  • Markdal on December 18, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Agree with Swann not being there in 2015. He's nearly 35 now, and is already looking at a post-career media job. Heck, he may not even make it to Melbourne! I thought Monty outbowled him in Adelaide, without much luck. The comparison between Viv and Pietersen was a little unfair. Viv was 39 when he was finally dropped, Kev's only 33! With Kev and Cook, a few knocks against some lesser bowling attacks between now and 2015 will see them right. Confidence is down in both of them (who'da thunk that would ever happen to Pietersen?!). Anderson will come back. He's a class bowler, and will learn from what's happened. I'd like to see Prior come back, he's an outstanding competitor, but the selectors might plump for a younger version.

  • AIRkris on December 18, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    well done australia. australia, with bruised ego and pride, are hell-bent on winning the ashes back and they happen to have the bowlers for it. england bowlers are not intimidating at all in comparison... the england team need a break. but for the unfinished business, replace some seniors with new faces... it's a good time for them to learn playing tough ashes cricket down under. if they do well in the next two tests, the team will head home with some pride... or tails between their legs. merry christmas to all.

  • Ramanathan-sriram on December 18, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Don't underestimate KP. In this Ashes except that last innings he didn't play his own game. He created pressure by himself by leaving and defending a lot of deliveries. If he started to play his own game he will be the best batsman in his side. He has talent and power to play all over the ground. If he play his own game he will reach three figure mark in the upcoming two tests

  • 11_Warrior on December 18, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    @pommy80, I feel there is difference between two players and entire team!!

  • stormy16 on December 18, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Well what a difference 3 tests make. Eng folks were telling us who Jimmy was as good as Steyn and Swan was better than Ajmal a few months ago and now suddenly its all gone wrong. I dont get this excuse of too much cricket as it seems its much easier to understand that Eng were simply poor and totally outplayed by Aus. Incidently Aus also toured India for 4 test before the Ashes and 7 one dayers after the Ashes so this excessive cricket theory only applying to Eng just doesnt fly.

    Of the 5, I agree Prior and Swan are at the biggest risk of missing 2015 but do we really need to consider Cook? The man is a machine and surely is allowed a few failures but he will hold all Eng records and has proven himself in all conditions and its an insult to even bring him up in this discussion. The guy is not yet 30 and surely there is no doubt that he will play for a long time more. KP as always will form his own destiny by hitting the self destruct or run machine button but not sure about Jimmy.

  • LahorePak on December 18, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    As a great fan of ASHES, It was realy heart broken to see English players not putting up the fight. The way the last 1st test in India, and got up and won the series was amazing, they seemed amazed worriors. But I think something is seriously going on in there minds. Good luck.

  • on December 18, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    Now that England has lost the Ashes, it should make at least one drastic change for the next test; as a reminder to the rest that irresponsible play will not be tolerated; I suggest one of the three, Kevin, Prior or Jimmy Anderson be dropped for the fourth Test

  • pommy80 on December 18, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    Of course they can. It's simple, they've all lost form. Happens to everyone at cricket. What they need to do is play more cricket and work on their techniques. Just look at Haddin & Johnson. Both worked hard and came back firing. The ECB also need to stop resting players.. Anderson, Swann, Pietersen. Ironically it's these players that are falling behind.

  • 11_Warrior on December 18, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    You can not sack entire team. Can you?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 18, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    @jb633, well said, thanks. I that most commenters here are pretty fair. One or two have done their bit to wind up the Aussie fans but most people here of course would like their team to win but are cricket fans first. Let's hope some of these very good England players come good again. I have this feeling though that a few mentioned here might have played their best cricket already but let's see, Haddin has been fantastic this series at the ripe old age of 36. Two tightly contested matches would be a good finish to this tour.

  • on December 18, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    Not that he's done too bad but how Michael Carberry jumped ahead of Nick Compton as an option for opener I'll never know. Ian Bell is the best batsman in the side, wants to bat at 3, and he's not being allowed. Meanwhile Graeme Onions sits at home after obliterating county batsmen all summer in England. Him and the Compdog should be flown out immediately.

    KP probably has earned the right to some tolerance, but Matt Prior has to be made an example out of with Johnny Bairstow to come in as keeper.

    Cook Compton Bell Pietersen Root Bairstow Stokes Broad Swann Onions Anderson

  • on December 18, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    A little surprised by the conclusions this article drew since I would drop Swann, Anderson and Pietersen. The first two are the leaders of the attack and have not bowled Australia out for a chaseable score in the series. Swann has always been overrated and has always been a non-event in Australia (still waiting for another sprinkler dance after this defeat) and Anderson has never hit the pitch hard in his career and won't in his thirties. These failures were predictable but I thought KP would be a thorn in the Australian's side since the man loves a challenge. However, a bit like Viv Richards in the latter stages in of his career, his failing eye and reliance on leg-side play have made scoring with his usual method impossible. Since he doesn't have the technical game to rely on to grind out runs, he is done.

  • SandipManjrekar on December 18, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Honestly it was sheer surprise to see English cricket folding in a bizarre way. Cook is certainty not to figure in best eleven. Other teams were not at best or rather say others were at their low and that is why England was seen triumphant occasionally against them. Same as of Swann, Prior or even Bell. Aussie were top of the two in England but somehow England managed to win. Cook, Trott, Prior & KP should hang their shoes in the best interest of English Cricket.

  • Surajdon9 on December 18, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    Cook will definitely Come back strongly but its all over for Kp, Prior, Swaan and Anderson..

  • Thegimp on December 18, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    It's strange that as soon as this side gets beaten the chopping block comes out. Like many of the comments this article, due credit has got to go to the Aust bowlers who have been a very tight unit for some time now. The only thing Australia haven't been able to do over the last three years is bat. Once they have strung together several 500 run totals the bowlers have been able to dominate. If the batsmen can continue to score 400+ totals Australia will be a very difficult proposition for any side let alone a jaded England side too long under the strain of excessive rigidity and high expectation.

  • postandrail on December 18, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    To compare Anderson to Steyn is chalk and cheese to me. If the difference in their averages is multiplied by Anderson's 340 wickets he has conceded 2737 more runs than Steyn for four more wickets. That's one batsman making 27 centuries off the difference alone. How many full team innings is that?

  • DaisonGarvasis on December 18, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    Swann, Prior and Anderson - I see the chances of these three thaking in any further part in remaining two matches of THIS ASHES very low. Swann - procalimed the best spinner in the world (only by English Pandits) - has nowhere to hide these days. Anderson - proclaimed the best swing bowler in the world (again only by English Pandits) - was shown the way (out) by a 28 run over (Its not just that over, that over was the final nail). Every moment prior is out there playing is a reminder he is well past his time.

  • SagirParkar on December 18, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    George, do you really really think that KP will still be around in 2015 ? especially considering the way he usually plays and his inconsistent performances. Yes, he does smack a few lusty hundreds around but what is the frequency of such match-defining innings ? And how often has been guilty of throwing his wicket away to the detriment of the team's cause ?

    I would be really surprised if either him and Anderson are part of the 2015 squad.. Cook will be there, he is a class act and has age on his side.. but not the others. Even Bell might be absent from that side.

    And England need to plan their squad carefully for that time based on form rather than reputation.. just look at what happened to the Indian side in Eng and Oz, when they fielded out of form seniors with huge egos and reputations.

  • Hoady on December 18, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    This England team has 3 of the top 15 England test run scorers of all time, and 3 of the top 11 England test wicket takers of all time, and the 3rd most successful wicket-keeper of all time. The players not in those categories, Root, Carberry, Stokes and Bresnan are hardly weak links either. This squad is about as good as it gets, so forget about tweaking the players. There is clearly a systemic performance problem in the squad, in either management, coaching or both. Look at the Boof effect. They just need some inspiration and a bit of mongrel about them.

  • wasimahm on December 18, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    Out of these guys Prior seems to be the weakest. The rest of them are simply irreplaceable. And Michael Carberry is a serious waste of time given his age. Root should be opening with Cook. Bell should bat at No.3. They've wasted enough of him at No.5. James Taylor is too good a talent to be left out. He should be in the squad in place of Carberry.

  • Anil_Koshy on December 18, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    This reminds me of India's tour of Australia last year, the career of many high profile senior ended with that including great Rahul Dravid, with just one bad series you cannot decide on somebody's failure. England failed mainly because Cook could not score and lower order did not contribute anything especially Matt Prior and Broad. Al in All its a collective failure.

  • on December 18, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    i think next test get finn tremlett and gram onions in balling attack if england hope a chance for a comeback and now that aussies have won get bollinger courter nile and faulker in let the others rest get finch in for bailey

  • on December 18, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    Why is KP least likely to be dropped? He had got out for irresponsible shots, many times after getting set ....

  • SoyQuearns on December 18, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    Great article.

    As a very passionate Aussie fan I have no hesitation in admitting that Cook is a good player, a good man and a great team man. I also have no hesitation in saying his captaincy is defensive and also 'all eggs in one basket'.

    The basket's name is typically Anderson or Swann (or both) and England put all their eggs into these baskets at all times.

    Both bowlers have been dreadful on tour, you can say they've been unlucky but all bowlers have beaten the bat (et. al) on both sides. The figures are what they are because that is what is reasonable.

    Prior has been horrible. He was never a good keeper, this much has been glaringly obvious and true from the get-go, but his batting looks confused, stilted and lacking in confidence.

    Swann and Prior won't be around for the 2015 clash.

    KP, Cook and Anderson will be. All are likely to do much better at home, but the way in which they've lost here will have left a considerable mark.

    Lyon outbowling Swann each time is bad for Eng

  • valvolux on December 18, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    God.....how fickle cricket media are. It's only been 3 tests. The fact in cricket is, particularly test cricket - is you dont try to rebuild based on a few poor performances, unless you have players knocking the door down. Unless you want to endure a bleak period. The merrigoround of selections that australia endured provided no stability at all....the solution was to ditch the youth, then bring in experienced campaigners. For me only Matt Prior may miss the next ashes out of that lot. No one is too old, no one has been out of form for long enough to even consider dropping them. There are fine margins in cricket...england haven't won a toss, and dropped several guys who went on to make hundreds. It was like in 2005...australia had the far better team, but the 50/50 moments all went England's way. As we all know, those fortunes were reversed very quickly.

  • Quip on December 18, 2013, 2:22 GMT

    Apart from the jugement of Prior, whose age and demonstrated ability would suggest that he is capable of a resurgence, these seem to be fair and measured assessments.

    Interesting, and pleasing, to read the comments about Pieterson encouraging other players. I had wondered whether Pieterson's tendency to isolate himself was among the ills afflicting the English team. Often enough division and friction among players is a primary reason for a poorly performing team.

    Given that the term 'jadedness' has recurred over and again in these analyses of England's current plight, the question arises as to how this can be remedied. One among a variety of options is the inclusion of fresh players. Should the performance of Stokes encourage this approach (and there are other options) then the judgements above might need to be revised.

    One argument likely to be made is that the virtues of the current emphasis upon structure and stability have been pushed too far.

  • chicko1983 on December 18, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    I would have been a world class international bowler with figures among the best if my E-grade cricket team batmen had just put me in a dominant match position to bowl from....ha! A bowler's form is not dependant on any batsman's form, sure you could say that they would have a longer rest while their team is batting, but if they were bowling better than the opposition, they should be getting plenty of rest due to three day test matches featuring batting collapses on both teams. Swann and Anderson are good bolwers who had 18 months of great form, as their overall career average and strikerates suggest. They will be remembered along with players the calibre of Brett Lee and Harbajan Singh.

  • Insult_2_Injury on December 18, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    I've always been interested in how the media & selectors treat players in hindsight. I commented on this site well before this series that Anderson, Swann & Broad all have inferior strikerates & averages in Australia, even in previous winning campaigns compared to their home figures. So far they've performed to those figures, so it's unsurprising they haven't been able to restrict scores & take 20 wickets. Pietersen - in form - has been praised for a couple of irrelevant cameos when his team needed team oriented long hauls, yet Cook - out of form - has been criticised for not providing that long haul innings. Carberry looks the type, as does Stokes. Root needs to forget the DRS and accept his fate, lest he end up like "I don't want to be out" Watson! The bottom line though; England has only played as well as the Aussies have allowed. It's no doubt the last tour for half a dozen, but as the 2005 Aussies showed in England, winning isn't about names & careers, it's about current form.

  • on December 18, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Except Cook I will be surprised to see anybody in Next Ashes (2015)..

    Anderson,Swan,Prior and Pietersen will be History..

  • on December 18, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Who are we to decide the future of international players? Mark my words George, they will all come back strongly. Every player, regardless of how good he is, goes through a bad patch.

  • kensohatter on December 18, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    Huge fan of all these players and they certainly have given England some glory years but the focus for the ECB must now be the home ashes series and taking the urn back. Australias bowling attack will improve with the return of Pattison, Starc and Cummins who will travel with Johnson, Lyon and Siddle to england hell bent on beating England at home. Only Harris, Rogers and prob Haddin will not be around so england must prepare a squad now that can defend the motherland. All these players can bounce back and will be motivated to get revenge but similiar to the australian side who lost in 05 they must all look each other in the eye and promise they can stick around till the home series win that and leave on a high like Warne, langer, mcgrath, martyn

  • Dashgar on December 18, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    An Australian summer always seems to claim at least one career. Recently we've seen Samaraweera, Tahir, Dravid, Laxman and Collingwood all play their last tests in Australia when at the start of the series there was no serious talk of their retirement. For England coming here and being well beaten we could definitely see more careers end, Trott's was the first but there could be more.

  • chitti_cricket on December 18, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    ECB decides the fate of these players, in 2006-7 as well England seen such debacle but most of them survived as the author of this article said. Then why cannot current crop of players after this ashes re-group and survive. Does England has that bench strength to replace all at one shot or even few at one shot? I don't think so. Anderson specially is one who cannot be easily replaced, he is currently jaded agree but once he is fully fit and potent we all know what difference he can make.Any way in this world no one is indispensable is what that stands. England may lose one or two more series but they may find another player or players capable of better than this. But making someone alone a scape got of this debacle I don't agree and to major extent agree with this writer on many of the above said have not well performed and may be axed by ECB.

  • xylo on December 18, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    What is surprising about this under-performance is that the stars of this England team aren't even that old, but appear to be too jaded. It is not like they reached England after an IPL season. Bell and Broad were the only senior players to show some intent, and now that Broad is gone, it is time for others to step up.

  • neil99 on December 18, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    Believe the precise of KP is a little generous. Whilst he has produced brilliant innings, these virtuoso performances have become the exception rather than the rule. One look at his declining averages tells the story.

    People harp on about India, granted some great knocks, but how many times has KP thrown his wicket away to the arrogant tune of "well, that's the way I play". How many times has he cost England games due to his lack of application? Truly world class batsmen adapt to the conditions and match situation. KP is incapable of doing this.

    A few games on the sidelines - the rest of this series and forthcoming Windies - might tell us whether he has the appetite to fight for his place, which is not a bad thing. Let's face it, the way he is currently playing the side won't miss him.

  • on December 17, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    George, "It used to be said that a player never recovers from the disappointment of a poor Ashes tour" - the opposite is usually true. I bet Stokes, Root and Carberry will have illustrious careers. Adversities unearth future players. Same thing can be said about Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Steve Smith.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 17, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    One has to accept that his side as a whole have not done well and I have wondered if they have recovered from losing the CT in June. Bell apart none of the batsmen did fantastically well in the summer and have not recovered here. In the case of Swann though,he had a great summer, and Jimmy did well if in patches, To suggest Monty should take over from Swann is absurd, though if he drops ODI's I do not give a monkeys. Sorry! Tests though? Without his arm being in serious pain or a signed confession to a serious crime I would really want him to play Tests, and just write off Aus for him. True great! Anderson has the energy; he needs a technical adjustment which he can carry out himself. I agree about KP-whew!! Cook is not going anywhere. Needs his feet up for a time and a few light pursuits. Prior? Your guess is good as mine.Is Bairstow a good keeper?I like his batting. Bob suggested dropping Carberry. I'm in favour of dropping Bob.! Ballance may be the future,but now?

  • pineypower on December 17, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    While I agree with the writer on the future for Cook I am afraid the rest are long past their sell date. They have served England well but it was obvious last Summer though barely recognised that England barely held on to the Ashes so the prospect of winning in Oz was always low. The team fielded at the WACA was pathetically weak. Where were all the tall pace bowlers who were included on the tour allegedly because of bouncy pitches? It is easy to blame the players but the coaches & the selectors are heavily to blame for this debacle yet they are shadowy figures who are now lying low fearing for their jobs. Those fears should be justified but it remains to be seen if England will use this opportunity & have the guts to clean house & start rebuilding the team now. The Aussies are basking in a well deserved series win but in fact they are also an aging team as well & their triumph will be short lived.

  • jb633 on December 17, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    cont .. in terms of the bowling we should be screaming at our young spinners to go an test themselves in India. Even if this is just a high level of club cricket these guys need to learn how to bowl against the best players of spin in the world. I would similarly encourage guys like Jordan, Mills, Topley etc to try and grab themselves some cricket in Oz/SA so they are developing the skills on different wickets and with a different ball. It's very easy to sit here and say how did it all go wrong in one series but if we are being honest this series has been the tip of the iceberg. We have been declining for 2 years and don't really seem to have addressed the issues head on. I think we need to have a long term plan with an aim to be an improved side by say 2016. We may have a couple of poor years with younger guys but we don't want to be plugging ageing players when they are past their sell by date.

  • jb633 on December 17, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    I think we are at a crossroads now and need to look to blood some younger players in carefully. What we need to avoid is the Kerrigan situation, i.e, throwing youngsters in at the deep end before trying them in more menial games. Our players, media, fans have all got to come back to earth. Please no more exaggerated hype and arrogance from anyone, lets respect our opponents and do what we need to. No talk of legacies or whitewashes, lets work as hard as we can against everyone and see where it gets us. I think more than anything what we need to do is change our approach with the bat. Our guys need to play with a bit more freedom and learn to put the bowlers under some pressure. Occasionally this will backfire and our guys will look silly but we must have some impetus from somewhere. I think we should start by moving Bell up to number 3. Drop Carbs for Root and bring Ballance into the middle order.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on December 17, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    England players need to fight fire with fire. It begins with the facial hair. They need to grow long, thick handlebar tasches and then one up the Aussies on machismo by coupling that with lustrous mullets. Long manes of hair signifying alpha male prowess. The ultimate one two combo. Then and only then will they be able to stand toe to toe with Mitchell Johnson and his awesome tasche and look him in the eyes as equals.

  • whensdrinks on December 17, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    Prior and Swann are gone I believe. I can't see Pieterson hanging around for another 2 years either. I suspect the short tours and big money of IPL and similar 20/20 will be too tempting. Not sure about Anderson, he looks tired and jaded. A break may refresh him, but at 33, unless he has a fire burning that is totally unperceptible now, I cannot see him wanting to play another Ashes series.

    I also think that Carberry, who has been solid, and Trott will be gone by then.

  • Cubitt on December 17, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    Generally agree with the chances of being involved in 2015. KP probably will only remain because he has an x-factor, the small chance he can single-handedly change the outcome of a match. His form and his apparent lack of situational sense might catch up with him though if the selectors believe the chances of that big hundred are reduced. Personally, in 2015, I'd like to see a team resembling; Cook, Root, Bell, Ballance, Taylor, Bairstow, Stokes, Woakes, Broad, Anderson and Swann. (Finn and Kerrigan if the formers form remains bad). And of course a little more pro-active captaincy. I doubt England will ever go with 3 bowlers and 2 all-rounders though.

  • Cubitt on December 17, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    Generally agree with the chances of being involved in 2015. KP probably will only remain because he has an x-factor, the small chance he can single-handedly change the outcome of a match. His form and his apparent lack of situational sense might catch up with him though if the selectors believe the chances of that big hundred are reduced. Personally, in 2015, I'd like to see a team resembling; Cook, Root, Bell, Ballance, Taylor, Bairstow, Stokes, Woakes, Broad, Anderson and Swann. (Finn and Kerrigan if the formers form remains bad). And of course a little more pro-active captaincy. I doubt England will ever go with 3 bowlers and 2 all-rounders though.

  • whensdrinks on December 17, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    Prior and Swann are gone I believe. I can't see Pieterson hanging around for another 2 years either. I suspect the short tours and big money of IPL and similar 20/20 will be too tempting. Not sure about Anderson, he looks tired and jaded. A break may refresh him, but at 33, unless he has a fire burning that is totally unperceptible now, I cannot see him wanting to play another Ashes series.

    I also think that Carberry, who has been solid, and Trott will be gone by then.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on December 17, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    England players need to fight fire with fire. It begins with the facial hair. They need to grow long, thick handlebar tasches and then one up the Aussies on machismo by coupling that with lustrous mullets. Long manes of hair signifying alpha male prowess. The ultimate one two combo. Then and only then will they be able to stand toe to toe with Mitchell Johnson and his awesome tasche and look him in the eyes as equals.

  • jb633 on December 17, 2013, 23:13 GMT

    I think we are at a crossroads now and need to look to blood some younger players in carefully. What we need to avoid is the Kerrigan situation, i.e, throwing youngsters in at the deep end before trying them in more menial games. Our players, media, fans have all got to come back to earth. Please no more exaggerated hype and arrogance from anyone, lets respect our opponents and do what we need to. No talk of legacies or whitewashes, lets work as hard as we can against everyone and see where it gets us. I think more than anything what we need to do is change our approach with the bat. Our guys need to play with a bit more freedom and learn to put the bowlers under some pressure. Occasionally this will backfire and our guys will look silly but we must have some impetus from somewhere. I think we should start by moving Bell up to number 3. Drop Carbs for Root and bring Ballance into the middle order.

  • jb633 on December 17, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    cont .. in terms of the bowling we should be screaming at our young spinners to go an test themselves in India. Even if this is just a high level of club cricket these guys need to learn how to bowl against the best players of spin in the world. I would similarly encourage guys like Jordan, Mills, Topley etc to try and grab themselves some cricket in Oz/SA so they are developing the skills on different wickets and with a different ball. It's very easy to sit here and say how did it all go wrong in one series but if we are being honest this series has been the tip of the iceberg. We have been declining for 2 years and don't really seem to have addressed the issues head on. I think we need to have a long term plan with an aim to be an improved side by say 2016. We may have a couple of poor years with younger guys but we don't want to be plugging ageing players when they are past their sell by date.

  • pineypower on December 17, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    While I agree with the writer on the future for Cook I am afraid the rest are long past their sell date. They have served England well but it was obvious last Summer though barely recognised that England barely held on to the Ashes so the prospect of winning in Oz was always low. The team fielded at the WACA was pathetically weak. Where were all the tall pace bowlers who were included on the tour allegedly because of bouncy pitches? It is easy to blame the players but the coaches & the selectors are heavily to blame for this debacle yet they are shadowy figures who are now lying low fearing for their jobs. Those fears should be justified but it remains to be seen if England will use this opportunity & have the guts to clean house & start rebuilding the team now. The Aussies are basking in a well deserved series win but in fact they are also an aging team as well & their triumph will be short lived.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 17, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    One has to accept that his side as a whole have not done well and I have wondered if they have recovered from losing the CT in June. Bell apart none of the batsmen did fantastically well in the summer and have not recovered here. In the case of Swann though,he had a great summer, and Jimmy did well if in patches, To suggest Monty should take over from Swann is absurd, though if he drops ODI's I do not give a monkeys. Sorry! Tests though? Without his arm being in serious pain or a signed confession to a serious crime I would really want him to play Tests, and just write off Aus for him. True great! Anderson has the energy; he needs a technical adjustment which he can carry out himself. I agree about KP-whew!! Cook is not going anywhere. Needs his feet up for a time and a few light pursuits. Prior? Your guess is good as mine.Is Bairstow a good keeper?I like his batting. Bob suggested dropping Carberry. I'm in favour of dropping Bob.! Ballance may be the future,but now?

  • on December 17, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    George, "It used to be said that a player never recovers from the disappointment of a poor Ashes tour" - the opposite is usually true. I bet Stokes, Root and Carberry will have illustrious careers. Adversities unearth future players. Same thing can be said about Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Steve Smith.

  • neil99 on December 18, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    Believe the precise of KP is a little generous. Whilst he has produced brilliant innings, these virtuoso performances have become the exception rather than the rule. One look at his declining averages tells the story.

    People harp on about India, granted some great knocks, but how many times has KP thrown his wicket away to the arrogant tune of "well, that's the way I play". How many times has he cost England games due to his lack of application? Truly world class batsmen adapt to the conditions and match situation. KP is incapable of doing this.

    A few games on the sidelines - the rest of this series and forthcoming Windies - might tell us whether he has the appetite to fight for his place, which is not a bad thing. Let's face it, the way he is currently playing the side won't miss him.

  • xylo on December 18, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    What is surprising about this under-performance is that the stars of this England team aren't even that old, but appear to be too jaded. It is not like they reached England after an IPL season. Bell and Broad were the only senior players to show some intent, and now that Broad is gone, it is time for others to step up.