England v New Zealand, 1st Test, Lord's May 11, 2013

England warned over repeat failings

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Geoff Miller, England's national selector, has given the strongest suggestion yet that there was an element of complacency in the series against New Zealand and that the same mistakes from that tour will not be tolerated when the return series starts at Lord's next week.

In the aftermath of the recent tour, where England only escaped with a 0-0 draw after outstanding innings from Matt Prior and Ian Bell on the final day, the players have been adamant that there was no element of taking the task lightly after the high of winning in India or being lulled by pre-series talk of only needing to turn up to whitewash New Zealand.

While Miller, who has not been known for particularly strong public statements during his six years in the main job, did not to use words such as 'complacent' or 'underestimated' there was a clear indication that a repeat of the performances in New Zealand will have significant ramifications at the beginning of an Ashes year.

"It keeps your feet on the ground. It makes you realise you can't just go into a game and go through the motions and win the game because, on paper, you are supposedly superior. It doesn't work like that. These boys know they have to perform," he said after announcing England's first Test squad of the summer. "It was very disappointing and we talked about that but they are capable of playing far, far better than that - and know that - and hopefully, I'm quietly confident, they'll show they are a better side."

The selectors have shown faith in the players on duty in New Zealand - Monty Panesar has been dropped, but that is to accommodate Graeme Swann's return - and continuity, a hallmark of Miller's tenure, was at the forefront of his mind, as well as avoiding knee-jerk reactions to one disappointing series.

"All right, they under-performed there, but they're capable of playing better than that and you don't just discard somebody because they have had a bad time as a unit," he said. "You just say 'right, not good enough, improve'. That's exactly the message they have been given.

"New Zealand are a good side, they have shown what they are capable of doing. Maybe we were forced to under-perform but we didn't play to the capabilities they have shown in the past so that has got to be rectified."

If the first part of the year had fitted England's perfect script, they may have eyed this series as a chance to rest a senior bowler or two but after the significantly below-part display in New Zealand it made it virtually impossible for the selectors to name anything other than a full-strength side for this series, even though opportunities to give players a break are now few and far between.

Alongside Swann's return, Tim Bresnan has also been brought back into the squad following his recovery from the elbow problem that hampered him last year, which means there are two players in the 12 who have recently been on the operating table but Miller insisted there was no risk attached.

"They have gone through the process with their counties, showing there was no reaction to it," he said. "They have both been very, very positive, and there has been nothing at all. The reason for the operations was to get rid of the pain which they were showing and disability as such, which wasn't allowing them to perform to their best. Now they're pain free and bowling like they were before they had the problems."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on May 14, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    @RedRoseMan on (May 13, 2013, 19:15 GMT) Yeah , see your points. But we're really going on one series vs India in terms of performances. Hussey could be a big loss (full time) and in India they had little spin threat but that will not matter so much over here. Also the inclusion of Rodgers who has consistently played well in England could make a huge difference, As I have said , we have seen teams inc Eng look brilliant one series , then awful the next and vice versa. I think Aus will not be as easy a nut to crack.

  • RedRoseMan on May 13, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    @JG2704 on (May 13, 2013, 13:46 GMT). I wouldn't argue that either NZ has improved dramatically, nor that Aus has declined dramatically, but looking purely at the names on the teamsheets I do think the point stands. An Australian line-up without Ponting and Hussey looks weaker than with them - at least with the current crop of replacements. The NZ seam attack looks pretty useful to me if they are all fit and the batting line-up looks more solid than it did do. Australia has some genuinely exciting young quick bowlers, but the chances of them staying fit for two Tests in succession seems evens at best. You know with both Aus and NZ that they will not roll over and die without a fight (though Aus in India came as close to that as I have ever seen), but I think Long-Leg may well have a point in questioning which will provide the greater Test for England this summer.

  • Long-Leg on May 13, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    Anyone else think that NZ will be England's toughest test this summer?

  • JG2704 on May 13, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    @RedRoseMan on (May 13, 2013, 12:14 GMT) I'm not sure you can say NZ have drastically improved since the Aus series or that Aus have dramatically declined.

    If we look at each side NZ have since drawn vs SL which I suppose may show signs of improvement but lost 2-0 in WI, Ind and 3-0 in SA

    Aus have beaten Ind 4-0 , WI (away) 2-0 and lost to SA at home 1-0 and Ind (away) 4-0.

    Only the last India result shows any real signs of decline and I'm not sure whether that was because they missed Hussey , are weak in the spin dept or just had a bad series? Vs SA they were on top in the 1st 2 tests and had time allowed conclusions they could well have been 2-0 up going into the 3rd test.

    I certainly would not write them off. So many sides have had a decent series followed by a bad series - Pak vs Eng then vs SL , Eng vs India then vs Pak , Ind vs Eng then vs Aus so I'd say the same in reverse too

  • RedRoseMan on May 13, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    I think the implicit warning about complacency is well-founded. This NZ side are not a bad side at all. They drew with Australia in Australia in 2011, albeit perhaps a little fortuitously, but I think NZ has improved markedly since 2011 and that is not something that you would say about Australia. They have a good seam bowling line-up (though they will miss Southee if he is out) which ought to do well in English conditions and a respectable batting unit - Taylor may be the only proven class batsman, but Rutherford and Williamson look good prospects and McCullum is a seriously dangerous player. Like Australia they are seriously missing a quality spinner, but that may not be a major factor in England in May.

    In my opinion England is correctly ranked no 2 behind SA at the moment. They are bringing new blood into the batting line-up and there are some question marks around the bowling unit, but they still ought to be too good for NZ and for Aus.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @Mr.CrickCheat - think it's often hard to spot complacency.Players may be doing the same training etc but without the intensity.Since the beginning of 2012 I've thought that Eng are too afraid to drop their established players when they are underperforming (for whatever reason). To me that must be disheartening if you're an outsider looking to get into the set up and are playing well and confident that you could bowl/bat better than certain players who are keeping their places because of past form and all along the team are not getting the results expected of them. It's like Eng see dropping players on a parallel to ending a marriage - no way back etc. Guys like Strauss,Monty and Bell have been dropped and come back stronger.Surely it's more character building to drop an underperformer and make him work to get back in the side than it is to keep them in the side and say "there there , we'll stand by you , no matter how badly you/the team performs"

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    @64blip / jmcilhinney- I wouldn't necessarily say England didn't put as much effort into the NZ tour , but I think you can still put physical effort in but be a little complacent at the same time. There may well have been no real fear factor of anything going wrong like there was pre India and without that you might do exactly the same training etc but maybe the intensity aint there. I have always been a big boxing fan too and Joe Calzaghe (best UK fighter in last 30 years and best UK SM ever) looked stale in so many fights , like he was slipping and might get beat by someone with far less ability. He then faced a guy called Jeff Lacy (an unbeaten American) who was the next big thing and most people thought he would finish Joe. Turned out Joe effectively ended his career and probably all those fights where Joe looked like he was slipping , he was probably lacking the fear factor.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    @Landl- Yeah , maybe I'm being a bit harsh on Finn and maybe I'm expecting too much from him due to the hype he seems to get , but having said that in NZ (which was his most recent test series) - Yes he took that 6 for but 4 of those wickets were of the tail and even with those figures his series stats weren't impressive. His pace seemed to be down and while often strike bowlers are not the most economical he prob looked the least threatening of our pacers. I know it's hard to judge on 1 performance but when Onions and Finn bowled together Onions took 4-88 and Finn 3-109. Re Bres , he had by and large a woeful 2012. Yes he may have been injured but then surely Eng selectors should be lambasted for playing a bowler whose form is affected by injury. It's not just a case of Eng bowling unit ripping through the opposition every time but in the last year or so our pacers have looked alot less penetrative

  • 64blip on May 12, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    Where's the evidence they gave less than 100% in NZ? They didn't beat little NZ, QED? They were drained, physically and emotionally, or in Onion's and Bairstow's case had played no cricket for months. Everyone made them overwhelming favourites so they were on a hiding to nothing and NZ played well on home turf. I think they gave 100% of what they had to give and to look back on the winter and focus on what went wrong, rather than what went right is self defeating and poor management. FWIW I think England will tonk NZ in this series (weather permitting) but it will have nothing to do with having "learnt lessons" and everything to do with feeling fresh and reinvigorated and playing at home.

  • on May 12, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    It's funny you know, a warning from the selectors to not be complacent! This has been the perpetual millstone around English cricket's neck. Win the odd game have a good series and you're the best! South Africa are streets ahead, India have revamped, New Zealand just proved their equal and Australia licking their lips in anticipation. Sad when you look at the state of English cricket without the use of rose coloured glasses

  • JG2704 on May 14, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    @RedRoseMan on (May 13, 2013, 19:15 GMT) Yeah , see your points. But we're really going on one series vs India in terms of performances. Hussey could be a big loss (full time) and in India they had little spin threat but that will not matter so much over here. Also the inclusion of Rodgers who has consistently played well in England could make a huge difference, As I have said , we have seen teams inc Eng look brilliant one series , then awful the next and vice versa. I think Aus will not be as easy a nut to crack.

  • RedRoseMan on May 13, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    @JG2704 on (May 13, 2013, 13:46 GMT). I wouldn't argue that either NZ has improved dramatically, nor that Aus has declined dramatically, but looking purely at the names on the teamsheets I do think the point stands. An Australian line-up without Ponting and Hussey looks weaker than with them - at least with the current crop of replacements. The NZ seam attack looks pretty useful to me if they are all fit and the batting line-up looks more solid than it did do. Australia has some genuinely exciting young quick bowlers, but the chances of them staying fit for two Tests in succession seems evens at best. You know with both Aus and NZ that they will not roll over and die without a fight (though Aus in India came as close to that as I have ever seen), but I think Long-Leg may well have a point in questioning which will provide the greater Test for England this summer.

  • Long-Leg on May 13, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    Anyone else think that NZ will be England's toughest test this summer?

  • JG2704 on May 13, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    @RedRoseMan on (May 13, 2013, 12:14 GMT) I'm not sure you can say NZ have drastically improved since the Aus series or that Aus have dramatically declined.

    If we look at each side NZ have since drawn vs SL which I suppose may show signs of improvement but lost 2-0 in WI, Ind and 3-0 in SA

    Aus have beaten Ind 4-0 , WI (away) 2-0 and lost to SA at home 1-0 and Ind (away) 4-0.

    Only the last India result shows any real signs of decline and I'm not sure whether that was because they missed Hussey , are weak in the spin dept or just had a bad series? Vs SA they were on top in the 1st 2 tests and had time allowed conclusions they could well have been 2-0 up going into the 3rd test.

    I certainly would not write them off. So many sides have had a decent series followed by a bad series - Pak vs Eng then vs SL , Eng vs India then vs Pak , Ind vs Eng then vs Aus so I'd say the same in reverse too

  • RedRoseMan on May 13, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    I think the implicit warning about complacency is well-founded. This NZ side are not a bad side at all. They drew with Australia in Australia in 2011, albeit perhaps a little fortuitously, but I think NZ has improved markedly since 2011 and that is not something that you would say about Australia. They have a good seam bowling line-up (though they will miss Southee if he is out) which ought to do well in English conditions and a respectable batting unit - Taylor may be the only proven class batsman, but Rutherford and Williamson look good prospects and McCullum is a seriously dangerous player. Like Australia they are seriously missing a quality spinner, but that may not be a major factor in England in May.

    In my opinion England is correctly ranked no 2 behind SA at the moment. They are bringing new blood into the batting line-up and there are some question marks around the bowling unit, but they still ought to be too good for NZ and for Aus.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @Mr.CrickCheat - think it's often hard to spot complacency.Players may be doing the same training etc but without the intensity.Since the beginning of 2012 I've thought that Eng are too afraid to drop their established players when they are underperforming (for whatever reason). To me that must be disheartening if you're an outsider looking to get into the set up and are playing well and confident that you could bowl/bat better than certain players who are keeping their places because of past form and all along the team are not getting the results expected of them. It's like Eng see dropping players on a parallel to ending a marriage - no way back etc. Guys like Strauss,Monty and Bell have been dropped and come back stronger.Surely it's more character building to drop an underperformer and make him work to get back in the side than it is to keep them in the side and say "there there , we'll stand by you , no matter how badly you/the team performs"

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    @64blip / jmcilhinney- I wouldn't necessarily say England didn't put as much effort into the NZ tour , but I think you can still put physical effort in but be a little complacent at the same time. There may well have been no real fear factor of anything going wrong like there was pre India and without that you might do exactly the same training etc but maybe the intensity aint there. I have always been a big boxing fan too and Joe Calzaghe (best UK fighter in last 30 years and best UK SM ever) looked stale in so many fights , like he was slipping and might get beat by someone with far less ability. He then faced a guy called Jeff Lacy (an unbeaten American) who was the next big thing and most people thought he would finish Joe. Turned out Joe effectively ended his career and probably all those fights where Joe looked like he was slipping , he was probably lacking the fear factor.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    @Landl- Yeah , maybe I'm being a bit harsh on Finn and maybe I'm expecting too much from him due to the hype he seems to get , but having said that in NZ (which was his most recent test series) - Yes he took that 6 for but 4 of those wickets were of the tail and even with those figures his series stats weren't impressive. His pace seemed to be down and while often strike bowlers are not the most economical he prob looked the least threatening of our pacers. I know it's hard to judge on 1 performance but when Onions and Finn bowled together Onions took 4-88 and Finn 3-109. Re Bres , he had by and large a woeful 2012. Yes he may have been injured but then surely Eng selectors should be lambasted for playing a bowler whose form is affected by injury. It's not just a case of Eng bowling unit ripping through the opposition every time but in the last year or so our pacers have looked alot less penetrative

  • 64blip on May 12, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    Where's the evidence they gave less than 100% in NZ? They didn't beat little NZ, QED? They were drained, physically and emotionally, or in Onion's and Bairstow's case had played no cricket for months. Everyone made them overwhelming favourites so they were on a hiding to nothing and NZ played well on home turf. I think they gave 100% of what they had to give and to look back on the winter and focus on what went wrong, rather than what went right is self defeating and poor management. FWIW I think England will tonk NZ in this series (weather permitting) but it will have nothing to do with having "learnt lessons" and everything to do with feeling fresh and reinvigorated and playing at home.

  • on May 12, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    It's funny you know, a warning from the selectors to not be complacent! This has been the perpetual millstone around English cricket's neck. Win the odd game have a good series and you're the best! South Africa are streets ahead, India have revamped, New Zealand just proved their equal and Australia licking their lips in anticipation. Sad when you look at the state of English cricket without the use of rose coloured glasses

  • jackiethepen on May 12, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Perhaps Mr CrickCheat ought to reflect that most people in the world of business go broke. I don't think we need lessons from the world of business at the moment. The problem is we drew a Series against a revitalised NZ side but weather permitting we might have won it. We wouldn't have won by a mile but by a smidgen. In 2008 we nearly lost the Series but for crack performances from Pietersen, Strauss and Bell in the final Test. But you know what? There were moans about that Series as well.

  • jrw39 on May 12, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    It is getting a bit boring seeing people attacking the selection of Bopara. His stats in the ODIs last summer justify his selection, particularly in the games against Australia - 182 runs in 4 matches at an average of 91, and 5 wickets for 57 at a terrific economy rate of 3.

    In the series against SA his batting fell apart (just 22 runs in 4 innings) but he was again comfortably England's most economical bowler with 3 wickets for 89 at an economy of 3.42. This clearly justifies his selection for the Champions Trophy, and he has a proven track record in England which shows he is capable of being a match winner with bat or ball on his day.

  • jmcilhinney on May 12, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    @64blip on (May 12, 2013, 10:23 GMT), England's effort in India was excellent but doing something good doesn't give you a free pass to do something bad. Form will come and go and players will have bad games here and there but, as a professional sportsman, they are obligated to put in a 100% effort all the time. I would say that it's clear that England didn't do that in NZ and that's not good enough. I said before the series that I didn't believe that England would take NZ lightly but the team performance over the series says otherwise. NZ played well and that made England's job harder but I just don't believe that England gave it their all. I don't think that that was a conscious decision but it happened nonetheless. If England want to return to the #1 ranking - and they do - then they can't afford series like that, so glossing over them because they played well in some other series does them no favours.

  • SirViv1973 on May 12, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    @Mitty2, I have to agree with you here. What we saw in NZL from Eng was poor & nothing short of a convincing series win here will be acceptable. Prior to the series in NZL the black caps had been battered by SAF & well beaten bt the WI. Yes they did draw in SRL but SRL are a poor test side at the moment who have recently struggled to beat Bang. NZL do have a decent seam attack but their batsman are certainly not top class. Taylor is the only one who would have a chance of getting in to the Eng side although Rutherford does look a good prospect. Although NZL showed spirit & fight in the recent series they are not a good side, as their previous results & their current rankings confirms.

  • on May 12, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    I hope Geoff Miller is true to his word, because I still don't see the justification behind Bopara's selection.

  • TenDonebyaShooter on May 12, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Spot on, jg, it's about time some of the people running the game were warned about their complacency. The whole way in which some of these players (notably Pietersen) have been managed for years as been farcical. Any organisation managing people in the world of business in that way would rapidly go broke.

  • 64blip on May 12, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Let's forget about the monumental effort of coming from one down to beat India in India and have a whinge about the performance in NZ. I'm glad the management have been giving them the message that they're a better team than that, as they're clearly too stupid to work it out for themselves. Jeez! Anyhow, I'm looking forward to the summer's cricket. According to those who actually saw him at Durham, Bresnan's looking sharp after his operation. Root is in unbelievable form and Bairstow's finding his feet again with a fifty against NZ as I type. Come on the Tykes!

  • Wesley1 on May 12, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    @Cyril_Knight Bresnan has bowled very well for Yorkshire this season so far (close to his best really), and has taken more first class wickets than Woakes. Woakes has batted well, but I wouldn't select him and expect him to bat at 7. For England, Bresnan operates similarly to Matthew Hoggard, and is more economical. The control he gives is very important for the balance of the attack, especially with an attacking spinner like Swann. Broad needs to play well otherwise the Ashes attack could be Bresnan Swann Finn Anderson.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    @Cyril_Knight on (May 12, 2013, 8:58 GMT) I certainly get the gist of what you're saying and I'm with you in principle. However it's kind of a mixed bag for me with the players you mention. For me Bres can's be accused of lack of effort etc and on the shorter formats side I don't think you can accuse Jade or Craig as lacking effort - In fact I'd go as far as to say that both possibly try too hard to a degree where they're too uptight. Morgan has to be the one player who has done little effort wise on justifying his CC and I don't see him getting a CC next time round. But your point is that the selectors continue to pick the underperforming players and then seem to use the excuses.

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Have to say I think it's the selectors that need a kick up the backside as much as the players. They talk about complacency issues but then pick the same players. If those players who are thought of as showing complacency (no matter how established they are) were dropped (even if just for a match) then maybe they would be less complacent next time out esp if the replacement did so well they took their place permenantly. I have not accused Eng players of complacency but as already pointed out , by continually picking underperforming players you are not sending any sort of message out but "your place is secure , no matter what" Then we've had the same preparation excuses about our players being undercooked etc and then when we get back to England they are being rested half the time. Whatever the excuse for poor performances , our selectors methods seem to lend themselves to those excuses

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 12, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    No doubt England were complacent: They'd just returned from thrashing India and were too busy watching the Aussies get whitewashed by the same team. That and the fact that almost the entire series was affected by the weather and injuries had depleted the 1st XI. The good news for England fans is that they're back. And they're all going to be back together in time for the Ashes. :)

  • Cyril_Knight on May 12, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    "These boys know they have to perform" but we have seen, to an extent, that they don't and they still get selected, again and again, and usually rewarded with a bumper central contract or at least one of the incrementals. From the current list Morgan and Bresnan (full contracts), Dernbach, Bopara, Kieswetter and Patel (on incrementals), have done little to justify the security offered them.

    England select for 2013 from a pool of players determined in September 2012 and some added in January.

    So players like Bresnan walk straight back in to the squad without playing brilliantly. While his direct competition, Woakes (no central contract), is ignored.

    How can this system not breed complacency?

  • on May 12, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    Miller warns about "repeated failings"......... This after he picks Bopara for ODI team......A joke

  • Mitty2 on May 12, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    @landl47, but with new zealand's recent form prior to the series and with england's astonishing series win against India, surely being in the position to actually need to save a test twice) can't be enough? England, like they are against Australia, are better on paper over new Zealand, and considerably so, so escaping with a draw over the eight-ranked team, in the minds of the players and the coaches should be considered a terrible performance. The build up reeked of complacency with what was said from the fans/media, but no one knew how the actual English camp were feeling, and evidently, the series was held in low regard/imperative.

    Many are predicting a close series, but if that doesn't wake up the English side, nothing will. Especially considering new zealand's tour form, and england's form in may tests, this series IMO will be very one sided.

    As for the ashes, the key will be how our batsmen handle the swing. If our almighty line up of '05 and to a lesser extent '09 struggled...

  • landl47 on May 12, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    England's first innings in the first test in NZ was poor, but after that the batsmen played reasonably well. They saved the first test without any difficulty, had the better of the second test and had to scrap for their lives in the third test which, to their credit, they did. NZ played very well throughout the series and they shouldn't be undersold.

    England's bowlers didn't look great, although Broad (who was the best of them) had a good second test. Jimmy Anderson looked below his best and I suspect he was carrying more than just the niggles he admitted to. Monty Panesar was ineffective and I don't know why anyone expected anything else.

    NZ will give a good account of themselves and England, especially the bowlers, need to step it up a bit. As for the Ashes, I still think Swann v. the Aussie left-handers will be key. Give Swanny a couple of wickets which take turn and England will win. The Oval is already a good bet.

  • on May 12, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Beating India IN INDIA after beating them so easily in all forms of cricket in the UK was clearly the focus of the Winter. "Job done" was probably the thought before the NZ tour. New Zealand are a good team - and the fact is they SHOULD have won. But England did under perform. Pace was back down, Finn barely cranked above 86, Panesar barely dipped below 58 - both 4 mph in the wrong direction too low and too high respectively. The batting looked tired and the fielding in the first two tests was terrible. NZ are capable of winning this series have no doubt. England should win - they are a better team, but NZ are good enough to upset the bookies and win by the odd test.

  • jackiethepen on May 11, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    Perhaps the scheduling of the NZ Test matches as last items on the end of a long winter might not have been the brightest way of tackling the 5 day games. While everyone really liked the idea of a format of t20Is, ODIs followed by the main course, in reality England looked below par and jaded. No more fuel in the tank rather than complacency. Cook in particular looked whacked. The India Test Tour was followed post Christmas by an India ODI Tour before embarking on the NZ trip. Geoff Miller never seems to question the packed winter Tours plus the usual intense training days now expected as contributing to players' lack of intensity. A few encouraging words used to be the way to start a season. Now sticks are preferred to carrots. Strauss is already missed for his upbeat nature.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 11, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    I knew this would come out sooner or later. The warm-ups and first test game in NZ stunk of complacency, and I wasn't the only one on this site to notice. I was quite relieved that England got away with a draw, never mind a 'whitewash' that certain pundits embarrassingly predicted and talked about before the series. Yes key players like Swann were missing, but what excuse is that when NZ cricket had worse issues and more key players missing/injured than England?

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 11, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    The 'problem' with the series in NZ was that the Indian series was so damn good that their heads could not avoid being in the clouds.Other factors such as rain and the drought which the rain brought welcome relief from were at least critical factors in the first two games. Auckland showed how important having a couple of attacking batsmen in the side is. The fact that a couple of batsmen scratched about like a couple of hens did not help. Prior showed it all in perspective, but take nothing away from NZ. I do not think that the pitches at Lords and H'ley are going to be too much fun for bowlers either, though Anderson should reach his 300 wickets, and Swann is back. The fact is that NZ are a good side and need to be respected as such.

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  • 2.14istherunrate on May 11, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    The 'problem' with the series in NZ was that the Indian series was so damn good that their heads could not avoid being in the clouds.Other factors such as rain and the drought which the rain brought welcome relief from were at least critical factors in the first two games. Auckland showed how important having a couple of attacking batsmen in the side is. The fact that a couple of batsmen scratched about like a couple of hens did not help. Prior showed it all in perspective, but take nothing away from NZ. I do not think that the pitches at Lords and H'ley are going to be too much fun for bowlers either, though Anderson should reach his 300 wickets, and Swann is back. The fact is that NZ are a good side and need to be respected as such.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 11, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    I knew this would come out sooner or later. The warm-ups and first test game in NZ stunk of complacency, and I wasn't the only one on this site to notice. I was quite relieved that England got away with a draw, never mind a 'whitewash' that certain pundits embarrassingly predicted and talked about before the series. Yes key players like Swann were missing, but what excuse is that when NZ cricket had worse issues and more key players missing/injured than England?

  • jackiethepen on May 11, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    Perhaps the scheduling of the NZ Test matches as last items on the end of a long winter might not have been the brightest way of tackling the 5 day games. While everyone really liked the idea of a format of t20Is, ODIs followed by the main course, in reality England looked below par and jaded. No more fuel in the tank rather than complacency. Cook in particular looked whacked. The India Test Tour was followed post Christmas by an India ODI Tour before embarking on the NZ trip. Geoff Miller never seems to question the packed winter Tours plus the usual intense training days now expected as contributing to players' lack of intensity. A few encouraging words used to be the way to start a season. Now sticks are preferred to carrots. Strauss is already missed for his upbeat nature.

  • on May 12, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Beating India IN INDIA after beating them so easily in all forms of cricket in the UK was clearly the focus of the Winter. "Job done" was probably the thought before the NZ tour. New Zealand are a good team - and the fact is they SHOULD have won. But England did under perform. Pace was back down, Finn barely cranked above 86, Panesar barely dipped below 58 - both 4 mph in the wrong direction too low and too high respectively. The batting looked tired and the fielding in the first two tests was terrible. NZ are capable of winning this series have no doubt. England should win - they are a better team, but NZ are good enough to upset the bookies and win by the odd test.

  • landl47 on May 12, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    England's first innings in the first test in NZ was poor, but after that the batsmen played reasonably well. They saved the first test without any difficulty, had the better of the second test and had to scrap for their lives in the third test which, to their credit, they did. NZ played very well throughout the series and they shouldn't be undersold.

    England's bowlers didn't look great, although Broad (who was the best of them) had a good second test. Jimmy Anderson looked below his best and I suspect he was carrying more than just the niggles he admitted to. Monty Panesar was ineffective and I don't know why anyone expected anything else.

    NZ will give a good account of themselves and England, especially the bowlers, need to step it up a bit. As for the Ashes, I still think Swann v. the Aussie left-handers will be key. Give Swanny a couple of wickets which take turn and England will win. The Oval is already a good bet.

  • Mitty2 on May 12, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    @landl47, but with new zealand's recent form prior to the series and with england's astonishing series win against India, surely being in the position to actually need to save a test twice) can't be enough? England, like they are against Australia, are better on paper over new Zealand, and considerably so, so escaping with a draw over the eight-ranked team, in the minds of the players and the coaches should be considered a terrible performance. The build up reeked of complacency with what was said from the fans/media, but no one knew how the actual English camp were feeling, and evidently, the series was held in low regard/imperative.

    Many are predicting a close series, but if that doesn't wake up the English side, nothing will. Especially considering new zealand's tour form, and england's form in may tests, this series IMO will be very one sided.

    As for the ashes, the key will be how our batsmen handle the swing. If our almighty line up of '05 and to a lesser extent '09 struggled...

  • on May 12, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    Miller warns about "repeated failings"......... This after he picks Bopara for ODI team......A joke

  • Cyril_Knight on May 12, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    "These boys know they have to perform" but we have seen, to an extent, that they don't and they still get selected, again and again, and usually rewarded with a bumper central contract or at least one of the incrementals. From the current list Morgan and Bresnan (full contracts), Dernbach, Bopara, Kieswetter and Patel (on incrementals), have done little to justify the security offered them.

    England select for 2013 from a pool of players determined in September 2012 and some added in January.

    So players like Bresnan walk straight back in to the squad without playing brilliantly. While his direct competition, Woakes (no central contract), is ignored.

    How can this system not breed complacency?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 12, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    No doubt England were complacent: They'd just returned from thrashing India and were too busy watching the Aussies get whitewashed by the same team. That and the fact that almost the entire series was affected by the weather and injuries had depleted the 1st XI. The good news for England fans is that they're back. And they're all going to be back together in time for the Ashes. :)

  • JG2704 on May 12, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Have to say I think it's the selectors that need a kick up the backside as much as the players. They talk about complacency issues but then pick the same players. If those players who are thought of as showing complacency (no matter how established they are) were dropped (even if just for a match) then maybe they would be less complacent next time out esp if the replacement did so well they took their place permenantly. I have not accused Eng players of complacency but as already pointed out , by continually picking underperforming players you are not sending any sort of message out but "your place is secure , no matter what" Then we've had the same preparation excuses about our players being undercooked etc and then when we get back to England they are being rested half the time. Whatever the excuse for poor performances , our selectors methods seem to lend themselves to those excuses