The Ashes 2013-14 December 18, 2013

Criticism is deserved - Flower

41

There were no excuses, no complaints and no empty promises as Andy Flower reflected on England's Ashes humiliation.

England's head coach accepted that questions would be asked about his own role and that of many of England's senior players and he accepted that it was quite right that they should be.

Flower was particularly critical of England's misfiring batting unit and admitted that, with the Ashes already lost, the final two Tests of the series might be utilised to provide opportunities to younger players.

"It is very obvious we underperformed badly with the bat," he said. "Our first innings batting has been ordinary and we are not going to win many Test matches or many Test series if we don't score heavily in the first innings.

"We've been behind in the game very early on in all three games and that makes it very tough to fight back from. Our bowlers in every second innings have not had enough time off to recuperate and then put the opposition under pressure. The opposition are never under any pressure in their second innings because they have a huge lead.

"Three Tests is ample time for players to come to the fore. The shot selection very obviously hasn't been good enough because the results tell us that: we have made one Test century and they have made seven. And ours came from a 22-year-old all-rounder in his second Test match.

"In every big Test series we need the senior players to perform and so far that hasn't happened. It is time for those guys to stand up. In fact it's past time, because the series is lost.

"We are going through a tough period as a side now and as number of those individuals are going through tough periods in their careers. It doesn't mean their careers are over. But it does mean they need to call on that experience to help them get out of a tough time quicker than other people.

Flower accepted that there would be a value in providing opportunities to new players in the final two Tests. "This series is now lost and I will be chatting to the selectors and talking to Alastair Cook and coaches about our strategy going into the Melbourne Test," he said.

The most likely changes could see Jonny Bairstow brought in to replace Matt Prior, Gary Ballance brought in to replace Kevin Pietersen and Boyd Rankin given a Test debut in place of one of the seamers. England remain unsure whether Stuart Broad will be fit for the fourth Test and still seem reluctant to pick the out-of-sorts Steven Finn.

It seems unlikely that either Flower or Cook will be sacked by the ECB. Both men remain highly thought of and with the organisation already going through a period of transition - Hugh Morris is being replaced as managing director by Paul Downton and Geoff Miller has been replaced by James Whitaker as head selector - there is no appetite for further change.

But Flower will reflect on his position after the series and make a decision over whether he is the man to rebuild the team for the challenges ahead. He insists that, as of right now, he has not looked beyond the end of the series.

"I've always said I don't look too far ahead personally," Flower said. "There is time for reflection after the series. Ultimately I am responsible for the result of this series. I've got that judgement to make. The English cricket board will have that judgement to make as well.

"Obviously my role means I have to plan ahead for the team's sake but personally I don't like looking too far ahead and quite frankly there are still two Test matches to play in this series and I want all my focus to be on those. I think that's the right thing to do for the England cricket side."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • GCricket01 on December 23, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    I believe the problem is that England does not seem to enjoy the game and instead focused (a bit obsessively) on the management/technical aspects of it for their own good. This will certainly made them vulnerable to 'boredom syndrome'. They do have talent to come back strongly but for that the 'core' part of the team (Cook, Anderson, Pieterson, Prior, Bell) should spent some quality time away from the game with their families and come back stronger.

    England need someone less serious in profile than Andy Flower to navigate them through this troubled times.

  • whensdrinks on December 22, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    @Mycro3A - if these were win-the-toss-win-the-match pitches then you would think that the second innings of the match would be bigger then the third. Alas, Australia's 2nd innings have been much better then England's first. In fact, England's 2nd innings is better then their 1st. Not quite sure what sort of pitch leads to the worst batting conditions being the afternoon of the second day?? Or perhaps, your comment is a bit ridiculous, particularly when you compare Australian pitches to the dross served up in England 6 months ago.

  • SaracensBob on December 22, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Last summer's 3- 0 Ashes victory flattered to deceive. It was based on big runs from Bell, some decent support from Pietersen and the Aussie top-order batsmen repeatedly giving their wickets away cheaply. Look at the difference since 'Boof' has come in - the Aussies have toughened up and England can't cope. England have been poor. This could be hubris but I lay the blame on Mr Flower. He put three tall 'hit-the-deck-hard' fast bowlers in his squad. They would make hay with the kookaburra ball on the Aussie tracks. Tremlett, who has no genuine pace, was played at Brisbane and hasn't been seen since. Harris and Johnson have had a lovely time getting at the Eng. batsmen - Rankin and Finn have been carrying the drinks! Flower out, Ashley Giles in! A man who knows how to win! My team for Melbourne - Cook, Carberry, Bell, Ballance, Root, Stokes, Bairstow, Broad (if fit)/Rankin, Anderson, Rankin/Finn (if Broad not available), Panesar. Let's cut out the dead wood and we might give them a game

  • it_happened_last_in_2001. on December 21, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    The sad fact is that this team has rolled over more meekly than the 0 - 5 mob of 2006/07. Those Australians boasted a number of world class players; by comparison this team is full of journeymen, but the result will still most likely be the same. The Adelaide 06 defeat was comical, but at least those players were in the game until the final day. The leadership both on and off the field seem totally bereft of ideas. I was at the Gabba day 2 & 3 to see the meekest of batting displays followed by Warner & Clarke dining at the free runs buffet we served up. Clueless. I would rather have seen us set a 7/2 field and bowl full a yard outside off stump for 4 hours to at least force the batsmen into taking some risks. I don't think the commitment is there from the coach & he should come out and say so. I'd replace him with a man who has previous experience and a huge point to prove ..... J.M. Arthur.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 20, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    There is a growing debate over Carberry with the Compton lobby turning vociferous. I do not know why. In every game Carberry has at least made a fist of it and tried to score runs as they come rather than go for inert entrenchment. At least Carberry understands that runs is what the game is about. I would give him longer. Compton's whole attitude is wrong. People bang on about KP being 'egotistical';well in the case Compton he saw himself as bigger than the team and really showed how the selectors had no right to sack him. He did not acknowledge that he was just a drag to the tempo. No critics can point to him being born in UK. At one point I expected to read of Compton kidnapping Geoff Miller. He seems far too self obsessed and really turned me off him. Not good. Carbs on the other hand stays quiet and seems quite contented beyond the horror of the team losing. No choice really. Hopefully Carberry can put together a goode score in the remaining two games.

  • ScottStevo on December 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    @5wombats, and that's why you're being humiliated now! Comments like, "and pasting Australia 3-0 in England 4 months ago". It wasn't a 'pasting' - far from it. Being English, your arrogant nature took over and ran with the 3-0 scoreline as being a 'pasting' and you all thought you'd walk into Aus, score 500 without loss - as that's what happened last time in Aus - then roll us for 250 at worst and win every test by an innings without even trying. THIS is why you're on the end of a royal walloping! @Garp, give over! Eng were preparing before Aus were for this series, as Aus were in India playing ODIs when Eng arrived! You guys can't have it both ways, ie, you can't be underprepared and at the same time battle weary from a hectic schedule. Which is it? I'll answer for you - it's neither! It's merely what's known in sporting cirlces as excuses! - and poor ones at that!

  • 5wombats on December 20, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    @legsidewide on (December 20, 2013, 9:49 GMT) Nice list - but you ignored England beating India in India a year ago and pasting Australia 3-0 in England 4 months ago. When you say "The lack of competitive matches in the last 2 years" - presumably you are including these 2 series wins for England. Are you seriously trying to claim that these India and Australia series were not competitive? I don't think either of those sets of fans would agree with you. Winning in India is a desperately difficult thing for any touring team to do. TBH I think that's a somewhat limp comment for you to be making, especially when Australia's record over a period longer than the last 2 years is not so great. Ok Aus have thrashed us here, but one swallow doesn't make a summer bud.

  • wrenx on December 20, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @Garp What a limp excuse. Is that he same reason England have been failing for the last 2 years? The lack of competitive matches before they flopped against Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand?

  • Garp on December 20, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    I find it funny how everyone is looking for a reason for England's horrible batting display. The simple truth is they haven't player a competitive match in months, they didn't get together before they left for any conditioning, practice, or scrimmage matches, and they only played maybe 3 days if that from the 2 warm up matches in Australia. There isn't 1 sport that you can take a 3.5 month leave of absence from and then 1 day just show up for a match and be competitive. This is why every major sport has either a training camp or preseason. Ffer some reason this lot of player's we have think there the exception to the rule even though for the last 4 years every series after a prolonged break in the schedule England has failed miserably. The most telling tale is England's woman's team coming out saying they won't make this same error and will put in the time to ensure that the well prepared for their upcoming Ashes series.

  • pat_one_back on December 19, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    One things for certain now, despite all the self talk this Eng squad was good but can no-longer ever be considered great. Great teams go down fighting, they don't roll over and play dead like this lot. Think of the Great Aust & Windies teams, supremacy was steadily wrestled off of them never beaten in to them in 3 rounds. Had Eng not been so arrogant in their self appraisals this inevitable fall would not be from such a fatal height. These same players under a more grounded culture might have put up a much stiffer fight. KP is the only potential 'all time' 11 candidate from '05 onwards, Bell may prove himself another yet the talk since '09 has been of an all time great team, what a destructive fantasy this now proves to be.

  • GCricket01 on December 23, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    I believe the problem is that England does not seem to enjoy the game and instead focused (a bit obsessively) on the management/technical aspects of it for their own good. This will certainly made them vulnerable to 'boredom syndrome'. They do have talent to come back strongly but for that the 'core' part of the team (Cook, Anderson, Pieterson, Prior, Bell) should spent some quality time away from the game with their families and come back stronger.

    England need someone less serious in profile than Andy Flower to navigate them through this troubled times.

  • whensdrinks on December 22, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    @Mycro3A - if these were win-the-toss-win-the-match pitches then you would think that the second innings of the match would be bigger then the third. Alas, Australia's 2nd innings have been much better then England's first. In fact, England's 2nd innings is better then their 1st. Not quite sure what sort of pitch leads to the worst batting conditions being the afternoon of the second day?? Or perhaps, your comment is a bit ridiculous, particularly when you compare Australian pitches to the dross served up in England 6 months ago.

  • SaracensBob on December 22, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Last summer's 3- 0 Ashes victory flattered to deceive. It was based on big runs from Bell, some decent support from Pietersen and the Aussie top-order batsmen repeatedly giving their wickets away cheaply. Look at the difference since 'Boof' has come in - the Aussies have toughened up and England can't cope. England have been poor. This could be hubris but I lay the blame on Mr Flower. He put three tall 'hit-the-deck-hard' fast bowlers in his squad. They would make hay with the kookaburra ball on the Aussie tracks. Tremlett, who has no genuine pace, was played at Brisbane and hasn't been seen since. Harris and Johnson have had a lovely time getting at the Eng. batsmen - Rankin and Finn have been carrying the drinks! Flower out, Ashley Giles in! A man who knows how to win! My team for Melbourne - Cook, Carberry, Bell, Ballance, Root, Stokes, Bairstow, Broad (if fit)/Rankin, Anderson, Rankin/Finn (if Broad not available), Panesar. Let's cut out the dead wood and we might give them a game

  • it_happened_last_in_2001. on December 21, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    The sad fact is that this team has rolled over more meekly than the 0 - 5 mob of 2006/07. Those Australians boasted a number of world class players; by comparison this team is full of journeymen, but the result will still most likely be the same. The Adelaide 06 defeat was comical, but at least those players were in the game until the final day. The leadership both on and off the field seem totally bereft of ideas. I was at the Gabba day 2 & 3 to see the meekest of batting displays followed by Warner & Clarke dining at the free runs buffet we served up. Clueless. I would rather have seen us set a 7/2 field and bowl full a yard outside off stump for 4 hours to at least force the batsmen into taking some risks. I don't think the commitment is there from the coach & he should come out and say so. I'd replace him with a man who has previous experience and a huge point to prove ..... J.M. Arthur.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 20, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    There is a growing debate over Carberry with the Compton lobby turning vociferous. I do not know why. In every game Carberry has at least made a fist of it and tried to score runs as they come rather than go for inert entrenchment. At least Carberry understands that runs is what the game is about. I would give him longer. Compton's whole attitude is wrong. People bang on about KP being 'egotistical';well in the case Compton he saw himself as bigger than the team and really showed how the selectors had no right to sack him. He did not acknowledge that he was just a drag to the tempo. No critics can point to him being born in UK. At one point I expected to read of Compton kidnapping Geoff Miller. He seems far too self obsessed and really turned me off him. Not good. Carbs on the other hand stays quiet and seems quite contented beyond the horror of the team losing. No choice really. Hopefully Carberry can put together a goode score in the remaining two games.

  • ScottStevo on December 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    @5wombats, and that's why you're being humiliated now! Comments like, "and pasting Australia 3-0 in England 4 months ago". It wasn't a 'pasting' - far from it. Being English, your arrogant nature took over and ran with the 3-0 scoreline as being a 'pasting' and you all thought you'd walk into Aus, score 500 without loss - as that's what happened last time in Aus - then roll us for 250 at worst and win every test by an innings without even trying. THIS is why you're on the end of a royal walloping! @Garp, give over! Eng were preparing before Aus were for this series, as Aus were in India playing ODIs when Eng arrived! You guys can't have it both ways, ie, you can't be underprepared and at the same time battle weary from a hectic schedule. Which is it? I'll answer for you - it's neither! It's merely what's known in sporting cirlces as excuses! - and poor ones at that!

  • 5wombats on December 20, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    @legsidewide on (December 20, 2013, 9:49 GMT) Nice list - but you ignored England beating India in India a year ago and pasting Australia 3-0 in England 4 months ago. When you say "The lack of competitive matches in the last 2 years" - presumably you are including these 2 series wins for England. Are you seriously trying to claim that these India and Australia series were not competitive? I don't think either of those sets of fans would agree with you. Winning in India is a desperately difficult thing for any touring team to do. TBH I think that's a somewhat limp comment for you to be making, especially when Australia's record over a period longer than the last 2 years is not so great. Ok Aus have thrashed us here, but one swallow doesn't make a summer bud.

  • wrenx on December 20, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @Garp What a limp excuse. Is that he same reason England have been failing for the last 2 years? The lack of competitive matches before they flopped against Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand?

  • Garp on December 20, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    I find it funny how everyone is looking for a reason for England's horrible batting display. The simple truth is they haven't player a competitive match in months, they didn't get together before they left for any conditioning, practice, or scrimmage matches, and they only played maybe 3 days if that from the 2 warm up matches in Australia. There isn't 1 sport that you can take a 3.5 month leave of absence from and then 1 day just show up for a match and be competitive. This is why every major sport has either a training camp or preseason. Ffer some reason this lot of player's we have think there the exception to the rule even though for the last 4 years every series after a prolonged break in the schedule England has failed miserably. The most telling tale is England's woman's team coming out saying they won't make this same error and will put in the time to ensure that the well prepared for their upcoming Ashes series.

  • pat_one_back on December 19, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    One things for certain now, despite all the self talk this Eng squad was good but can no-longer ever be considered great. Great teams go down fighting, they don't roll over and play dead like this lot. Think of the Great Aust & Windies teams, supremacy was steadily wrestled off of them never beaten in to them in 3 rounds. Had Eng not been so arrogant in their self appraisals this inevitable fall would not be from such a fatal height. These same players under a more grounded culture might have put up a much stiffer fight. KP is the only potential 'all time' 11 candidate from '05 onwards, Bell may prove himself another yet the talk since '09 has been of an all time great team, what a destructive fantasy this now proves to be.

  • Shan156 on December 19, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    Let's play a new look, young team for the 4th test in Melbourne. If Broad is unfit, replace him with Finn. Replace Anderson with Rankin. Swann gets one more go for me. His replacement, Panesar, is simply not good enough. Finally, KP needs to go. He cannot keep falling to the leg side trap. Ballance can fill his place.

    Not saying we will win or even draw the next two but at least it gives a good exposure for the young guys. Anyway, the series is gone. Let's get a good look at some of these young guys.

  • Cubitt on December 19, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Since Aug 2011, in 9 test series our core batsmen average; AC: 40.92. JT: 38.25, KP: 39.32, IB: 39.28 and Prior: 35.15. While none of these are terrible they are all far short of their career averages, and this is no small sample size. This isn't a lone 'off-series', England's batting has been on the decline for 2 years now.

  • Shan156 on December 19, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    England fans need not despair. All is not lost. Every team goes through a trouble phase. This is England's. Didn't India lose 0-4 in consecutive tours in England and Australia and even lost a series at home to England only to come back strongly pounding Aus at home returning the favor? Look at what they are doing to the Saffers now. Sure, they have more talented players and once they get a couple of good bowlers, they will be unbeatable. Didn't Aus lose 0-4 to India and 0-3 to England before this series? We need to come back strong. Obviously, some players are past it and need to be replaced. Anderson and Swann have looked jaded and KP is playing irresponsibly. Prior looks past it and it is time to replace him with Johnny Bairstow. Stokes is a massive positive. I have been critical of him but his 2nd innings century in Perth proves that the boy has talent and guts. His bowling has been decent as well.

  • CodandChips on December 19, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    @topeleven Surely Carberry has done much better than Compton. Compton's average and strike rate were both miserable at 30. Carberry has looked relatively comfortable and hasn't put pressure on the rest of the team, unlike Compton. My issue with Carberry is his issue of dropping sitters. For such an excellent fielder, surely this is down to nerves.

    I agree that Anderson is a great fielder, but his job is to bowl, and he has not been great since Trent Bridge. The reason England won't drop him is because we are too rigid with our selection policy. But why on earth would you drop Swann? He is the best English spinner by a long way- nobody else comes close (which is worrying when you think about the future).

  • topeleven on December 19, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    First Compton should have been opening in the place of Carberry. Compton did a decent job in India and scored back to back hundreds in Newzealand. Dropping him is a mistake. The problem with England management is they r not experimenting in the game according to the situation. Just a suggestion. When facing a challenge of saving a test match a team needs expertise. Instead of sending cook as an opener Root could have been sent(which actually happened as he had to face the second ball) It would have given the team an option of playing cook in the middle for a longer period of time. Second KP should be moved down the order.He always scores fast so moving him down will be allowing him to play freely. Another major problem I reckon is they can't drop Anderson or Swann not because of their bowling but of their fielding. I have never seen bowlers except all rounder in slip ors run saving spot and doing great. When strauss left cook found it tough to field in slips so who will fill the two?

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 19, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    England have gone 10 steps backwards. They are probably the dullest side to watch and it gets them nowhere. KP and Prior may not be in form but as they are the two highest run rate batsmen it makes about as much sense dropping them both as washing one's face in an acid bath. Without those two there will be no run rate. Real fearless aggression is the answer. A batsman may lose his wicket but at least there will be some momentum involved. We thought Compton boring and he got the sack Root? He makes Compton look like Gilbert Jessop. He may be able to laugh at Johnson but he cannot make me smile. It has been assumed that he has a right to a place automatically. Let him play county cricket till he learns that the point of batting is to make runs, not just occupy the crease. Cook too needs to learn to make runs more freely. Run rates of 2.14 are unacceptable. 3.5 IS ACCEPTABLE! Watch warner for a clue to it all! Dull and unpalatable needs booting out of the plans.Let us at least entertain

  • phat55 on December 19, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    @ PrasPunter......u were saying??? u dont see us coming back?? u think one bad day at the office by the bowlers and we'll just roll over for u.....were not India my friend! we got to no1 playing good hard cricket all over the world & this team has loads of fight in it....we do have off days but when we turn it on,teams usually get blown out the water.

  • 5wombats on December 19, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    I've been unwell again and not able to attend to this series in the way it deserves.

    I have been SHOCKED, utterly SHOCKED at what has taken place in this series. Verging on unbelievable. How can we go to Australia as favourites and get whipped in this way. Someone please explain.

    It's all mental. There is no lack of ability in this team - winning in Aus 3 years ago proves it, winning in India proves it. The problems are mental problems - and these I think have been induced by the approach of management - the endless micro management of the players, even down to their ruddy diets! I think Gooch has a lot to answer for here. What a humourless individual. Read Gower on Gooch. Gooch should go - as he is responsible for this, I was going to say abysmal - but it doesn't qualify even as abysmal, batting shambles. And what of Tremlett/Rankin/Finn -? what the hell was the point of taking them to Aus if they weren't going to play, even at Perth?

    Deep deep problems here. Heads must roll....

  • zoot364 on December 19, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    @jackiethepen: maybe, but that view must take into account an assessment of the raw material Flower has to work with and Australia's greatly improved performance. Are England going to win the next soccer World Cup? No. Is that the manager's fault? When a team loses it is very easy to point to decisions about selection and tactics that might have been taken differently. But impossible to say if those different decisions would have guaranteed success.

  • jackiethepen on December 19, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Flower hasn't the answer, if he had he would have prepared better. He's had 3 years to prepare after all. Serious blunders, a catalogue of errors. If he really doesn't think it's time to go then he's oblivious of his own mistakes. And if England keep him, so are they. What we don't want from England is the same kind of complacency which says let's not change anything even though it's broken. The warning signs were there in the summer. Don't run out of puff, George. Flower's mismanagement has ended Trott's career in my opinion. Trott reported to Warwickshire that he was burnt out from endless drills and pressure. Whose to blame but the coach? Dropping KP would be a disaster as well. That will finish his career. It's rich when he's ending players' careers but not offering his own.

  • zoot364 on December 19, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    One thought about Swann - and about future England spinners. He was 29 before he made his Test debut in 2008. At the moment the cupboard looks a little bare of spinners to replace him, but perhaps we shouldn't be too quick write off some of the younger spinners in county cricket who aren't yet ready to step up to international level.

  • CodandChips on December 19, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    I love what Flower has done for English cricket. He brought us to the top in all formats momentarily. Under his leadership we won the WT20 (and were the best team despite losing vs WI in the group stage- robbed by D/L), won 3 ashes series, including 2010/11 in Australia, and won in India. But my concern with him is that he is too rigid in his selection. Perhaps it is admirable that he shows faith in the senior players. But I do believe he should give some youngsters a bit more faith, such as James Taylor. Although I'm not too sure how much of a say he has with the existence of so-called "selectors". Also he did give Woakes and Kerrrigan chances at the Oval.

    Personally I'd like to see Flower in charge as we go through a transition which I see as necessary. We have been on the slide this year, and that has been masked by playing New Zealand and Australia this summer. But now the Aussies have come good, and we have unfortunately been unable to match them.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 19, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    @Praspuner: I think this bunch o boys is going to surprise us in terms of how long they play to be honest. I you look at the retirement ages o other players in the past 2/3 years, he Indians retired when they were in their 40's pretty much and Huss and Punter retired at around 37/38. Kallis is still playing as an all rounder and 37 odd or something.

    We are going to miss Hadds when he goes (2015 WC he says), I'm not so sure about Wade anymore, keeping is more important than the runs and Hadds has been doing both excellently, Paine is now next in line probably. I reckon Hughes is going to be a gun opener for Australia, he has had a tough start, but so did Langer and Hayden.

    On Watto, his last 4 tests he has scored a 2 centuries in his past four tests and has scored 3 one day hundreds this year, bowled pretty well too. He hasn't had too many injury problems since coming back, he might be on his way to realising his potential. He, Johnson and pup might have a lot more to give yet at 32.

  • on December 19, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Yes...i cannot see any replacement for Swanny in the spin department. He stands alone in the Pom attack and that must be a worry. Aussie have smashed him out of the series and possibly out of Test cricket. Very harsh but that's the true nature of International cricket.

  • PrasPunter on December 19, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx , absolutely - they have an excuse for a spinner in Imran Tahir - remember our boys belting him for more than 200+ runs last year in Adelaide ? Philander is hardly threatening unless the conditions suit him - Steyn looks like he has run out of gas. And Morkel is not consistent as well. I don't see them coming back against india.

    For us, Rhino won't be playing beyond another season so one of Pattinson/Starc/Bird/Cummins should step in and step up. Don't see SA having the depth in bowling as ours !! If we have a proper replacement for Rogers , Watson and Haddin at 1,3 and 6 , we should be good enough for the next few years, assuming Pup carries on, which I doubt, given his trouble-some back.

  • on December 19, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Yes 3 nil might be an understatement. cook having trouble with balls on the stumps. carberrys positives soon become negatives. root cant decide. KP having difficulty not getting out. bell surprised at being surprised..... Anderson lost his bag of tricks & no loop. cant blame broad, excellent effort. tremlett loping in not knowing it was an ashes test. bresnan not match fit. swan sidespinning forgetting that topspin needed on bouncy roads. & then finally prior. I rest my case. England lucky its only 3-0.

  • jackthelad on December 19, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    The big problem for England - even when they were winning - has been a sclerotic inability on the part of the management team to adapt to situations. Flower has moulded a side that only knows one road - the road of attrition - and relies on this plus the odd, incalculable punishing innings from one of Pietersen, Bell or Cook to set up big scores, which their bowling attack can rest on as they whittle away the opposition; when plan A fails (as it has repeatedly this series) there is no plan B. Cook is a captain in Flower's mould - unadventurous, unimaginative, reactive rather than proactive; he's a very good - potentially a great - batsman, but a poor strategist and a poor leader. There is no obvious answer as we speak, but at least England have a couple of games to try out alternatives.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 19, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    @Praspunter: Yeah, on current form i now think Australia have the best attack. Philander lacks pace, so when his radar is off, he is cannon fodder. Morkel was good but Steyn was under par after the first session. Also, Tahir is no where near being a test class spinner. The Aussies attack is very complementary, Harris is the spearhead, Johnson the enforcer, Siddle the workhorse with a knack o breaking partnerships and Lyon is ever improving and does a job.

  • PrasPunter on December 19, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    @kensohatter, before planning for Ashes 2015, Eng should plan for the big one coming up this summer - india's tour of Eng. It is going to be a real tough one for sure !! If Eng think they can roll over the indian batsmen like what they did in 2011, they must be dreaming.

  • PrasPunter on December 19, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx, why the second best ? You think the SA has got the best one, given how harmless they have been against the indians on day 1 ?

  • landl47 on December 19, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    The question for Flower and England is whether the over-30s group in this test squad can get any better or whether they've gone as far as they can. I don't see a big future for Carberry, Trott is probably gone forever, KP has maybe 18 months more (I think he'll retire from international cricket after the 2015 World Cup). Bell is playing pretty well and should go on for a while. England does need a genuinely quick bowler to go with Anderson and Broad and if Stokes can bat at #6 and be a 4th seamer that gives them the opportunity to pick one. That's for the future and Jordan, Mills and Overton will be candidates.

    Prior's keeping is even more worrying than his form with the bat. Bairstow is ready to be WK/#7 and should be given a chance. The most disturbing of all is Swann. He's the oldest player in the side and is being outbowled by Lyon, but who is there to replace him? Not Monty, that's for sure.

    Lots for Flower to think about in the next few days.

  • Alexk400 on December 19, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    I think its very good response. When you accept the problem , you can find a solution. But question is why England playing bad? Too overconfident. Under prepared. Lack of real fast bowler. Too much rely on anderson to take wickets is also problem. He never shines outside england.

    Root is not number 3. He should bat number 6. We all keep forgetting cook failure with bat.

    Ian bell also failed. Matt prior failed. So basically whole team.

    I blame coach for this loss as whole team performed badly.

    He should be coach but need to replace fast bowlers and opener.

  • dunger.bob on December 19, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    That seems an honest and forthright assessment from Flower. It's interesting that he didn't really mention England's bowling apart from the short recuperation time they've been getting because of the woeful batting. The article says Rankin is likely to come in so that would mean Anderson would the one to be dropped if Broad is fit. That's how I read it anyway.

    The one guy who should really be worried is Matt Prior. I think he's a goner because Flower seems to talking about him in the past tense already. "He HAS been a great player for England". Not, he IS an integral part of the side or some such. Maybe I'm reading too much into it though.

    It's hard to believe that England will drop Pietersen as the article suggests. .. To me, Kev has been the face of England during this good run they've been having. Dropping him really would be the end of an era but I guess the harsh reality is that he hasn't really looked likely to take any of our bowlers to the cleaners. Not even Lyon.

  • pat_one_back on December 19, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Talk of dropping KP is out right ridiculous, he looks in decent form he's just hasn't nailed that big score because Aust have planned meticulously & executed well to contain him. Respect to KP for commanding such attention and credit to Aust for executing so well. Prior needs to go he's totally psyched at the moment, Eng could do worse than cutting Finn loose on Boxing Day, who knows maybe he'll follow MJ's lead.

  • humdrum on December 19, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    For a man who has made some stubborn and daft, maybe biased decisions, Flower is only stating the obvious when he accepts responsibility.Thanks,old chap for the gesture.If Finn and/or Rankin were not played at Perth,maybe Flower can explain to us poor ignoramuses why exactly they are part of the tour.Glossing over these things(and the baffling decision not to bat Bell at no 3 ) will not help matters.The rot at the top has to be stopped for any reversals in the fortunes of this side .

  • xtrafalgarx on December 19, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    Australia has the 2nd best attack in the world now for mine, at least they were able to put up a fight in England, even in India too. England have gone missing without their duke ball and overcast skies and dry pitches.

  • ShutTheGate on December 19, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    dropping KP, Prior and Broad in one go would be un heard of. I'd be surprised if they do that.

  • jb633 on December 18, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Flower has been one of the best things to happen to English cricket in the last 20 years. Yes we have never been the lead side in the world but we have been right up there for the last 5 years. The fact that we have been able to win a series in Oz and India speaks volumes about his impact on the side. Like all good things they must come to an end at some point. I feel Flower has lost a bit of his drive and wants some time away from the game. I for one will refuse to blame him for this debacle and would rather remember him for all the good memories he has given the fans. If this is your last series Flower the global respect for you remains in tact. Dignified as a player and a coach he is a legend of the game in my opinion. Lets not forget his courageous deeds he performed as a cricketer.

  • kensohatter on December 18, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    Planning for the 2015 ashes must begin now. ECB needs to pick a side that will regain the urn and then put a coaching structure in place that will achieve that objective. England has had great success in the past but this series has shown us that things have become stale in the english dressing room. Saker and mushie have been brilliant for England but I think maybe the time has come to challenge Broad, Anderson and swann to dislodge them from their rut. All will play a major part in England barring injury and provided they still have the fight to want to regain the urn. Batting wise this talk about dropping cook and KP is nonsense they remain excellent cricketers you if motivated will be devastating at home. again a change of batting coach could help here. Head coach Andy Flower will be motivated so id leave him to. The one player who I think must go is Prior mostly because of the able replacements waiting in the wings. Forget this series and pick players that will win the next one

  • on December 18, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    Please have Cook batting at 3,Root amd Carbs can open !!!

  • PeerieTrow on December 18, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    IMHO Flower must stay to get the team back on the rails. Australia regained the Ashes because they played the better cricket; cricket which suited the conditions on what could be argued to be three win-the-toss-win-the-match pitches. England were never allowed into the game by an Australian set-up with more appetite for the fight; an excellent strategy for which they should be congratulated. As I said at the top, IMHO Flower must stay to get the team back on the rails.

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  • PeerieTrow on December 18, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    IMHO Flower must stay to get the team back on the rails. Australia regained the Ashes because they played the better cricket; cricket which suited the conditions on what could be argued to be three win-the-toss-win-the-match pitches. England were never allowed into the game by an Australian set-up with more appetite for the fight; an excellent strategy for which they should be congratulated. As I said at the top, IMHO Flower must stay to get the team back on the rails.

  • on December 18, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    Please have Cook batting at 3,Root amd Carbs can open !!!

  • kensohatter on December 18, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    Planning for the 2015 ashes must begin now. ECB needs to pick a side that will regain the urn and then put a coaching structure in place that will achieve that objective. England has had great success in the past but this series has shown us that things have become stale in the english dressing room. Saker and mushie have been brilliant for England but I think maybe the time has come to challenge Broad, Anderson and swann to dislodge them from their rut. All will play a major part in England barring injury and provided they still have the fight to want to regain the urn. Batting wise this talk about dropping cook and KP is nonsense they remain excellent cricketers you if motivated will be devastating at home. again a change of batting coach could help here. Head coach Andy Flower will be motivated so id leave him to. The one player who I think must go is Prior mostly because of the able replacements waiting in the wings. Forget this series and pick players that will win the next one

  • jb633 on December 18, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Flower has been one of the best things to happen to English cricket in the last 20 years. Yes we have never been the lead side in the world but we have been right up there for the last 5 years. The fact that we have been able to win a series in Oz and India speaks volumes about his impact on the side. Like all good things they must come to an end at some point. I feel Flower has lost a bit of his drive and wants some time away from the game. I for one will refuse to blame him for this debacle and would rather remember him for all the good memories he has given the fans. If this is your last series Flower the global respect for you remains in tact. Dignified as a player and a coach he is a legend of the game in my opinion. Lets not forget his courageous deeds he performed as a cricketer.

  • ShutTheGate on December 19, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    dropping KP, Prior and Broad in one go would be un heard of. I'd be surprised if they do that.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 19, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    Australia has the 2nd best attack in the world now for mine, at least they were able to put up a fight in England, even in India too. England have gone missing without their duke ball and overcast skies and dry pitches.

  • humdrum on December 19, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    For a man who has made some stubborn and daft, maybe biased decisions, Flower is only stating the obvious when he accepts responsibility.Thanks,old chap for the gesture.If Finn and/or Rankin were not played at Perth,maybe Flower can explain to us poor ignoramuses why exactly they are part of the tour.Glossing over these things(and the baffling decision not to bat Bell at no 3 ) will not help matters.The rot at the top has to be stopped for any reversals in the fortunes of this side .

  • pat_one_back on December 19, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Talk of dropping KP is out right ridiculous, he looks in decent form he's just hasn't nailed that big score because Aust have planned meticulously & executed well to contain him. Respect to KP for commanding such attention and credit to Aust for executing so well. Prior needs to go he's totally psyched at the moment, Eng could do worse than cutting Finn loose on Boxing Day, who knows maybe he'll follow MJ's lead.

  • dunger.bob on December 19, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    That seems an honest and forthright assessment from Flower. It's interesting that he didn't really mention England's bowling apart from the short recuperation time they've been getting because of the woeful batting. The article says Rankin is likely to come in so that would mean Anderson would the one to be dropped if Broad is fit. That's how I read it anyway.

    The one guy who should really be worried is Matt Prior. I think he's a goner because Flower seems to talking about him in the past tense already. "He HAS been a great player for England". Not, he IS an integral part of the side or some such. Maybe I'm reading too much into it though.

    It's hard to believe that England will drop Pietersen as the article suggests. .. To me, Kev has been the face of England during this good run they've been having. Dropping him really would be the end of an era but I guess the harsh reality is that he hasn't really looked likely to take any of our bowlers to the cleaners. Not even Lyon.

  • Alexk400 on December 19, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    I think its very good response. When you accept the problem , you can find a solution. But question is why England playing bad? Too overconfident. Under prepared. Lack of real fast bowler. Too much rely on anderson to take wickets is also problem. He never shines outside england.

    Root is not number 3. He should bat number 6. We all keep forgetting cook failure with bat.

    Ian bell also failed. Matt prior failed. So basically whole team.

    I blame coach for this loss as whole team performed badly.

    He should be coach but need to replace fast bowlers and opener.