England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 2nd day

What's next for England?

The nucleus of this England side is not going to change overnight, but some key players are now the wrong side of 30 and will leave tough holes to fill when the time comes

George Dobell

August 22, 2013

Comments: 71 | Text size: A | A

Chris Woakes opening spell didn't run smoothly, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day, August 21, 2013
The next generation of England cricketers has a tough act to follow © Getty Images
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Whatever else happens over the last three days of this match, England may reflect on the Oval Test of 2013 as having provided a disconcerting peek into their future.

It is not just that their two debutants in this match - Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan - have endured tough baptisms into Test cricket. It is that, over the last four years, England have now brought 12 new players into their Test side without any of them making an incontrovertible case for long-term inclusion.

You have to go back to 2009, when Jonathan Trott won his first Test cap, to find an England player who can be said to a have made an uncompromised success of his elevation.

Since then a dozen men have been tried - Michael Carberry, Steven Finn, James Tredwell, Eoin Morgan, Ajmal Shahzad, Samit Patel, Jonny Bairstow, James Taylor, Nick Compton, Joe Root, Kerrigan and Woakes - and, while four or five (Taylor, Finn, Bairstow and Root in particular) may yet prove themselves worthy Test players, none have yet progressed to become long-term, automatic selections.

As a result, England continue to rely on the same trusted characters. But the unsettling suspicion is that, scratch beneath the surface of this strong England side, and there are doubts about their bench strength.

While England look relatively well stocked with top-order batsmen - the likes of Varun Chopra, Luke Wells and Sam Robson - and tall, fast bowlers - the likes of Jamie Overton, Boyd Rankin, Finn and Tremlett, who responded to be overlooked for this match by claiming five wickets for Surrey on Thursday - they are no closer to finding a replacement for the swing of James Anderson or the spin of Graeme Swann.

Maybe that is not surprising. Anderson and Swann are two of the best bowlers England have possessed in decades. But they are both over 30, they are both required to shoulder heavy workloads and neither can be expected to do so indefinitely.

While it had been presumed that Monty Panesar would inherit Swann's role in this side - and there are whispers that this could, just could, be Swann's final Test in England - recent revelations about Panesar have thrown some doubt over his long-term involvement. Suffice it to say, it would be naive to conclude that his bizarre behaviour in Brighton recently was simply an aberration.

That would mean that Kerrigan could be England's first choice spinner much earlier than had been anticipated. Aged only 24 and with an impressive first-class record, Kerrigan no doubt has a bright future. But on the evidence of this game, he is some way from being a Test cricketer.

In some ways, the second day of this Test was even more depressing than the first for Kerrigan. There are caveats to the decision not to bowl him - it was a day truncated by poor weather and conditions favoured the seamers - but to see Trott called into the attack ahead of him hardly provided a ringing endorsement of his captain's faith in his abilities. Perhaps a more sympathetic captain might have found a way to involve Kerrigan a little more.

Any judgement on Woakes' debut depends on how you perceive his role. He bowled tidily enough on a flat wicket and will surely never let England down. Whether that is enough to justify a Test career as a third seamer is highly debatable, though. And, while he may yet score match-defining runs from No. 6, what has become clear is that he cannot be viewed as a viable alternative as the incisive swing bowling replacement of Anderson. England don't have one.

 
 
In some ways, the second day of this Test was even more depressing than the first for Kerrigan. There are caveats to the decision not to bowl him - it was a day truncated by poor weather and conditions favoured the seamers - but to see Trott called into the attack ahead of him hardly provided a ringing endorsement of his captain's faith in his abilities
 

It may be too early to draw conclusions as to the reasons for the struggles of recent England debutants, but part of the problem may lie in the county game. Over the past few years, English county cricket has witnessed the removal of Kolpak registrations - a well-intentioned but not entirely positive move - an increasing difficulty in securing top-quality overseas players, an absence of the top England players on international or even Lions duty and the premature elevation of inexperienced cricketers due to young player incentives.

Every change was well intentioned, but the combination has weakened the breeding ground of England's Test team. There are too many weak young players who might never have made it into professional sport a decade ago competing against one another.

Compare it to the side that took England to No. 1 in the Test rankings. It contained four men in the top seven (Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Trott and Matt Prior) who had scored centuries on Test debut, two more (Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen) who had scored half-centuries and a bowler (Anderson) who claimed a five-wicket haul.

Every one of them had been developed in county cricket at a time when young players had to fight for inclusion among Kolpak registrations, experienced England players and some excellent overseas cricketers. County cricket prepared them much more thoroughly.

There is a strong suspicion that the next few months will witness a changing of the guard in the management of this England side, too. Andy Flower, arguably the most positive influence on England cricket in a generation, may well step down from his day-to-day coaching role with the side after the tour of Australia this winter.

While he is highly likely to remain involved in a role overseeing the England teams - a position similar to that undertaken by Hugh Morris at present - it is anticipated that Ashley Giles will assume day-to-day coaching responsibilities.

Sooner or later England must embrace change. The next test for them will be to see whether the improvements of recent years are the result of a once in a lifetime collection of players - the likes of Pietersen and Cook and Anderson and Swann - or whether, with all the money invested in age-group teams, talent identification and coaching, the national centre of excellence and a dozen other schemes, the entire system has been transformed to ensure continuity of excellence and a constant conveyor belt of quality players.

The evidence of this Test has not been especially encouraging.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Blokker on (August 24, 2013, 6:55 GMT)

Anderson is over 30 and he averages over 30 per wicket too. Clearly a very good bowler but not great.

Posted by Mervo on (August 24, 2013, 6:19 GMT)

It will be tough, without more imports/overseas players from SA or even young Australians. Bairstow and co look average but Cook and Root are young. Tremlett looks the goods to me and spin wise they will be in the same situation as Australia. The series in Australia will be interesting with this current series being pretty close, except for one test when Australia were terrible and another where rain saved England.

Posted by balajik1968 on (August 24, 2013, 5:06 GMT)

Interesting. Even in their worst periods England did not lack for talent. What they needed was a good manager. Duncan Fletcher for some time and Andy Flower have done well. What could take a toll on England is the back to back Ashes; it is only 10 Tests over 8 months, but the intensity could cause damage. I back England to win down under, they still have the stronger team. But the worry is after the series, the players could be sated with a sense of achievement. Flower could choose to leave on a high.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

@great note-u missed pujara. He has 4 centuries in the space of 1 year. But ur point is well made.

Posted by righthandbat on (August 23, 2013, 23:30 GMT)

Personally I would think that Ballance or Taylor were better choices than going for Woakes. Tremlett should've played instead of Kerrigan but if Kerrigan and Woakes can play better as the match progresses then it will have been a useful debut.

Posted by LeeHallam on (August 23, 2013, 16:35 GMT)

A very selective version of history. Anderson was hardly an immediate success, it took him four years to get a regular place. Some of the dozen players Mr Dobell mentions were players picked for one off situations or as injury cover, half have been in squads this series. Only two(Morgan & Compton) have been given a good run and dumped, though perhaps if Cook or Root were injured Compton would still be their replacement. As for those Aussies who see this as a sign of hope for the next tour of England, I suspect there will still be more of the current England side playing then than of the Australians.

Posted by josphe on (August 23, 2013, 16:35 GMT)

I think this article is quite wrongly directed at England..Every little mishap with the team and an article is written..If you look at the core players of both south Africa and Australia they're about the same age as England's..However if you look at the reserve players for each of these teams I'd say England has the strongest, if you look at the back up TEST players for Australia and South Africa it doesn't look to good..Just look at how easily the S.A A boys were dismantled by India A..No Australia domestic batsmen is saying pick me with his performances, whereas England have the like of Balance, Taylor, Lees to name a few, all under the age of 25..Australia had to go to a 35 year old just showing how empty their cupboard is..They do have good pace back up but most of them are constantly breaking down. So if anything you should be saying what next for Australia, because if anything I see England dominating Australia for a long time to come..

Posted by whofriggincares on (August 23, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

I don't think you can judge Kerrigan on those 8 very nervous overs, but you would have liked to see him get one to grip and actually turn. That is what set's the great spinners apart from the good ones they actually get the ball to turn even when conditions don't suit be it a grassy pitch or even a first day pitch. As I said he looked very nervous and wasn't getting much revs on the ball at all. If he was an Aussie that great and insightful analyst @FFL would call him the 5th seamer! All jokes aside I am sure there is a lot of talent in the English system but translating that into consistent performance at test level is any talented cricketers great challenge. Given a population of 65 odd million in the UK (not including 50 million in south Africa ;) ) the likelihood of there being enough top notch talent to keep them in the top 4 nations is high. The fact that Australia was able to dominate world cricket for a decade and a half drawing from only 20 odd million is quite remarkable.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

So not so long ago Kolpacks were supposedly ruining the game, now apparently their absense is doing the same. Am I the only one who remembers that Root scored 180 in the second test and has just made another half century? Bairstow's series average wasn't much different to Pietersen, Trott or Cook's either. As for Kerrigan, judging a young attacking spinner on eight overs on a flat trac against Watson in that type of form is plain unfair. The lad has a brilliant record for Lancashire and may well factor if it turns on the second day. Nothing the vast majority posting here have ever done comes close to the pressure he faced yesterday, so cool down on the criticism.

Posted by bennybow on (August 23, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

Excellent article George. For all the England management's strengths, vision is not one. The guaranteed places for our top 6, keeper and Swann causes an issue while ironically we currently have half a dozen fine quickies to pick from. You mention "a dozen men have been tried" without noting that Carberry, Tredwell and Shazad only got 1 Test and Taylor 2 - not "tried" but filling in. Carberry may have turned into a fine England opener over the years but we'll never know. The county game could and indeed used to do better, if only ECB hadn't denuded it of all the top players. A dozen have been removed to play against Bangladesh A for goodness sake! Time for some fresh ideas at the top I reckon.

Posted by AjberPukkaattupady on (August 23, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

The article try to create a dramatic situation in English cricket . In fact English cricket is producing good cricketors for the last few years. No country has two quality spinners as england. Compton had made tons on the occassions he got. After all a series win in India would make them remember for the next two decades

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 23, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

There is one feature about all the recent debutants bar Compton which is that they have all grown up in the t20 era in which 2/5 of a season during primetime has been made over to this competition. Cricket is far more money driven than one thinks. It is amazing to think how we got by without money from Sky and t20 though the 20th century but we did, showing that one does not have to rely solely on making money to have a viable sport. I think the comments have featured Big Bash as the culprit for Australian woes with the 2nd rate Pura shield being a near irrelevance there, but is not it the same here with the solid midsummer block of t20? Bowlers have got used to being cannon fodder and bats used to not batting for long periods. Above all the art of pushing and running seems to have gone. really t20 needs to take 3rd place to the other two competittions with CC taking prime spot. It is Tests most people love and want our team to be successful at.

Posted by Moppa on (August 23, 2013, 11:54 GMT)

Interesting article, but it shows how if you take a slightly pessimistic slant on a few events you can spin a story. E.g. a bit harsh on Root to say that he hasn't taken his opportunity as a Test cricketer. @eddiehemmingswobble, some strange interpretations of Australian cricket history there. Langer, Hayden and Martyn were all dropped quickly and enthusiastically early in their careers and had stints on the sidelines of around five years apiece before finally cracking it. In fact Langer was dropped twice, once in 1996 and once in 2001. Hardly 'pick and stick'. Conversely, "Gilchrist wasn't that great in his first few Tests"... My response "!!!????!?!?!?!??!". Try 81 on debut and man of the match with 149 not out chasing 300+ in the fourth innings in his second Test. And he won his first 15 Tests. And he took ten catches in his sixth Test. Apart from that though he struggled.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

What the article fails to take in to account is the well established methods the England support team have when helping players to improve their game, harnessing natural talent with the expert coaching, conditioning and analysis support that is available to them. There is talent below the current test incumbents (see the lions for example) and England are looking at developing this, the debuts of Kerrigan and Woakes hint at England taking a flier with two young players to see if they thrive in the test arena. Their relative failures will tell them a lot and they will continue to work away with these two talents. Its certainly not the doom and gloom portrayed in this article.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

@gazoontapede - I would suggest a 32 year old Alastair Cook might fancy a game still. Also not sure on your plan with Australia being much stronger when you think that Clarke, Rogers, Harris, Haddin and Watson will all be 36+ by then as well. For all their spirit and good performances, theirs looks like a side patched together to me and the injury trend amongst the young bowlers is concerning.

That said, agree on South Africa being in a similar boat and if India can be a bit less preoccupied with short form cricket they should dominate towards 2020.

Posted by Great_Nate on (August 23, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

I don't think the problem is just England's. Scratch the surface with any of the top nations and take away the established talent and there is very little coming through of real quality - particularly with batting. In the last four years, the only players to have score more than 4 centuries are guys that have been well established. There are no young batsmen coming through scoring centuries regularly.

Posted by Yevghenny on (August 23, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

it's quite funny how it only takes a couple of mediocre days for the whole England set up to be questioned. I've never known such knee jerk coverage of a side. Of course new players aren't going to be automatic picks when there are already established international class players at the peak of their careers currently in the side! Steve Finn would get into any side in the world

I really don't get this english self loathing of all things sporting. "You know we really aren't that well off, this is all good, but what happens in 5 years time?"

Posted by 158notout on (August 23, 2013, 10:06 GMT)

gazoontapede - for better or worse depending on your opinion, those players don't have to wait until 2017 for a home Ashes series, there is another one in 2015, the final impact of this reshuffling of the four year cycle in Aus. As the Aus series has been brought forward then it was deemed that the gap from 2013/14 to 2017 was far too long. 2015 series - Lords, Trent Bridge, Cardiff, Edgbaston and the Oval.

Posted by Selassie-I on (August 23, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

I'm not too sure about this one, people in football are screaming out for the inclusion of English players in the premier leage, with the quality and volume of overseas players mixed witht he lack of English in the top league being the main reson cited for the failure of the national team - almost the opposite argument is now being made here.

Is it just that we have a generation of excellent cricketers at the moment that the next generation might not live up to? Is having such a settled team over the last few years also causing us to not give out as many caps to fringe players?

Should the whole system be called into disepute for a couple of iffy selections in one test match, not really if you ask me.

Posted by fsharpminor on (August 23, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

What's wrong with another look at Adil Rashid. His batting performances this season are better than most of the england team, and hes a darn useful bowler, adding variety to the attack. He could have been the replacment for Bresnan, and you have your second spinner too, allowing Tremlett to be included as well.

Posted by FrankHeaven on (August 23, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

The article rightly highlights the continuing weaknesses of the county game.

We all forget about the county game when the national team is doing well. Yet the national team has been doing well in spite - rather than because of - the county game; there are a handful of exceptional players, and their preparation at test level is second to none.

But the reality is that the county championship is a terrible breeding ground for good test cricketers. It has been for years, and we all know it. The switch to two divisions is just tinkering, and clearly can't have much impact on who gets in the England team as the selection of Kerrigan (from the second division) demonstrates.

It is probably the least watched competition in full time professional sport, completely dependent on the golden goose of the ECB for survival, and yet still nobody takes the tough decision to change the structure.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 9:19 GMT)

both swann and anderson struggled on the international scene for a long time before they became the players they are now and so did thousands of others around the world. while its hard on kerrigan to judge him at this point, woakes did not look convincing at all even in the 20 odd odis he has played and got smashed in the odis as well.

Posted by jmartbobbins on (August 23, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Think this is scaremongering. Kerrigan is young (4 years younger than swann on test debut - that's a lot of first class cricket). Woakes / Stokes have plenty of time to develop into a new bresnan or broad. Finn is already a quality bowler. Plenty of young quality seamers out there too (and with e.g. topley can off more variety). Batsmen arguably more of a challenge but we shouldn't right off bairstow, plus the other yorkshire youngsters. Biggest risk is probably losing pieterson / trott / bell in fairly quick succession.

Posted by gazoontapede on (August 23, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

@ sirviv73. ok 2015 still an ageing english squad. And i do hope you do have the same team in that series. That would be a god send to the aussies. You go and check the ages of your team on profiles,they are older than some of you are saying. It also amazes me that the English system is going to produce all these super stars but the shield comp in Australia is completely barren of future players. Best you do some research, some fine young players are in the Aust system. Bell took years to come good,but if an Aussie does well in this series its a fluke or too late or about time. There will be names in the Australian team in the near future that will haunt England teams for a long time.There are a couple playing in this test. All good things take time,and all good things come to an end.

Posted by sidd198723 on (August 23, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

England batting has been pathetic in this Ashes. Only Bell is doing well. Cook is averaging 27 (Bradman?) ,KP,Trott both below par. Bairstow failed again. Root had one good innings.In is other 8 innings has scored 80 runs so far.It's all -ve for England. On the other hand Aussies came to Ashes with only good batsmen as Clarke. Now they discovered Rogers,Watto and Smith. Hughes will be huge hit in next Ashes.England can't hide anymore. Time to lose Ashes to Australia this summer. GO AUSSIES!!!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

@ landl47, the problem is I have seen posts where you are quick to dismiss other nations upcoming players. So why do you give England players so much more grace period

Posted by crockit on (August 23, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

Spot on George. Out of the dozen you refer to only Samit was picked as a horses for courses (for subcontinent). Others were picked because they were believed by the selectors to be best available at the time. The disturbing thing is that for the most part those selectorial beliefs were entirely reasonable.

The selectors must, however, do better than reasonable they need to be more thoughtful and inspired. And they need to use ODIs as a test audition more. That does not mean picking a grinding batter like Compton but it means giving the likes of Stokes, Barker, Rankin, Taylor, Ballance, Bairstow, Kerrigan, Ali, Rashid etc. opportunities in the ODIs partly as a way of getting them ready for tests. This can be accomplished by giving more rest to players who need it for their test longevity (esp, Pieterson, Anderson, Swann but also Broad, Trott, Bell and Cook and even Root sometimes) and by limiting use of those who don't have much test potential (e.g Buttler, Wright)

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

@Andre2 on (August 23, 2013, 7:35 GMT) This is true and also Swann has hardly pulled off sensational figures so far himself , suggesting that at this stage it looks like it's not the turner the selectors anticipated

Posted by ramli on (August 23, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

How can players come into test arena from nowhere? They have to be spotted at least a year before. The article says there only a few round the corner playing ... what is wrong with the article? Just accept the fact that the cupboard appears to be bare and start scouting for new talent

Posted by milepost on (August 23, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

Finally someone has noticed that England don't have the reserves. I'd argue that Carberry looks an excellent player and that actually Root isn't up to it. If the form slump of some of the England players continues they might find themselves in trouble. As Australia have been awfully exposed in showing so, it's much easier for new payers to come into a winning team than a losing one so I suppose England have that advantage for the time being.

Posted by 64blip on (August 23, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

I suppose it makes a change to reading England are embarking on a period of world domination on the back of some good results, but to read the cupboard is bare after two bad days is really pushing it. The truth is, you never really know what's around the corner. There's talent out there: maybe it'll work out, maybe not. Maybe there'll be players appear from 'nowhere', maybe the selectors will miss them. Is this a turning point for Australia's batting? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn't make much of an article, granted.

Posted by Applejack on (August 23, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

I agree completely with landl47 below.

Very poor article. Writing off Woakes and Kerrigan after about 20 overs. Could well be right, but still a little early to say

Discounting a lot of promising youth. England are doing the right thing trying to blood some players so that they can call them up as needed and have a gradual transition.

The article seems to infer that if the whole England team retired tomorrow England would be in trouble. I think that that is fairly obvious and true of every team, but give it 5 years with a gradual changing of the guard and its a different story.

You are also reading too much into debut performances.

The other problem is that England have a settled, quality side at the moment. Much harder to break into. Steve Smith has gone how many innings to get a century? More than Root or Compton. According to you that would make him a failure, yet Smith is Australias next great hope?

Posted by Andre2 on (August 23, 2013, 7:35 GMT)

Re Kerrigan. If I remeber well, Swann started in the Test team at an early age, for a very few test matches, then went out in the wilderness for some long years before coming back very strongly in the team as the most potent swing bowler ! Not all is lost for Kerrigan !

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

@oneeyedaussie...Better prospects ? Pattinson, Bird (and Cummins) all have serious injury issues - frequent stress fractures are a worry. Hughes ? What again ? Same applies to Khawaja. As well as Smith batted he could just as easily gone first ball to a wild swipe so I wouldn't class him in the Bradman mould just yet. Lyon is adequate as is Wade but he has been in and out of the side. Warner will come off occasionally but most international bowlers will have noted his flat footed shots to balls leaving him on the off stump. It's such a pointless sort of article - our side will be better than your side. Who knows who will break through in 2-5 years time. @rocket123...which matches v India do you mean ? 6-1 seems pretty emphatic.

Posted by notimeforcricket on (August 23, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

They probably felt they had to try Kerrigan as monty seems unlikely to tours 2nd spinner. By picking him alongside swann, they needed to find a 3rd seamer who could bat or have broad at 7 and prior at 6. Not sure what woakes is like with the bat but he seems to be batting below Tim Ambrose at county level is a worry. I can see why they did this. Hopefully they can dust Monty down and take him to Aus. It is a shame they did not give Kerrigan more of a go. Also of the younger players, Finn has a much better record than Anderson had at te same age (btw he is the same age as 'young' Kerrigan). Trott was 28 when he first played, Pietersen was 25, Bell had many ups and downs before establishing himself. Other than Cook, most of the team did not really crack test cricket until tier late 20s. Nothing wrong with a young guy playing a few games and retreating to county cricket to iron out issues, hopefully to return stronger.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (August 23, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

Another knee jerk reaction article from Mr Dobell, which is really just offering crumbs of comfort to beleaguered Aus fans. I seem to remember an article with a similar downward tone after the 1st test, which asked if Eng were over reliant on Anderson. Well Eng won 2 of the next 3 tests with JA taking 5 wickets at an ave on 46.6, so the answer to that was an emphatic NO. There are a number of outstanding prospects in Eng FC cricket Robson, Taylor, Ballance, Lees, Stokes, Overton, Topley, Mills to name but a few. Just because Woakes has failed to impress & Kerrigan has had a nightmare it doesn't mean we should start to ring the alarm bells. IMO Woakes should not have been anywhere near the team in the first place. As for Kerrigan he is clearly a better bowler than what we saw on Weds & hopefully he will get an opportunity to bowl in the 2nd inns & do himself justice.

Posted by Amit_13 on (August 23, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

Its the hardest blow in cricket - CHANGE! You never win two games in the same manner, never have identical players perform exactly the same way, never have the same conditions. If you're a club cricketer, you may not even have the same XI twice. When you're winning, you want things to stay the same but they always always change. Either people want to end on a high or they get tired of the lows or they seek other challenges or their priorities are reorganised for them or the opposition gets stronger! It always changes...

The art is to learn to win with differences. And England may be looking there this week. To win with a relatively weak squad or a different look team. The Aussies only knew to win with their best XI and that was some XI. You wont be able to draft in last minute replacements come winter Ashes. It might be worth the gamble... you know now that newbies aren't ready!!

What do the English want more - two back to back Ashes series wins or a 4 - 0 home and 2 - 3 loss away?

Posted by Ksub on (August 23, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

This is one of the article that looks at a bleak prospect of a side that is doing well. Let us face it - ALL good/great sides had a bunch of great players. Australia - Hayden/Langer,Ponting/Waugh/Hussey, Gilchrist, McGrath/Warne. India - Sehwag/Gambir, Dravid/Tendulkar/Laxman, Dhoni, Harbajan/Kumble/Zaheer. SA - Smith/Amla/Kallis/DeVillers, Boucher, Styne/Morkel. Eng - Cook/Strauss, Trott/Pietersen/bell, Prior, Andersen/Swann/Broad. Just enjoy these great teams as a bunch ... and the next future one and don't worry about the country that throws up the great bunch. Learn from these characters "How they come out from tricky situation?" for your own life.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (August 23, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

@gazoontapde, The next ashes series in Eng is in 2015 not 17! therefore I would suspect that the majority of the current Eng side will still be playing. @ozjosh, Aus have probably left it too late to secure the services of Robson. He has a genuine chance of being picked by Eng in the return ashes series & if he doesn't he is a shoe in for the winter development squad.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

Can't agree with much of the sentiment here, most of it is conjecture and rubbish, you don't change a good side, and players are developed - hence England like W Indies, Australia, Pakistan, south Africa, and India before them have kept the nucleus together at the cost of blooding too much new talent. James Anderson was marginal at best when he came on the scene as a odd haired weak neigh feeble looking bowler, Warne was smashed around like a buffoon on debut, so Kerrigan felt the pinch on day1/2 then good it will make him stronger, because he has support. It's not how players perform on day 1 of their test careers, it's how the perform on day 100 of their test careers. If any team is skilled, focused and together enough as a captain, coach, selection committee, executive, and national cricket organisation to bloody and develop replacements at the right time it is the calculating and savvy 'new England'.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 6:53 GMT)

I agree partially with George, but must also stress that no team remains at the top forever and we will go through a regrouping process at some stage. That is inevitable. England must make some long-term decisions and accept some short-term pain. This means, in my view, dropping people like Trott from the one-day squad and possibly Jimmy/ Swanny. Bed players in in the key positions, young players, and give them time. We shouldn't be afraid to lose matches and we shouldn't be afraid for players to struggle. However, we have to be very exact and not just toss players about and feed them to bullies like Watson. I'm no great fan of Warner, for example, but there are different routes to the Test team than bundles of first-class runs. Look at Virat Kohli - established as a one-day batsman first. And look at Marcus Trescothick, identified on talent. I believe there is talent out there, but most new players suffer before they are established and we must realise this.

Posted by vj_gooner on (August 23, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

I have always had doubts about the quality of English county cricket over the past few seasons but what you (Dobell) have said is spot on.

And people thought only we (Aussies) had problems!! :-) :-)

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

This match should be seen in it's context. England have under performed in this series. The top three have been poor and the sporadic bursts of brilliance from the bowlers aside, they have lacked consistency. Lets not beat about the bush. This Australia side is poor. England in many respects have been worse and therefore have made them look good. They have ground out results, been functional, almost like a Toyota. I would say there are problems, sure, but I can't help feeling that for all the talk this game didn't mean much to England. The lions need to roar in Australia and rip the hearts out of them. Beat them into submission. And then when the Aussies arrive here (South Africa), the Proteas will do the same. I can't wait.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (August 23, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

I don't think England's future is as bleak as this article suggests.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 6:33 GMT)

I'm not too sure this Enland side is a tough act to follow. We have not seen world domination, accolades or trophies. Yes it's better than those of years past but jumping the gun to say the kids of the future won't learn from what is quickly looking like a wasted opportunity. One 20/20 World Cup is probably not what they wanted to be known for. Recruitment to get to this stage has been based on poaching overseas talent. So to Omre grown. Before you write off these kids let them breathe. Let them develop into top players. They can do it. The have the skill and are backed up by facilities, coaching and fitness. Give them some self belief and inch by inch they will arrive.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

agree with browners I was quite shocked to see Woakes at all, giving Taylor a knock would have been a good plan, and K ahead of Tremlett/Finn??? why?, of course if Woakes makes a debut 100 and K bowls 5 out in innings 2 then Eng will do what Oz are doing re Watson/Smiths innings - claim issues solved! :) Big up to Smith particularly I thought - See if Cook/Root can bat all day, surely they are due

Posted by Wefinishthis on (August 23, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

Australia's home ashes series will also be Michael Clarke, Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers final ashes series. Three of Australia's most dangerous players on tour. Haddin won't make it either and given Watson's penchant for injury and poor form, it will likely be his last ashes as well. Smith was a welcome find and may very well be captain by the next England ashes series. That leaves Warner, Smith, Wade and possibly Hughes, Cosgrove, Maddinson, Silk or Kurtis Patterson of which just Hughes has test experience. For the bowling, Siddle, Lyon, Bird, Pattinson, Faulkner and Cummins will all be around so that's a positive (I don't rate Starc at all, even IF he gets wickets today). That none of them bowled well enough in England is a major concern though. India looks to repeat themselves with a new era of superstar batsmen once South Africa cede their mantle.

Posted by landl47 on (August 23, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

This article is bafflingly incomplete. The best young batsman in England right now is Gary Ballance, age 23, FC average 53, list-A average 55, 16 FC hundreds and currently coming off a run of 3 successive centuries including one against the Aussies. He doesn't even get a mention!

None of Taylor, Bairstow, Finn and Root is yet 25, yet they are somehow considered inadequate because they haven't nailed down a test place already? They're all younger than Pietersen, Trott and Strauss were when they made their debuts. Swann and Prior were in their late 20s when they became England regulars and Anderson became a top-class bowler about age 27.

Cook is 28, Broad 27- no reason to think they won't be around in 5 years.

How about Reece Topley, a 6' 7" left-arm seamer, already a regular in FC and List-A and still in his teens? Ben Stokes, 22, is a genuine all-rounder; he's raw, but with real ability.

There are a lot more positives for England than are mentioned in this article.

Posted by ozjosh on (August 23, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

Sam Robson is Australian and will be picked for Australia for the return Ashes series.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

This article misses the point. England do have the players but the selectors keep making the wrong calls. Anyone who has seen Woakes bowl would know he's not in the same class as Tremlett or Finn. It's baffling that he would be selected over these two bowlers who have already won test matches for England. The same principle applies to the selection of Dernbach in the 2020 side (what player couldn't do a better job?) and arguably to the selection of Bopara in the one ay side.

Posted by humdrum on (August 23, 2013, 3:06 GMT)

Since Cook,Trott and Bell are relatively young and have a few years left,the accent should be on trying to find five batsmen(out of whom at least three will be permanent members) who will eventually take over the main duties.As regard replacements for Anderson and Swann,well the only way out is to give the likes of Finn,Tremlett,Rankin,and Kerrigan(that's right) exposure for a length of time to have a proper assessment of their capabilities and temperament.The leadership has to come from the top.Play it safe approach won't get them anywhere.

Posted by rocket123 on (August 23, 2013, 2:16 GMT)

Eng is good but not close to being excellent or great or invincible in Test on the evidence of recent Ashes, v Pakistan and India. OZs challenged them but unfortunately they failed to cross the line 3 times in this series save Lord's Test where they were found to be nowhere. If Khawaja, Smith or Watson had fired in any 2 tests save the test weather robbing OZ a fair chance to turn the momentum, the score line would have read 2-0. Notwithstandig, 0-3 is on the Eng side but that is not at all the fair reflection of the series and OZ team. But one can take heart now that OZ is settling down every bit moment, soon will be good to very good to excellent to world beaters again. They have the talent but application and patience will finally come next home series and OZ will have settled batting lineup. At least I am encouraged by the display of OZ because they did not become door mat in this Ashes. Eng on the surface seems to be superior but it is OZ performance that makes them.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (August 23, 2013, 1:17 GMT)

The next Ashes cycle will be very interesting in my opinion. Many of the English stalwarts will be into the twilight of their careers (Anderson, Swann, Pietersen, Trott, Bell) and some of them will of course devolve into spent forces. And many of the young Aussies will be coming into the prime of their career (Pattinson, Starc, Lyon, Bird, Hughes, Smith, Khawaja, Wade, Warner). Barring Root, all of these guys look far better prospects than the young English players.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 0:38 GMT)

I think England are better stocked than it might look. Fast forward five years and you could have a team that looks something like Cook, Root, Gary Ballance, Alex Lees, James Taylor, Bairstow, Buttler (take your pick for wk), Broad, Jamie Overton, Finn, Kerrigan/Tredwell. I think that lot would give this Aussie side a run right now.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 23, 2013, 0:12 GMT)

I'd be most worried about Cook's quite negative captaincy. Surely he should have given Kerrigan a bowl when the tail enders came out to bat? After all, all the fielders were circling the boundary (can't ever remember such a defensive field, bar India's 8-1 offside field while bowling two feet outside off stump, vs Aus in India about four years ago). What is the worst thing that could have happened? Hit for six singles an over? Cook is only 28, so will, I assume, be the captain for many more years. What will happen when things go bad for England? There are only so many shoes laces that can be tied, so many ball shining rags to go around to kill the game and go for the draw. Maybe he can stock up on batting gloves, ala Cardif 2009.

Posted by browners76 on (August 23, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

It didn't help that England, not for the first time got their selections completely wrong. Woakes is a swing bowler much in the vain of Dominic Cork, he should be a horses for courses selection on green wickets in May and June, not a dust bowl in August. Either Ben Stokes or Adil Rashid should have got the nod while the idea of playing 2 spinners is lunacy. It so rarely works that it's almost been abandoned altogether. Had either Tremlett or Finn played we would have seen Australia dismissed for 350 in all probability. The selection committee need to be far more pro-active in bringing in new players, not random non sensical selections that have now probably cost us this test match and the psyological advantage going into the return series in a few months.

Posted by CapitalMarkets on (August 22, 2013, 22:55 GMT)

It took Anderson a long time to become the finished article and the way to ensure that England get as much mileage out of their aging stars is to ensure that there are five bowlers in the side, not four. I didn't say it first; Ray Illingworth (ex Yorks and England captain) has been saying this for a very long time.

Woakes is a fourth seamer, who bats at seven or eight. Jimmy Anderson has appeared jaded simply because (as Mark Butcher succinctly put it) he has "bowled all his overs and most of everyone else's" over the first two test matches. Root can become a bit more than an occasional spinner and Trott is a fifth seamer.

The opportunity to blood a fast bowler has been lost. the England selectors should have looked at the away ashes series and argued that they need to know who the next strike bowler is, a man who has pace, accuracy and a bit of snarl. They should have looked at the Australian test series and recognised that it isn't going to be won by a spinner and played Rankin.

Posted by Mitty2 on (August 22, 2013, 22:48 GMT)

I follow County cricket loosely, just to see how the Australians there are faring, but how tight are these restrictions? Because in this season I've seen heaps of international players. Just from Aus you've had Burns, Cowan, Ponting, Magoffin, Copeland and Robson ;) and there were many more from other countries. But regardless the theory is a good one, the problem is much more significant in Shield cricket, where Botha is practically the only international player. And we all know the quality of the shield right now - bog average pitches, no batters, mediocre seamers like Hastings and Mennie having averages of under 25.

As seen in NZ, Panesar certainly isn't a top replacement anymore and his county season has been terrible. Root has been a great find, but a ridiculous decision to put him opening. Bairstow is a talent and can grind out runs, and although his technically flawed he still has a lot of potential. Compton should be playing. Batting depth is there, but not sure on the bowlers

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 22, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Why would this be Swann's last Test in England? Sounds bleak.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (August 22, 2013, 22:37 GMT)

A sobering thought indeed. I fear that in a year or two's time this article may be referred to again like some sort of nostradamus-esque prediction of doom. There is a lack of cricketers with that bit of something special to make a big impression on international cricket on the county scene. Sure there are a lot of very good cricketers, but none that I can see making a huge contribution at Test level. There aren't even any "imports" worth considering really (someone is bound to bring that up)

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

I am not sure how reliable these Swann rumours are, but he will certainly be the hardest to replace. England have had success, as long as they don't lose a lot of key players at once like Australia did they should be fine, their transition may have bumps but they won't be the only team going through transition in a few years, many teams right now are doing so.

Posted by milepost on (August 22, 2013, 21:43 GMT)

"Cook's team looked anything but Ashes winners as they were reduced to what appeared to be delaying tactics, much to the annoyance of a capacity crowd who had waited until 14:30 BST to see any play". Not exactly great entertainers are they. England need to respect the fans and the cap more.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (August 22, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

One name that isn't mentioned in your article is the solution to all of Englands future problens. Stand up Ravi Bopara. Opening middle order finisher extraordinaire. Fast Fast bowler able to bowl with new and old ball. Sometimes he doesn't even need a ball. Phenomenal fielder as well. Can field deep backward square leg and mid off at the same time.

Posted by GermanPlayer on (August 22, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

Slow down mate. This was not a peak into England's future. It is never like that. If that is so, shouldn't the SA team be the richest team at the moment in terms of future players? They had Abbott and De Lange debuting with 7 wickets each on debut. Yet the SA lost the CT in the absence of some senior players!

Posted by JG2704 on (August 22, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

The phrase "Knee Jerk Reaction" springs to mind here. We've not even seen England bat on this pitch yet

Obviously there could be a lean period and also you get late flourishers like Swann , guys who come from nowhere (SA , yes I know) like Trott and guys who never make the grade or don't totally fulfill their potential - Key,Peters,Napier , Solanki from yesteryear. I must admit though that Swann is the player I'd be most worried about being able to replace.

I wonder if there's another Knee Jerk piece somewhere here re the Lions thrashing equating that the 50 over format looks very bright.

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (August 22, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

P.S. With Tom Curran, Sam Hain, Matt Dunn, Shiv Thakor, Matt Fisher and Dom Sibley as well, England are laughing!

Posted by Kenny_2010 on (August 22, 2013, 21:24 GMT)

To judge these new players on two days of a single test match is premature. A few days back many people on these forums advocated Kerrigan's inclusion, and although it came as a surpirse, many are now writing him off before he has been truly given a chance.

It's a difficult situation in that England need to blood new players, but with back-toback Ashes series there is little oppertunity (outside on one day and T20 internationals) to experiment. Therefore I think this is the only oppertunity that was available. What would happen if Swann broke down in the first test in Australia? At least playing Kerrigan now gives him some exposure when the Ashes are already secure.

And as for Woakes, his first class stats back up the fact he deserves a chance at this level. If it doesn't work out, then it doens't work out. New players have to be tried and tested at some point and now seems as good a chance as any.

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (August 22, 2013, 21:24 GMT)

Anderson, Pietersen and Swann are three of the best England players at their respective roles for the last 25-30 years! It is like replacing McGrath, Ponting and Warne i.e. it won't happen. However, they have the following options:

Swing bowlers: Harris, Woakes, Bresnan and Barker.

Spin bowlers: Kerrigan, Briggs, Dockrell and Riley.

Pietersen replacement: Ballance, Taylor and Bairstow (Prior replacement too).

We replaced the so-called irreplaceable Vaughan, Trescothick, Stewart, Flintoff and Thorpe without too much trouble. The same will happen again!

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 21:12 GMT)

I really am getting the suspiscion that this Oval test match will be the last (in England) for Swann AND KP. I feel that after the Ashes series down under, both of these will be going off elsewhere. KP to the IPL, BBL, CPL, BPL etc and Swanny to wherever he will go. That will have a devastating effect on our prospects. However I personally think Briggs (whats happened to him) should have been included before Kerrigan. From what I've seen of the two, Briggs seems to be the better bowler. As for bench strength. We don't have it. There is no-one after the Broads, Andersons, and Swanns that are anywhere near as good. Taylor as well should be brought back into this side. Much better batsman than Bairstow and Woakes COMBINED. He will be a huge run scorer in the future.

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