Moving On

England's fate, and the reasons for it, has been analysed to death in the media over the past few days. Certain aspects of it are impossible to dispute (unless, of course, you're Duncan Fletcher or Andrew Flintoff), namely that England's preparation for the series was inadequate and the team's selection chronically flawed, especially for the first two Tests. Add to that the fact that they were without a number of their most important players from the 2005 series and were up against the world's best side, playing at home and desperate to beat them, and they were in trouble from the start.

While I've said here before that I think England would benefit from a change of coach, I also feel that it's important to keep their failings in perspective. They haven't suddenly become the world's worst team as a result of events in Australia and I expect them to do well this summer in their home Test series against West Indies and India. Also, with Warne and McGrath finally gone, it's inevitable that Australia will start to come back towards the chasing pack, and, providing England identify their failings and move on, building their side around players such as Bell, Cook and Panesar, there's every prospect of a close series in England in 2009. However, if they go on pretending that they couldn't have done any more, they've got no chance.

What I'm less sure about, in the short term, is the panicky re-appointment of Michael Vaughan as captain for the forthcoming one-day series, something which is covered very well by Andrew Miller on Cricinfo.

Miller quotes David Graveney as saying that, while mistakes had been made, the appointment of Flintoff as captain wasn't one of them. In which case, why remove him in the middle of the tour and replace him with someone who has a mediocre record in one-day international cricket anyway, and whose fitness, because of his complete lack of exposure to top-level cricket over recent months, must remain under intense scrutiny? A few games for the England Academy and MCC (with hardly any runs to speak of) bear about as much relation to an ODI series against Australia and New Zealand as one of my village games does to a County Championship match.

It could all end in tears.

I hope it doesn't.

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