A Mess

In an interview on Radio Five Live here in Britain the other day Geoff Boycott was asked whether England were simply an under-prepared side or a genuinely poor one.

He opted for the former, but, with another heavy defeat under their belt, I'm far from sure that the latter isn't the case.

New Zealand must be given full credit for their win; they played throughout with a togetherness, intensity and clarity of purpose which England never matched and their relatively unheralded seam bowlers, Kyle Mills and Chris Martin, drove a stake through England's hearts on the final day.

But, with the exception of their catching, England currently look a mess. Strauss is back in the side for no apparent reason and with no apparent form; Pietersen seems to have retreated into a self-imposed shell within which he finds a range of ways of getting out; the occupant of the wicket-keeping position remains uncertain. Turning to the bowlers, with the exception of Sidebottom and Panesar, they look unprepared, as they seem to do for almost every tour they go on. This is particularly true of Harmison, whose range of mental frailties don't help, but Matthew Hoggard, normally so reliable, looked thoroughly under-cooked in Hamilton.

It's deeply depressing to see England, so vibrant and successful between 2003 and 2005, sliding back towards the bad old days, but, with every series defeat, that's what they're doing.

And, until they start being given proper preparation at the beginning of tours and until one or two people start to realise that they need to both respect their opponents properly and strike a balance between circumspection and forthrightness, that's what they'll continue to do.


Rob said...

What is particularly odd about England's slide is that it is, more or less, the same side as 2005. The people who failed the most were present in the 2005 Ashes team.


Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks for the comment, Rob. Very true, but at least three of the main players from 2005 who are no longer around - Trescothick, Simon Jones and Flintoff - were very significant components of the side. Ashley Giles and Geraint Jones are less of a worry, but if you throw in the form issues of Strauss, Harmison, and, currently, Hoggard, you have a much diminished team.

I like the look of your blog by the way (I hadn't seen it before) and I'll be linking this one to it.

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