England have now failed to win a home Ashes series for the first time in 18 years. Something clearly needs to change. Throughout the four Tests, England looked at least four batsmen short of even an average Test batting lineup, and their best bowlers were blunted by Smith’s annoyingly effective technique.
England’s reaction to failures in the past has been both incremental (changing only one player at a time even if several underperformed) and arbitrary (dropping a player whose face doesn’t fit rather than someone who did less well). As this series has proven, this flawed incrementalism has not worked.
With Bayliss leaving next week, now is the ideal time to make wholesale changes to what is currently a very poor team. If England don’t have a competitive Test side by the time they visit South Africa in December, they may well have to kiss any chance of success in the new Test Championship goodbye. So here is my reasoning, player-by player, for why no one should keep their place in the side:
Rory Burns – Why not start with the most controversial? He averages 40.37 in this Ashes (although just 28.86 in all Tests), and so has almost certainly assured his place in the side for the next year. The question the ECB really need to answer is who will be his partner. The quickest way to find another opener would be to try two candidates at the same time in a few games and picking the best one.
There is an argument that England should field their strongest team, which would certainly include Burns at the moment, for the final Test. England can still draw the series and gain some Test Championship points, after all. I would argue, if the Test Championship is made a priority like the World Cup was four years ago, that this is the perfect opportunity to try new things in the team. Because the same number of points are divided up for each series, regardless of the number of Tests, a further loss at The Oval (Where you can only win or lose almost half the points available if it was a game in a three Test series) will have little impact on the league table. The next two Tests in New Zealand are not part of the Championship at all. This is, I would argue, the perfect time to try some new players in the team.
Joe Denly – This is perhaps a bit harsh, having just scored a valiant 53 in a losing cause, but he isn’t going to be England’s opener for the next two years of the Test Championship. He has demonstrated some application in the last two games, which is more than many others can say, but it feels to me like we’ve seen him reaching his potential in Test cricket and it still isn’t good enough.
Joe Root – The England captain’s batting average in 2019 is 28.56, which is perhaps good enough for England (he’s the third-highest runscorer this year behind Stokes and Burns), but far below what he is capable of. He has been on the England treadmill for the last five years, playing a key part in the Test and ODI sides, not to mention the burden of captaincy. All of which might suggest that he is burned out, and in need of a rest. Hopefully that is the case, and his poor performances aren’t the result of something more serious, and harder to solve.
Jason Roy – Played 5 Tests. Batting average of 18.70. I was honestly surprised it was that high.
Ben Stokes – England’s player of the series (and summer), but reportedly carrying an injury. Given his importance to the team, I don’t think England should risk him for the relatively meaningless next few games. Anderson’s series-ending injury in the first Test of this series shows the folly of playing a talismanic player when they aren’t fully fit. It would be better for England’s chances in the Test Championship if he comes into the South Africa series this winter without any lingering health issues, and well-rested.
Jos Buttler – Averages 22.00 with the bat in 2019. As a specialist batsman. Enough said, really.
Although I will add that Jos is an unbelievable T20 batsman. We have all seen what has happened to England’s best Test batsmen when they’ve attempted to adapt to ODI and T20 batting. Cook, Root and Bairstow’s Test batting techniques all seemed to suffer as a result of incorporating a more aggressive style. I worry with Buttler that the opposite might also be true, that batting in Tests might blunt his awesome power hitting.
Jonny Bairstow – Averaging 20.56 in 2019. Also not as good a wicketkeeper as Ben Foakes.
Craig Overton – 2 wickets at an average of 53.50 in his first game after a recall is hardly a ringing endorsement. Nor is his career Test bowling average (from only four games) of 44.77. George Dobell, who has probably seen quite a few Somerset games, actually rates his brother Jamie as the bowler more likely to succeed for England. Despite having the better first-class bowling average of the two, Craig might not even be the best bowler in his family (as Jimmy Ormond might say).
Jofra Archer – Whenever the ECB stumble upon a quality bowler, they typically have one of two responses. First, they seek to improve them by tinkering. This doesn’t seem to have worked once in the past few years, but they try anyway. The second thing they do is to grind any promising Test bowler into dust by overbowling them. This is clearly what is happening to Archer right now. Despite being the quickest bowler available to England, and only playing three Tests, Archer is only behind Broad (who has played four Tests) in terms of overs bowled in this series. He desparately needs time off, before England turn him into just another fast-medium bowler.
Stuart Broad – 33 years old, and has bowled by far the most overs of any English bowlers in this series. Without a rest, and soon, this story only ends one way…
Jack Leach – Perhaps the hardest player to drop of the XI. A series bowling average of 30.37 is pretty good for a spinner in England, although an economy rate of 3.29 per over is probably a touch higher than he’d be happy with. Crucially, there aren’t a lot of players who could take his place. Rashid is injured, Moeen has only played one first-class game since been dropped, and the rest haven’t consistently shown the ability to step up to Test cricket. Not to mention, Leach’s batting has been quite useful for a tail ender. I have to admit, I may have made a mistake dropping all eleven. He can stay.
Any thoughts about who you’d pick for the final Test, or on any other subject, are welcome below.
Good arguments for all the players there. I don’t totally agree though. I would still love England to win the last test and at least draw the series, denying the Aussies a first win here since 2001.
The other issue is who comes in. There’s a couple of batsmen on the county scene worth trying but probably not enough to drop the whole lot.
The Archer point is an interesting one. If he does play at the Oval (likely I would have thought) I’d definitely be asking him to take a month off after. Before Stokes miracle at Headingly I would have advocated resting him for the Old Trafford test.
What’s the worst that could happen? A bunch of county batsmen come in and fail to reach 50? That’s already happening with the experienced Test batsmen. Even if only one of the five or six new batsmen claims a long-term spot, that’s still an improvement over picking the same side again and not finding anything better.
Taking it a little more seriously:
Drop anyone who isn’t clearly working out how to prosper in Test cricket. Exceptions made for those with deeply unfair circumstances.
Bye Bairstow – you’re still getting bowled through the gate, you’re still too impulsive a batsman, and you’re still a mediocre keeper.
Bye Jos – I love me some gimlet-eyed total destruction, but we don’t get that from you in Tests. Instead we just get a really mediocre batsman who doesn’t even score that quickly.
Bye Jason – It wasn’t fair to throw you in there and that’s a shame, but you don’t have the attitude or the technique for Test cricket and you likely never will.
Bye Root as Captain – Look, I know you’re meant to be really tough and that, but face it: you’re awful at this. And it’s hurting your batting. Give it up, son. Before someone takes it off you.
Bye Overton – I don’t know why you were there to begin with, but at one point you were bowling mid-70s and I cannot see a world in which this was a good idea. You bowled a couple of a good balls and the rest was anodyne, unthreatening nonsense.
I would actually keep Denly. For now. He can have a middle order spot, because (and I know Dobell will not agree with that) it looks like he’s actually trying to find a method that works at this level, he has the temperament for Test cricket, and he knows his own game. We’ll need some of that where we’re going. Burns is similar (but better).
So… we’re starting to look like a squad containing these:
Stokes, Burns, Root, Denly, Broad, Archer, Leach, Curran, Woakes
with injury returns for some of Anderson, Stone, Wood (all bowlers…)
Which leaves us a few batsmen short. Popular opinion is Sibley and Pope should be given chances. I always liked Sam Robson’s grit. But the selectors should be trying to find county players with the technique and mental approach to succeed at Test cricket. I know this is supposed to be Andy Flower’s job but he’s done a shit job (please go away, Andy) so you can’t just rely on him. I’m thinking of someone like Dan Lawrence, whose recent form might not be brilliant but is clearly cut from Test cloth.
And stop promoting limited overs players to the Test team.
Oh – Foakes as the obvious choice for keeper.
Dropping Andy Flower might be the most important drop.
Is he still in the ECB setup? I thought he left for T20 coaching a while back.
I missed this article at the time, but according to it, he’s still England Lions coach.
Lots in there to laugh at. I wonder if KP has played that round of golf with Strauss.
“Sky were not just incredibly generous in sharing it with free-to-air television but showed great foresight and wisdom. They have been outstanding partners for English cricket.”
Ever on message. They’re indivisible, aren’t they?
For me I’d drop Bairstow from wicket keeping and give him the next two tests at number 3. I think he has the ability but should not be allowed to hide behind the gloves. (I actually think the South African wickets might suit him) Foakes to come in. Buttler and Roy to go. To be replaced by those whop have been spoken of already on here. I am not sure Overton is up to the standard from what we have seen. I’d rather have Curran in there who seems to make things happen. (That said I still think Curran is a yard short of the pace needed at Test level)
Meanwhile. Selvey. Intimating that Ed ain’t all at fault.
Who not to blame…
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He never, ever falls short of expectation.
His previous tweet is even better, with its usual air of “those in the know” and “cards being marked”. Nice of him to exonerate the governing body WHICH INTERVIEWED HIM FOR SMITH’S JOB to complete the hat-trick.
Clear as day he means Root. If it isn’t, and it’s Bairstow instead, nice to know he has authority’s back.
He’s not in the game now. He can spit it out. Clear.
Love the ambiguity.
Obviously Ed is being undermined. By the ECB who insist on “attractive, exciting” cricket (as per Harrison) rather than competent cricket, what the fans are yearning for.
Sneaky little sequel:
Oh, so Selvey finally comes out against a clique dressing room. Only six years to late.
(although to be fair, if he means Bairstow’s intranisgence then I’m fully on board, as he strikes me as a sulky, over-indulged individual offering almost nothing to justify his continued automatic selection in Tests)
The team can tell him he’s not keeper. They did in Sri Lanka.
…although they couldn’t stick to it!
I think Selvey raises an interesting point here–how much is Smith really picking what he thinks is the best England team, and how much is he picking the team that fits into the strategy that the team management and/or the ECB wants (attacking cricket, bums on seats, characters to identify with, etc)?
And, in any case, the system is so broken in terms of producing Test players that these may well be the best that England have, with relatively few exceptions (Foakes, Pope, hopefully Sibley). But as for dropping everyone–and I know you were joking Danny, but a lot of people BTL seem to be seriously talking about dropping four or five of the top seven–I remain unconvinced that Northeast/Bracey/Robson/Lyth/Hain/Stoneman would have done any better.
I am not joking.
England will host the Test Championship final in two year’s time. If they attach the same importance to that as they did hosting the Cricket World Cup, they will have to do everything possible to ensure they finish in the top 2 Test teams. To that end, they need at least three new batsmen (if Root and Bairstow regain their form) and the ability to rest and rotate their bowlers to keep them all at their best.
If England follow this series with a poor winter, they will be out of contention with a year left to go. The best way to avoid that is by using the next three, fairly meaningless, Tests to fill the roster to add both strength and depth to it.
As for the other candidates, they would do better. Stoneman, for example, was actually fairly good at not getting out early. His problem was that he never went on to make a big score, and so his average suffered. A top order of Stoneman, Burns and another batsman with a solid technique would get England past the new ball more often than not.
Afghanistan have done it, with 20 balls –and 224 runs!–to spare and rain already falling…
I haven’t written anything since the miracle of Leeds. Mainly because I suspected that it was a one off, and normal service would be resumed quite soon after. Like Dmitri I didn’t watch any of the last two days of that test match because I decided after 67 all out I had had quite enough of abject failure. Instead I spent the Saturday/Sunday in the garden. I don’t regret missing it live at all because my love of English cricket is disappearing over the horizon. As usual the media loyalists reacted with the usual “greatest ever” narrative before confidently predicting the momentum of the series had now changed.
I thought on that Sunday night after hearing what had happened that it would only really mean something if Australia went home without the Ashes. England turned up at Manchester, supposedly fired up by the miracle, and promptly bowled poorly, dropped catches, and then failed to score 400 in a first innings on a decent pitch yet AGAIN!! The final result was inevitable.
The lie that the ECB take Test cricket seriously is now exposed, and the truth is now clearly seen. You can say you value test cricket a million times, but if you effectively spray agent orange all over the nursery that grows your crop of future talent you will have nothing but scorched earth.
This site as documented the complete failure of those that run English cricket over the last six years, and has been ridiculed by the so called experts as a result. Harrison must no longer be allowed to claim he values test cricket. No, he and the ECB values money. This test series was stuck on the end of a World Cup summer as a purely money making exercise. Dam it all, Australia are coming back again next year to help fill the ECB coffers. Next year Harrison and his cronies will launch yet another new shorter format of the game, cheered on by grinning snake oil salesmen in the media who earn a living ramming their noses up the ECBs backside.
The ECB are a joke, with a collection of oddballs, spivs, and jobs for the boys types on huge salaries. The are protected by clueless county chairman who are the first turkeys to ever vote for Christmas. They deserve what is coming to them. And protected from the public by the worst sporting media in the world.
Then we come to one of the ECBs oddball characters, namely the chief selector. Crack pot selections of a top order against a very good fast bowling attack was folly. A luxury batsman at 7 sometimes 8. He took a gamble on a bowling attack carrying injures and it failed. He went for high risk, high glory, and it backfired.
The ECBs policy of picking captains for their image rather than their substance to captain has also been laid bare. But seeing as they have destroyed county cricket, and no player in the England set up plays much country cricket, what do you expect? What county captains could now come in? The days of Brearley, Gower, Gatting, Gooch who actually did the job on a regular basis is gone. Now we select on right type of family or school or who the sponsors like. (And so called journalists take this seriously)
Nothing will change because the ECB have leaned they are bombproof. Sacking their best player, forcing out numerous batsman because their face didn’t fit, (on the spurious grounds they were too slow at scoring) has been cheered on by the feckless media. Heavy away defeats have been laughed off as long as they retained the Ashes at home. Now they don’t even have that fig leaf to hide behind.
It’s getting worse folks, and it will get more dire as they push this 16.4 on us next year. They are laughing at us….£100/£150 Test ticket prices to watch daft batting selections, and injured bowlers. Force through new dumbed down formats for a new audience, county cricket reduced to April/May and September. Anyone who goes on paying for this madness deserves what they get. Well, I won’t be paying for it anymore…. either at the ground or through the TV. It’s time for England cricket fans to starve the beast. Cut off funds until there is major reform. I’m out folks, and I’m off tho cancel my Sky subscription.
I’ve just cancelled my Sky sub. Be prepared for endless phone calls, texts, emails, even post, begging you to change your mind!
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Presented without comment:
No I couldn’t resist:
Apparently England missed him terribly. Obviously I understand the point. But the fact remains: the last hundred he scored in a live Test was the double v WI in 2017. He played 16 more Tests thereafter, in which he made two dead rubber tons and two fifties (one of which was in his last Test, a fairytale dead rubber) and no other score over 46. He scored 83 runs in six innings while the 17/18 Ashes were live. 109 in 7 innings while the India series was live. Rory Burns has one more home Ashes century than Cook does.
And none of this would rankle if the media bothered looking beneath the fairytale ending. If preventing a whitewash and turning up only for the glorious valediction was the summit of expectations in those two marquee series, then well done, he cleared the bar. But it almost seems to cause these people physical pain simply to admit that those performances were nowhere near typical of late Cook. The same people who loved splitting other players’ careers into distinct phases.
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I read this too. I am also saying nothing…..
Well there are some comments in that from Cook, which definitely have echoes of/are in the style of his thoughts when he was sacked, right before the 2015 World Cup. There’s a word to describe them, I’m sure…..
Cook grins again. “Most people get the terrible phone call saying you’re dropped, and never playing again, which takes a long time to get over. The fact that I went out on my own terms, with an ending like that, made it so special.
Whatever that word may be, it isn’t self-awareness. Or empathy.
I also liked:
Preparing for what proved his final Test innings, in 2014, Robson seemed transfixed as he watched a montage of his previous dismissals on television. “It wasn’t his fault,” Cook says. “The TV was on, we’re waiting to bat and he saw himself get out again and again. Unfortunately he was out the same way and hasn’t played since. It would be interesting to ask Sam what he remembers of his Test career [with an average of 30.54 after seven caps] and how he would change it.
I’m sure it helped Sam enormously that everyone ignored his hundred but later jizzed themselves numb over his partner’s 95.
I hope you all enjoyed the anniversary of Cook’s final innings. I for one think it should be a new national holiday, but instead we’d probably have to settle for the day off to celebrate his birth.
A couple of quick things.
I’m not commenting on the knighthoods. I don’t particularly care. I don’t have time to get uptight about something that is arbitrary, influenced by all sorts of personal prejudices in the giving out of the gongs, and doesn’t matter a jot to me. I could make a political observation that instead of the usual suspects hanging the country’s ills on a convenient bastard, they should perhaps have focused on the act that has fallen foul of the prorogation of Parliament, or is that not sexy enough? Strauss was nailed on for a knighthood once England won the World Cup, and while the charity work is really laudable, it’s made a lot easier if your friends can set aside a day at Lord’s for fundraising (an opportunity many charities would give their eye teeth for). Not so many mentions of Boycott and rebel tourists to Apartheid South Africa….
So no. No comments on knighthoods.
Bayliss going is greeted with a shrug. Seems this World Cup winning coach got elbowed aside for the credit by Eoin, Stokes, Strauss and the ECB. His test performance has been meh, so that’s held against him too. There’s more to discuss, and no doubt we might get around to it in the two month gap between England test matches.
No. I don’t care how Australia celebrated. They could have got out a ten metre strip of sandpaper and sacrificed David Warner to the Devil God Conn, and while it would have been an interesting spectacle, it matters not a jot. We aren’t, and never should be, copying Malcolm Conn.
I can also confirm Danny is a real person.
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And I’m loving the Rage-In for KP’s comments on Leach.
The only mildly stupid thing in this article is the 8 at 30 comment, which isn’t bad. But he’s not bowled England to a test match win, and he’s also been a figure of fun in way KP probably doesn’t understand, to be perfectly honest. I could be exceptionally charitable and say maybe he sees something of the treatment of Monty Panesar in there.
But you’d rather project your rage on a loudmouth than address the real issues, that really isn’t my problem. You rather get out of this article what you want – and yes, I include myself in that. Maybe you loathers should too.
“Danny is a real person”? Fake news.
Now it is reported that the team won’t change anything for the Oval.
Prediction: Broad and Archer will protect themselves as they should.
Archer and Broad should bowl off-spin.
I was running through this in my head earlier. Weirdly I don’t think that England have XI players drastically worse than the XI who Australia have turned out – and yet (in spite of it ‘only’ being 1-2) – there is absolutely miles between the two sides. The luckiest result by far was England’s solitary victory – really this could and should be 3-0 by now.
Who has done well?
Root – NO
Bairstow – NO
Buttler – NO
Denly – NO
Roy – NO
Woakes – NO *
Anderson – NO *
Overton – NO
Ali – NO
Leach – Maybe
Archer – Maybe *
Burns – Yes
Stokes – Yes *
Broad – Yes
Coaches – NO
Selectors – NO
Captain – NO
Why haven’t heads rolled already for this? Who is collectively responsible for picking Roy and Denly, Buttler at 7, Bairstow again and again and again? Anderson, Woakes and Archer whilst injured, putting their careers on the line? How much longer does Stokes’ body have left in him?
* potentially mitigated by being picked whilst injured/clearly knackered.
My usual way of thinking is this: If one player’s bad, it’s the player’s fault. If all the players are bad, it’s the coaching. I guess we’ll see in New Zealand if there’s any improvement, because it seems unlikely that there will be a wholesale change in terms of the squad.
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16 wickets at under 20 in your first 3 Tests is a damn sight better than “maybe”! He has 3 fewer wickets than Broad (averaging 26.6) in 2 fewer innings, and Broad’s been magnificent. Archer’s also been going at 2.73 an over, with the next best being Overton at 3.16. What more do you want from the kid?
Some have said it already, but the insanity of picking bowlers who are clearly injured or burnt out (Archer, Stokes) for a dead rubber is not how you get your team back in the running.
Sir Geoffrey (as he now is)said that in Joffra they had a “diamond” and they need to take care of him, to do anything else would be “stupid”
Watch this space…..
So, of course, they drop nobody.
The word of the day is ‘sinecure’.
What a sickening spectacle the ECB has become.
When central contracts came in, there was too much chopping and changing. And Nasser amd Fletcher gave players more time to succeed. But the balance has gone way to far the other way with players being given a carpet ride of luxury if their face fits.
Some of these players never get dropped, even when they are injured. Cook was even allowed to name his own retirement date. If he had chosen to go on till he was forty there would have been many who would have been happy with it.
The England Test cricket team is one of the most overpaid international sports teams (relative to other nations pay) in world sport. Their performance vs money invested is dire.
Actually, it is a cost-cutting exercise. If players gather a certain amount of points (I don’t know the exact formula), they have a right to a central / incremental contract. So if you reduce the number of players who qualify for such contracts, you reduce costs. Harrison has to be paid one way or the other, after all.
That may also explain why Harrison is quite desperate to have the ODI side overlap heavily with those for the other formats.
As for being overpaid? Yes. For the amount of money Joe Root gets, South Africa pretty much pay all their central contracts. And it is probably not too different for Pakistan.
I’m unconvinced by the argument that Bairstow will improve as a batsman if he is removed from WK duties. I believe that he has only averaged somewhere around 30 in tests over the last three years.
His sense of entitlement isn’t backed up by his performance over an extended period of time. Even were he to improve sans WK duties we all saw what damage entitled gits did in the dressing room during the Cook years. Drop him.
Archer disturbingly seems to be exhibiting some traits of FIGJAM as well. Best to rein that in before it becomes entrenched.
The appearance of Archer really has thrown a stone into the pond, producing some wild over reactions. Probably partly because he’s a cool West Indian dude, so England think they have their very own Gale, and partly because outright fast bowlers are not so common in England.
Who was that guy England had in 2006, Saj Mahmood? Because Fletcher decided speed was needed. He was fact but wildly inaccurate, and they’ve had a few like that since. Australia also enjoyed uncontrolled pace from MJ for a while, and accordingly lost the ashes. It’s not all about speed. Styen is the perfect example of speed allied with control, that’s what works.
You’d think England would have learnt not to get too excited until a debutant has a few matches under his belt before calling him the new saviour. They have a new saviour about once a year. They were even going on about his batting, when in fact he bats like a true No 11.
FIGJAM? Maybe, he certainly doesn’t lack in confidence. But young tyo’s are like that, better than lacking confidence. Like lots who break through young, we’ll see how he handles the whole circus that surrounds being an international athlete.
I’m not totally convinced about people’s concerns for his workload. I think there was one match, probably the first, where Root wouldn’t let him rest, but aside from that his workload hasn’t seemed excessive. I can understand skepticism about the way ECB may manage him, but I don’t think they’ve damaged him already in three tests. Based on my admittedly intermittent observations of the series.
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In the three games he’s played, he’s taken the most wickets of the England bowlers with the lowest average and economy, so it’s not like he hasn’t lived up to the hype as a Test debutant. The worry about his health is also not without justification. It seems like he was injected with pain killers so that he could return more quickly from the side strain which kept him out of the first Test. But even generally, over the years England captains have had a tendency to overbowl their best-performing bowlers, causing injuries and shortening careers. They and their coaches seem totally unable to consider the medium and long-term damage they are doing to the team in pursuit of very short-term goals.
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How are England managing this “sense of entitlement”. It drives me spare that this could even be a thing. What does Bairstow have that gives him the right to effectively veto decisions made about his role? Is he that key to team spirit. And we are not just hearing this as rumours. Bairstow lost the gloves in Sri Lanka, got all uppity when he got a ton batting at 3 on that tour last year, and got the gloves back. Jonny isn’t being kept around for his keeping, and if the runs and centuries dry up, we have other options.
As for Archer, he’s young, enthusiastic and plays a role. I’m not digging him out after three tests, in which, yet again the utter morons masquerading as our media went massively OTT before he has a track record. He is a precious asset who can bowl fast. Real fast. But not even the greats could bowl real fast all the time. Lest we forget, in that innings where he took 6 wickets, for the first couple of hours the cognoscenti were telling us he was knackered and was being bowled into the ground, and look what we’ve done…..
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So I watched the first four episodes of the Sky KP documentary last night – it was very well made and a good watch, and at least there was a tilt towards impartiality, as they gave Pietersen plenty of chance to speak and you also heard from Michael Carberry and Piers Morgan who are in the ‘pro’ camp.
But a few points that I noticed:
– In the text-gate bit they used Neil Manthorpe as the ‘impartial’ commentator to talk about how the South Africans saw it. Now I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears Andy Flower introduce Neil Manthorpe to another ECB coach as ‘a very good friend of mine’ at Lords last year. So perhaps he is not as impartial as it seemed.
– They used lots of Graeme Swann’s quotes in the Australia 2013-14 episode which made me think two things: firstly, Swann is a massive bellend. That out of the way, the story that Swann tells now (‘he was a nightmare and we threw him out of the team’) is *definitely* not what he said at the time. Just check this article out: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/jan/26/graeme-swann-england-kevin-pietersen I don’t know why Nasser didn’t take him up on this. (Well, I can guess, but anyway…)
For what it’s worth, I come down somewhere in the middle on this debate – clearly KP was an incredibly provocative person who did wind the management up. BUT, he was clearly mismanaged by a team who had no desire to get the best out of players who didn’t fit their mould and were also happy for the more unsavoury aspects of the dressing room culture to continue and grow. I consider Jonathan Trott’s book to be the definitive guide to England in this era – partly because Trott comes down in the middle of the debate – friends with KP and also friends with Cook – but also because it features interviews with many of the key personnel (both Flower and KP, for example) which often look at the same incidents from differing views.
The Sky doc *almost* achieved that, but not quite, IMHO.
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Oh, and Michael Vaughan can just do one. He is to rational thought what Howard Shipman was to patient care.
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They threw out their best player. A dressing room threw out their best player because they didn’t like him. The ECB can now pretend KP was a one off (a nightmare as Swann called him.) but the reality is the munchkins kicked out their best player.
Once the muppets can run the asylum, and throw out thier best player anybody who does not fit in can be removed. Which is exactly what happened with certain other players who didn’t conform to a dressing room group think.
As to Shinmy toy he is now out there telling people that we need top order players who can bat time. Yet when Compton was being sacked he joined the Harrison bandwagon that England must play an attactive, aggressive form of test cricket. The hypocrisy is stunning.
There is a group think inside the England dressing room that does not deal with anybody who doesn’t agree with the conventional wisdom.
In hindsight, when Flower and Strauss wouldn’t let KP go to play IPL around 2010/2011, he should have turned down his ECB central contract, and gone and played IPL anyway……Then dared them not to pick him for the test team. If they had dropped him England would not have won in India, and they would have been marmalised by SA. All the bitterness would not have happened, KP would have taken the high ground, and England and the muppets would have lost more test matches which would have shown up badly on Strauss and Flower. They would have looked stubborn and selfish.
Easy with hindsight, but there you go.
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