10 February 2009

English media play the blame game after humiliating defeat

As far as embarrassing defeats go, England’s loss in Jamaica to the West Indies last week was right up there. Andrew Strauss’ men were blown away in their second innings for just 51 and this has led to many members of the English media bringing up the dreaded ‘crisis’ word.

The defeat followed a month of great controversy surrounding the England team, with Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores stepping down from their respective roles as captain and coach. With this in mind, it wasn’t the best time to be getting hammered by a team below you in the world rankings.

Where has the blame been placed though? Who is responsible for England’s recent demise? Well, many cricket pundits and former players have been having their say….

One time England spinner Robert Croft believes that the players were ‘too matey’ with their West Indian opponents. He says that there was a lot of ‘smiling and chatting’ between the two teams and that this doesn’t help the teams cause.

Former England captain Graham Gooch has also been critical of the team, by saying that they have ‘no direction’ and that they are ‘standing still’ without progressing forward in the slightest. In terms of blame, Gooch feels that the distraction of the Indian Premier League has played its part.

Elsewhere, BBC Sport’s Robbo Robson says that there is a ‘chummy clique where you have to know the password to get in’ and believes that far too much faith has been shown to the likes of Ian Bell and Monty Panesar, both of whom should be dropped.

Finally, one of the most significant voices in English cricket - Jonathan Agnew - says that that Bell ‘must be dropped’ to show that the batsmen’s places are not fireproof.

In terms of these opinions, the one that I agree with the most is Graham Gooch. Where is the direction? Where is this team going? Where are the youngsters? Are we going to sit and wait for the likes of Strauss, Collingwood, Pietersen and Harmison to retire at the same time and then change the whole team?

Before the test match, I was relatively positive about the team’s chances against the West Indies and so were the cricket odds. However, there was always a chance that they could self destruct - much like they have done. If the performance in Jamacia isn’t enough to suggest it is time for change, I don’t know what is.

Given the fact that Owais Shah is the only batting cover though, not too much can be changed in the rest of this tour. However, let’s freshen it up a bit. This is the team I would choose to face West Indies in the second test on Friday:

Andrew Strauss, Alistair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Owais Shah, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Graham Swann, Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom.

This means that there is no place for Bell, Harmison or Panesar. It also means that Pietersen will be batting at three. It is worth a go though, because there is no way it can get any worse. Hopefully.

By Thomas Rooney - a sports writer who blogs about cricket betting for Betfair - check them out for the latest cheltenham odds


John said...

Why are more bowlers being dropped (by you) for what was a clear failure of the batting?

straight point said...

john...apparently for reason that if they can get us out at 51 why not you... :)

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