Boycott almost right!
Australia sealed only the third 5-0 whitewash in the Ashes' 130-year history on Sunday, winning the fifth test in Sydney by 281 runs with more than two days to spare. In a sporting sense the generic English supporter is used to huge disappointment but this debacle rated as the biggest shambles in this writer’s lifetime! Daily Telegraph columnist and former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott called it "one of the most depressing and humiliating days for English cricket" and The Racing Horse believes that Boycott's assessment is somewhere between correct and understated!
The 5-0 clean sweep emulated only two other Australian triumphs in the Ashes
Sunday was the sixth time in 10 innings this series that England had failed to make 200 runs. It was the first ever five-match test series where every England wicket was taken. England tried out 17 different players; Australia kept the same line-up throughout. Those statistics only told part of the story – this Australian team is an ordinary bunch compared to previous years. The 5-0 clean sweep emulated only two other Australian triumphs in the Ashes — Warwick Armstrong's 1920-21 team and that of Ricky Ponting in 2006-07.
Coach Andy Flower says England’s 5-0 loss to Australia in the Ashes cricket series may be the end of an era and there will be more pain before the team again experiences sustained success. The usage of the word ‘may’ would hurt those supporters who travelled to watch them and those of us at home who watched every ball. They must rebuild now. Flower told a news conference on Monday he will not be quitting but he should! It was his complacency that feathered those rancid performances. He believes Mr Negative (Alastair Cook) is still the right man to lead the Test team. He quotes previous results as if they hinged on his astuteness and expertise – they did not. They were achieved in spite on his involvement and in a most mediocre era.
Flower says he is prepared to make the hard decisions necessary to allow England to rebuild after the series mauling. He would not discuss the cases of individual players but his promise of a fresh start has been interpreted as suggesting the positions of some senior players, notably Kevin Pietersen, may be under threat. That would not be the best place to start, the best place to start is to rid poor management and strategy, all mediocrity within the side and those with a poor win ethic or fitness issues! Our guess is that by the time they got to Pietersen most of the others would have gone first!
Cook takes full responsibility but...
One of our problems is that England captain Alastair Cook took full responsibility for the defeat but wants to remain in charge. Can you imagine a captain grounding his ship, waiting for a new one to be built under the same name and then captain it again. He said: “There's anger in me and frustration because for whatever reason we haven't played very well, and the buck stops with me.” Once again he uses the phrase ‘for whatever reason’ as if it was some non-tangible thing. He never talked about negativity or leadership. He never talked about inspiration, confidence or team selection, he never talked about field placements, he never talked about bottle. He never talked about his own batting performances. He continued: “I am desperate to try and turn it around. I feel as if I am the right man to do it.” If he really is angry and frustrated and if he truly is desperate to turn things around why did he not do that after the first Test or the second? Why did he not do it after the third or fourth? When exactly does he intend to turn things round and make good his words? Ye Gods, English cricket fans deserve better...
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