TThe boos that echoed around the Oval in 1999 were replaced by laughter at Edgbaston yesterday, when the last ground of an unfortunate England batting performance fell at 10.59am. Trent Boult spent the first dance of the day by Olly Stone, kissed the edge of a shy bat, and the few thousand who had taken their seats instinctively chose ironic joy over misery. If you don’t laugh, you will cry.
This was not the end of a test match that was already well established en route to New Zealand’s first series win in England in 22 years; which came an hour later, when Tom Latham cut the winning runs down to third man to knock down a paltry 38 target. But it was still a reflection of where England stands today and, in terms of volume, only matched by the announcement. shortly after the handshakes, just 11 cricket overs meant a full refund for ticket holders.
Those present on the third day, when England dropped to 122-by-nine to see the co-named Fortaleza violated for a second consecutive Test, probably felt a bit let down by the hitting. But at least, along with the flowing beer, they were able to drink a full day of this great New Zealand side. Tourists made six changes from Lord’s, some forced and some with the World Trials Championship final next Friday in mind, however, along with clear methods and sticky hands, they have shown a collective depth and purpose of the kind. England is currently lacking.
The last time England lost a series at home, a 1-0 loss to Sri Lanka in 2014, backlash hit Alastair Cook’s captaincy, injuries that carried over from the 5-0 loss in Australia and the sacking of Kevin Pietersen. , in addition to the belief that some of those who are left of the old guard may need to retire. This time around, the concern is a broader sense that beyond long-standing problems with domestic programming, England has been too smart in the middle with test cricket of late. They speak of recovering the ashes later this year, but their actions say otherwise.
After all, Joe Root has captained eight events in 2021 and never had access to his full range of players. The captain attributed this to the effects of the pandemic and it is true that there have been logistical complications. And it may well be that, despite New Zealand’s dwarfing resources, its best XI is still a bit behind tourists. But it would have been nice and more instructive to find out. Instead we have Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, all participating in the T20 Blast this week, three of whom are paid handsomely to play test cricket.
Chris Silverwood pointed to the return of Buttler and the injured Ben Stokes for the visit to India as cause for optimism, and it could be that the experienced Dawid Malan can also shore up the hitting after bleeding too many rookies at the same time. But then Buttler’s case also sums up part of the problem here, a first-team cricketer in all three England teams who, during the first half of the year, has been absent from the test side five times to benefit the T20. team.
Rest is necessary in today’s climate and few dispute it. The question is when it happens. It is understandable that the T20 World Cup is one of the top two goals of the year, given England’s clear pedigree, but did Buttler really have to miss three rounds in India to play a five-match T20i series at the end of that tour? After all, he’s already a white-ball star, an IPL veteran, and fully up to speed with subcontinental conditions. It is surely test cricket that you need.
And when Ben Foakes put on a sock and broke his hamstring last month, couldn’t Buttler, who had already retired early from IPL duties, been asked to return with the promise that his break would you move to the white ball window in mid-summer? Perhaps, just as Boult came out early to stake his claim on New Zealand’s WTC final plans, he could have forced trouble. Sam Billings did. Either way, James Bracey would have saved a debut series by hitting four spots down from his usual spot for Gloucestershire while simultaneously exposed with gloves.
The fact is that England’s T20 side, while still in need of some tweaking ahead of the main event, is well ahead of the test side in terms of its development and yet continues to nurture itself at its expense. And before the visit to India, there is up to two rounds of county championship cricket for players like Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley to work on technical glitches that have left hitting sages baffled by their idiosyncratic methods of batting. primary school. Otherwise, it’s a matter of trying to remove the cape from the white balls of the Blast and the Hundred.
Rory Burns’ form has been encouraging to say the least, while select bowlers have wholeheartedly turned away on flat pitches for hitters, only to find their feet-up time fleeting. But without Stokes, England dare not choose a spinner, Jack Leach, who hits in the bottom three. In a parallel universe, Moeen could have balanced this team at No. 7, but two years of mismanagement (six if you include the time when they didn’t notice this full-format SUV might need respite periods) have left him. feeling adrift.
The past week has also been set against a gloomy backdrop caused by serious historical misjudgment on social media by people and the results have yet to materialize. Introspection is necessary in more than one area, therefore there are no quick fixes. Actions that match the stated ambitions would be a start.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism