Road To The Ashes: No need to panic!
After announcing that certain players would be rested, England were always going to face huge scrutiny if they lost in India and, more recently, to New Zealand and that is exactly what has happened.
Of course, this isn’t the time to panic as we have players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran ready to return to Test cricket this summer. However, momentum is massive and England really need to start finding some soon.
Defeat to New Zealand was disappointing, not just because England lost their very proud record of being unbeaten in a series at home since 2014, but the manner in which it happened.
We need to give New Zealand the credit they deserve as they were disciplined and confident. Sadly England were neither of those. If it wasn’t for a day of rain at Lords in the first Test, they could have easily won the series 2-nil.
However, looking ahead, this could be the best possible result for England moving forward.
Yes, we have been crying out for someone at the top of the order who others can bat around, but sadly Dom Sibley isn’t the man for that. The man for that is Rory Burns. He has proved he has got what it takes to grind out an innings under pressure and was one of few positives from the New Zealand series.
Since his 200 last summer, Zac Crawley has looked out of sorts but England should definitely stick with him. There was glimpses of his quality in the second innings at Edgbaston although he only scored 17.
The No.3 spot for England is something that needs sorting very quickly. Looking back, England should have probably stuck with James Vince but now is the time for Dawid Malan. He was one of our best batsman in Australia last time and should be given that role for the rest of the summer.
The New Zealand series told us something else, there is no balance to the team without Ben Stokes. Having Stokes at number five and a fourth seamer frees up a place for a proper spinner, although we still, after all this time, don’t have a high-class spin option. Jack Leach is probably the best, yet England seem to like someone who can bat which means Dom Bess is still getting selected. If that is the case, they need to go back to Moeen Ali who can bat at number eight, although his record in Australia is pretty average.
Ollie Pope looks class… for twenty. He’s another that England will stick with and he’ll hopefully score big this summer. It does seem to be just a matter of time until that happens.
England’s bowling wasn’t the issue against New Zealand. Yes their lengths could have been slightly better but overall it was actually very good. It also proved that Mark Wood has to play every game for England.
So with The Ashes in mind, what should England do? For us there is no need to panic but now is the time to stop the team rotation and start winning some games before heading to Australia.
Our team for the first India Test match would be.