Friday, January 26, 2007

Aussies Rule!

England's Poor Run Continues

Up just in time this morning to see the news that the England cricket team have crashed to another embarrassing defeat in Australia. Aussies are revelling in it!

The latest fiasco was, perhaps, the worst of all. After a week where the Australian coach baited the English for not giving his boys enough of a contest and Freddie Flintoff and his players sounded all the right noises in reply, the result was especially disappointing – if predictable.

Bottom line. Aussie's are running rings around us.

Why? Simple. They have better players.

England should not give up hope. Just about everything that could go wrong on this tour has. Sometimes life is like that! What's important is how you deal with it.

One thing that should worry the England management is the number and severity of injuries we are picking up. Injuries are part of the game, but England seem to be getting more than most. This could, of course, just be the luck of the draw, or it could point to a lack of preparation and mismanagement.

The introduction of central contracts should mean that our elite players are fitter, more rested and more committed than ever. This is not happening. Why?

Some players are under pressure to declare themselves fit when they clearly are not. Michael Vaughan is he classic example. The team need him so badly, he is under a lot of pressure to play. Such is his influence on the team, he should be rested now that the one-day series is well and truly lost. He should not play again until the English summer. But, resting players seems to be a modern mantra. So many of the English squad are or have been resting it's sometimes difficult to see where they will get eleven out on the field! With central contracts the elite players should be playing almost every game. If they cannot; they are, by definition, not elite players! Their just injury-prone. This needs sorting out – now!

Simon Jones and Ashley Giles are long-term injuries and need to be truly fit – instead of just declaring themselves fit. Jones is essential. Giles expendable.

The loss of Petersen was a body blow. At his best, he is a match winner in one-dayers. Without him the lower order has been exposed for what they are. Ordinary. Collingwood is unconvincing in what is supposed to be his speciality – one day cricket. Strauss is having a nightmare. He has suffered enough ill-luck in the form of bad umpiring decisions to last a life time. Combined with the loss of Trescothick this has meant that England are always chasing the game.

Against the Ausssies – that is usually a recipe for disaster. So, it has proven.

Bowlers win matches, but the current crop have never had any runs to play with; therefore, it is unfair to blame them over much. Still, they have, to a man, looked very ordinary.

Fletcher is past his sell-by date. He should go gracefully. A new coach is needed to take the players to an acceptable level.

England must hang in there until most of the current crop of Aussie world-beaters retire. That's the bottom line. Don't look for much respite in the up-coming World Cup. It's very unlikely.

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