THE JON LEWIS COLUMN: Who saw that Ashes series coming?
5:30am Thursday 9th January 2014 in Sport
WELL, I’m not sure many of us saw that Ashes whitewash coming.
Australia played fantastically well and their bowlers bowled brilliantly. They came over in the summer and picked out quite a lot of weaknesses in our batsmen, put some plans together and they’ve really executed them.
The addition of Mitchell Johnson, with his extra pace, was an extra difference between the two teams from the summer and in home conditions the batsmen are much more comfortable playing.
It’s something I didn’t think England would be as bad at adapting to as they were. Like most people I thought they would go over there and play well against them.
The lack of resilience or the ability to stop the rot and win the critical points was notable. Australia won every single one of them. Your top players have got to stand up and do the job and unfortunately they didn’t.
In every five-day game there’s a point where one team can win and the other can win and whoever wins that point goes on to control the game. Australia controlled the games from after the first day in Brisbane.
England have had chances but they haven’t been able to convert, with ball and with bat.
The next Test is on June 12, I think they’ve got a Twenty20 World Cup before then. What would I do? I’d make them all play county cricket up until June 12. I’d have them all back playing county cricket and playing as much first class cricket as possible.
From that I’d pick my best XI to play in the first Test based on their early season performances in the County Championship.
There’s been a lot of speculation regarding the respective futures of England coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook.
Flower is a really fine coach. He’s won three Ashes series and a Twenty20 World Cup so you can’t really doubt his qualities as a coach.
The one thing I would say is if he continues to coach the same players and sends the same message then it can get a little bit stale.
If you look at Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, the way he did it was always regenerating his team which is what they’re talking about now.
I think that’s what they will do.
I really like Cook. He’s a top man but he’s come under a lot of scrutiny and criticism for the way he’s captained, especially from the likes of Shane Warne. He’s got to learn and adapt and I think they will keep him as captain because he’s a very strong leader and a very good person.
One series doesn’t make him a bad captain so I’d keep him as well and I would back them both to regenerate and get a new team together.
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