This is the 2015 World Cup all over again – a horrible tour of Australia which must bring about change
On that occasion, seven years ago, the one-day team produced a series of timid performances and were knocked out in the group stages.
It saw a reset button pressed for white ball cricket in England, a more attacking approach and a journey to winning the next tournament on home soil four years later. It worked.
Now, the same thing has to happen for the Test team. A disastrous Ashes tour has to be the catalyst for putting the ultimate format first.
We simply can’t be putting more emphasis on the Hundred than a hundred.
Wind back to 2015 and Peter Moores was discarded as coach, but Eoin Morgan remained as captain. Now, Chris Silverwood is likely to go as coach, maybe even through his own choice. But, if he wants to, Joe Root must remain as Test skipper.
The ECB hierarchy have to give him all the tools he needs to turn England into the world’s number one side again.
There has to be a better structure to the county summer, with Championship cricket given the royal treatment and not marginalised to April and September.
There also has to be more exposure in that competition for England’s best players.
Indian Premier League participation cannot be favoured over early summer Test Matches when there is a clash.
Let’s face it, Root has been captaining with one hand tied behind his back. You could forgive him for saying ‘I’ve had enough’. But, fingers crossed, he won’t.
He may have made mistakes as skipper, including being party to resting Jimmy Anderson for the most important match of the series – the first Test at Brisbane. And he will accept those mistakes.
But he is the obvious choice to lead England’s rebuild. He is our best Test player alongside Anderson and a good captain who can still be a great one given some help from above.
If not Root, who else? There is no one else. Not yet anyway. Sam Billings looks like captaincy material. He led Kent to the Vitality Blast title last summer, though he has only just debuted in Tests. Let him establish himself in the team first.
A Knight to the rescue!
There is little time to feel glum, however. For there is another chance to stick it to the Aussies on the horizon.
Step forward England’s women, who start their multi-format Ashes series in Adelaide this week. Heather Knight’s troops are aiming to reclaim the Ashes they last held in early 2014 and have every chance.
They have claimed impressive series wins over West Indies, New Zealand twice and India over the last two years and are confident of success in Australia.
Here at Freebets.com, we will be publishing a series preview in the next couple of days.
T20 action comes thick and fast
The next couple of weeks are absolutely chock-a-block with action.
England’s men start a T20I series in the West Indies this weekend – none of the Test players are involved.
Going back to the importance of Test cricket versus limited overs, the chances are you won’t remember the result of that series in two years even if England were to win 5-0. But you won’t forget 4-0 in the Ashes in a hurry!
Ok, ok, you may remember if you win a few quid. We are here to help, of course. The series and each game will be previewed.
Then there is the plethora of global domestic T20 action from the start of the Pakistan Super League to the conclusion of the Big Bash in Australia and New Zealand’s Super Smash.
We will be offering a pre-tournament preview for the PSL and covering knockout stage matches individually next month. For the Big Bash and Super Smash, we will be previewing the final stage fixtures.
It has been some effort from Cricket Australia to keep the BBL show on the road given the issues they have suffered with Coronavirus.
That competition looks wide open as we head into the final fortnight.
Perth Scorchers are clearly flying, but it would take a brave person to rule the two Sydney sides, Sixers and Thunder, out. If the Sixers triumph, it would be their third title in a row. The threepeat!
Five teams qualify for the finals, four of which are already secured – Perth, the two Sydney sides and Adelaide Strikers.
Hobart Hurricanes sit in fifth on 24 points from 12 games, with Melbourne Stars on 22 from 13. Hobart have two games remaining to Melbourne’s one. A maximum of four points are on offer for a win.
The Stars are going to need a favour from their Melbourne rivals, the Renegades, who face the Hurricanes tomorrow. If the ‘Gades’ win that, it sets up a blockbuster winner takes all clash between the Stars and Hurricanes at the MCG on Wednesday.
With bet365, Perth are a short-priced 11/8 to win the BBL, while the Stars are 50/1. If the Stars were to sneak through, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them going all the way.
The finals series starts on Friday morning.
The Super Smash, meanwhile, has provided us with a number of wow moments already.
Trent Boult’s final ball six to win a match for Northern Brave against Canterbury when they were nine down and Michael Bracewell’s stunning 141 to help Wellington chase 228 against Central Stags having been 43-5 are two which spring to mind.
Keep your eyes peeled for previews of finals games from the Land of the Long White Cloud.