England men’s Test cricket – not looking good
I am a sports lover, especially cricket, and have, ever since I was a young teenager, supported and followed England’s men’s Test cricket teams. When, in later life, I wished for an England team I can call truly great (who could beat all comers home and away, under all sorts of conditions, and do so over a period of three years), despite some good sides, my hopes were never fully realised, even though I have seen great Australian and West Indies sides. Following the defeat in the series in West Indies against an ordinary side, after defeats in a series in Australia (comprehensively) and, before that, home against India and New Zealand and, before that, against India, in India, it is clear we are a long way from that hope being realised.
We now have a two-month break before England play again; this time at home against New Zealand. I cannot see this downhill spiral being reversed by then, despite hoping it will be. No doubt, there will be soul searching where it matters as what to do in order to improve, including changes in personnel: management, coach, captain, players and the national game structure, but as of now I am not too hopeful and it is a matter of watch this space. No doubt, people will have their ideas of what went wrong and have come out with them but, as with the Aussie defeat, the best thing I can say is that it was not so much we aren’t good enough but the England mindset is not right. Of course, some decisions might be questioned, such as not taking our two best bowlers, Broad and Anderson, but saying what went wrong exactly is beyond me. As is usually the case, there were positives, including among the debutants, and we had the better of the first two drawn tests on lifeless, rain affected pitches. But to inexplicably capitulate batting wise in both innings in the third test, along with some unconvincing bowling, something great sides do not do (if one player fails there was always another player who could step up to the plate) was disappointing to put it mildly. I continue to hope but, as for greatness, it may be after I’m gone!