Andrew Flintoff claims it is and to be honest it’s hard to disagree. I do though believe the team of 2005 played better cricket in that series, they had to have done as they were playing a far superior side to the Indian one that England are currently playing.
Over the course of those 5 test matches in 2005, England dominated 3 of them and got thrashed in 1, with the honours shared at the Oval.
The team of 2005 played well above itself, in fact they played out of their skins in 4 of those 5 test matches. There was no way they were ever going to be able to maintain that level of performance over a sustained period of time.
The series was one of those momentous sporting occasions when a David raises his game and defeats the seemingly formidable Goliath, quite simply it was a one off. I think that was proved in 2006/7 in Australia when the bulk of those same players managed to loose the series 5 zip.
The crop of 2011 has now walloped Australia in Australia, beat Sri Lanka without any real scares and looks likely to inflict a series thrashing on the world no.1 team. This team has done it on a more consistent basis.
This team also has strength in depth in the bowling, unlike in 2005. When Simon Jones got injured in 2005 we all thought it would be ok, he’d be back soon and if he wasn’t it was only one of our bowlers and we could cope.
What we hadn’t reckoned on was the fact that Steve Harmison was already in terminal decline, the rest of Andrew Flintoff”s career would be blighted by injury. As would Michael Vaughan’s and Marcus Trescothick would succumb to depression.
Not only were these players good cricketers, they were also leaders of men and strong characters. We had no one with the cricketing talent or the stature to be able to replace these men.
The current side has plenty of strong characters in it also, like there was in 2005. In Strauss, Swann, Broad, Pietersen, Cook, Trott, Bresnan and even Ian Bell, we now have cricketers who won’t take a backwards step.
We now not only have a strong first choice seam bowling attack of Broad, Anderson and Tremlett (prior to the 2nd test it was anyway), but we also have a strong second choice of Bresnan, Finn and Onions to back it up.
Bresnan has the ability and is arguably a stronger character than any of the first choice attack. Finn is an up and coming bowler and Onions is a proven performer with an Ashes series victory already to his name. In 2005 we didn’t have any such luxuries lurking in the background.
I believe that the batting is slightly stronger now than it was in 2005, although like in 2005, there isn’t a massive amount of back up should someone get injured.
One department that the 2005 side had that is stronger than this current one is the captaincy. That is not meant as a criticism of Strauss who does a good job, it is a complement to Vaughan, who was an outstanding leader.
And on a final note, there is also a lot more youngsters coming through now than there was in 2005. Dare I say that England could be on the verge of maybe dominating test cricket for a few years to come?