Another bad week for English cricket, with another humiliating defeat, and plenty of internal squabbling.
Last week we seen Darren Gough and Alec Stewart criticising England ODI captain Eoin Morgan for his decision to stay at the IPL, rather than captain England against Ireland in the up coming One Day International, with Gough in particular very stinging in his outburst.
That was followed by England’s poor display in losing the 3rd Test to West Indies, which was then followed by Alastair Cook taking a veiled swipe at incoming ECB boss, Colin Graves, by claiming he did the Windies team talk for them, by calling them mediocre.
All in all, it’s another series of embarrassing episodes, and makes English cricket look a laughing stock.
Starting with Eoin Morgan, and I can see why he’s stayed out at the IPL. We do enough moaning about our players not getting experience in the top competitions, and learning from the world’s top players. Then when we have one doing just that, he get’s criticised for not coming home to play an ODI against Ireland.
Then again, he is currently the England captain, so shouldn’t he be there? It’s a tough one really, and I can see both sides of the argument, so I wouldn’t criticise Morgan myself.
Then in Barbados we have the latest calamity to hit the England team and Peter Moores. Losing one Test match away in West Indies probably shouldn’t be too heavily condemned under normal circumstances, but this is against what is practically the West Indian reserve side.
What Colin Graves said about this West Indies team probably wasn’t wise, but I do believe it was true. And while Alastair Cook was slightly critical of Graves, it did smack of him making excuses for a poor showing.
Jonathan Trott and now Moeen Ali are coming in for a lot of criticism in the wake of the defeat, with Ian Botham having a pop in particular at Moeen Ali.
I do find this criticism rather annoying. Moeen isn’t even a front line county spinner, so how on earth can he be expected to be England’s front line Test spin bowling option? He is a batsman and a second spinner, and would be a bloody good second spinner to have in the team. He has also just been rushed back from injury, so I think a lot of the criticism is harsh in my view.
Onto Jonathan Trott, and in defence of the bloke, he isn’t an opener by trade. That said, I still don’t think I would have recalled him. Anybody with half a brain cell can see what is going to happen this summer, both cricket wise and verbally. Is he really going to be able to cope with all what Australia will throw at him?
If I was going to be critical of England, I would be training my guns on the negative team selections and Stuart Broad’s performances with the bat. When you have got Ben Stokes, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad in the team, why not select a luxury bowler?
Adel Rashid, Mark Wood or Liam Plunkett could have been given a spot in the side. There is no need to have three up and down bowlers alongside Jimmy Anderson, why not go for raw pace, or extra spin?
The negative selections are frustrating, we seem to be going back to this plan to bat all the way up the order again. Which brings me to my next moan, Stuart Broad. We are trying to strengthen the batting, and then we pick Stuart Broad, who looks totally lost with the bat.
Along with Jonathan Trott, this is another disaster waiting to happen when Australia arrive. Broad has to sort this out, as he will get battered by Australia. He is also not a good enough bowler to get picked for bowling alone. At least with Chris Jordan, you have a similar bowler, who can bat, and is a world class slip fielder to spin bowling.
At the moment, I don’t believe Broad is offering the team enough.
There have been some good signs. Joe Root is in excellent form, Ben Stokes is getting an extended run in the test team at last, and if Chris Jordan can become a proper Test bowler, England will have an excellent slip fielder to spin bowling – that’s assuming they can find a spinner.
England’s next match is against Ireland on Friday 8th May, in Malahide, Ireland. England go into the match as favourites, but with a skeleton side, battered morale, and taking the first steps in a so-called rebuilding process, it would take a brave punter to get into them at odds of 4/11 with Paddy Power (there are more Paddy Power offers for new customers options available).
The Irish currently have a settled, well disciplined 50 Over side, and in fairness are probably in a far better place than England currently are. They have lost Phil Simmons to West Indies, but in appointing John Bracewell, they have a more than adequate replacement as coach. Ireland are currently a best price of 23/20 with 888Sport.