• Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne

Same old England?

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

Yesterday’s squad announcement for Friday’s test match at Old Trafford highlighted the lack of progress England are actually making under Trevor Bayliss. Now that the honey moon period is over and Bayliss’ slight re-shuffle of the batting order has been exposed the little change it really was.

To those that argue that Bayliss has brought success to England I would ask you to really look at the teams that England have played. Australia were reeling from the retirement of the pace attack that terrorized England in 2013/14. Failed to win in the UAE, albeit one wicket away, and beat a South African side that is struggling to replace the likes of Graeme Smith, Jacque Kallis and Mark Boucher.

This year England have faced a Sri Lanka side who have no business being in here in May and now we face a Pakistan side on the rise, the first challenge for Bayliss. But with the first test approaching at Lords surely England’s checkered history would prompt Bayliss to think outside the box?

Traditionally Lord’s pitches have been hell for bowlers. Despite the hill that alters the path of the ball not many bowlers have had a huge amount of success here, at lest not consistently. In the past five years, only four English bowlers have taken five wickets in an innings, with only Broad and Anderson achieving the feat twice. So in 20 innings an Englishman has only taken five wickets six times which places huge strain on the batting order.

That is the exact area in which England are weakest. Despite Bairstow’s recent form, the line up does reply heavily on the captain and vice-captain towards the top of the order. So selection needs to be right and a new batsman needs to be found. For me, Vince needs to go and Ballance was a bad selection. Ballance’s return may have been welcome after his success in the early stage of his career but Vince has had his chance against an underwhelming Sri Lankan attack.

So with the batting line up shaky the bowlers need to take 20 wickets in a match and take them cheaply. But the bowling line up is very predictable, England will nearly always play 3 seamers, 1 spinner and an all rounder. But in a venue that offers little pace, why not take advantage of the slope with an extra spinner? Rashid has done nothing but impress in the county game and was part of the England team that got to the final of the T20 world cup.

Although sending an extra spinner to player who are used to slow bowling may seem futile in my book it is still a better sign of intent than sending out an extra seamer who will have little to no influence on the game.

Now Rashid has been selected but England are already one – nil down in the series and the days of England waiting to make a change do not seem to be over. Just like in Flower’s reign, a win is a win regardless of the failings, it is only when England lose that the team is actually looked at.

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