Home > Features >

Ashes 2013-14: England need to ring in changes for Sydney Test keeping future in mind

Gary Ballance © Getty Images
Gary Ballance is likely to make his Test debut for England at Sydney in the final Ashes 2013-14 Test © Getty Images

By Shrikant Shankar

England have tried and tested many combinations during the ongoing Ashes 2013-14 series against Australia. Every time they have been thumped and now trail 0-4 in the series with the fifth and final Test to begin at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on January 3, 2014. All the main performers available from the previous three victorious Ashes campaigns were used and it has simply not clicked. England stare at an embarrassing 5-0 whitewash.

Irrespective of the fear of losing the fifth Test, England need to ring in the changes to their starting XI. They have to look at the future and start preparing from now. If the series was in the balance, then it was probably not necessary. But they have been completely outplayed in all the four Test matches so far. The psychological  scars could be deep and some of them would find it difficult to bounce back in this series.. Hence, they need to make the changes.

Leg-spinner Scott Borthwick and middle-order batsman Gary Ballance are likely to get their England debuts on January 3 at the SCG. There is even talk of tall fast bowler Boyd Rankin coming in. So, who will they replace? Borthwick is a very handy batsman lower down the order and he would probably replace left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. Captain Alastair Cook’s deteriorating lack of belief in Panesar during the Melbourne Test was evident. Panesar is neither a good batsman nor is he a good fielder. So, Borthwick might be included.

Ballance might come in for Michael Carberry. It is actually a little harsh that Carberry has to make way as he is England’s second highest run-scorer in the series. The major concern with the left-handed opener is that he is naturally an attacking batsman and has batted well within himself in the series. He has got starts in the first innings of all the four Tests so far, but his second innings contribution is as dire as anybody else in the England team.

Then there is Tim Bresnan, who was picked for the third and the fourth Tests. His selection was mainly due to his batting abilities in the lower-order as he is not the most lethal with the ball. But Bresnan has not done enough with the bat in the series and Mitchell Johnson has rattled him in the middle. So Rankin is the obvious candidate to replace him. While Rankin is not much help with the bat, he is a fast bowler and can unsettle the Australian batsmen with his pace and height.

Steven Finn is the other fast bowler who might be in the fray, but the England team management do not seem confident in his abilities. Finn was a part of the previous two Ashes triumphs for England, but he was more a passenger than a co-pilot. These changes might mean that Joe Root could go back to open with Cook and Ian Bell could get promoted to No 3. Whatever the changes, England have to perform. They have not stepped up in the series. They need to think about the future and start planning from now.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Dubai

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Australia England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes

Phil Hughes passes away: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray pay tribute

Sri Lanka v England, 2nd ODI at Colombo, Preview: Hosts look to continue domination over England

Phil Hughes passes away: Former England cricketers feels for Sean Abbott

Phil Hughes passes away: Sourav Ganguly expresses grief

Bengal announce 14-member squad for Col CK Nayudu tournament

Prakash Bhandari: The teenage prodigy BCCI could not capitalise on

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Kolkata is where Kolkata was

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Pele in good condition after transfer to special care unit

Bigg Boss 8: Is it fair for Bigg Boss to nominate Sonali Raut for slapping Ali Quli Mirza? Vote!

Passengers push plane as its brakes freeze in minus 52C temperatures in Russia: Watch Video

सुबह गुनगुना पानी पीने के छह फ़ायदे

सर्दी के दिनों में त्वचा को स्वस्थ रखने के कुछ सरल उपाय

Bigg Boss 8: Find out what did Ali Quli Mirza say about Sonali Raut!

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here