Home > Features >

England camp is a joyless and soulless place to be in?

England camp is a joyless and soulless place to be in?
England lost the Ashes 2013-14 to Australia by 0-5 © Getty Images

Pace bowling coach Ian Pont looks at what went wrong for England as they suffered a whitewash in Australia. Pont analyses the squad selection, team selection, the tactics employed by the England think tank and also suggests what the fallout from such a thrashing could be.

They say that two things smell stale after a few weeks: Fish, and friends who overstayed their welcome.

There is something a little stale about the England team at the moment that suggests a few may have passed their allotted time at the top. This staleness comes off the back of a complete 5-0 mauling by a rejuvenated and refreshed Australian side on their home turf.

It was a depressing sight to witness as batsman after batsman failed to show the same determination to occupy the crease as they had talked about to the media. It was seemingly just a whistle for Mitchell Johnson that had the English batsmen starting to crumble. Completely undone by pace, the Englishmen succumbed to a combination of aggression, perseverance and control they themselves could only dream about. Even the usually tame spin of Nathan Lyon created issues for the mentally shot England batting line up.

The bowlers didn’t fare much better either. The giant Steven Finn never got a match, instead becoming the world’s largest drinks carrier alongside Chris Tremlett, who we may never see again playing for, such was his poor bowling. Boyd Rankin could scarcely have been more of a shadow of himself if he had tried. The bowling unit England had so brazenly flagged as an attack to tame the Aussies on their own bouncy pitches, failed to turn up. James Anderson lost his swing, Stuart Broad lost much of his fire, Tim Bresnan, who for me shouldn’t have even been on the tour, just plodded away with little effect. Graeme Swann called it a day halfway through and left his team mates to it. Monty Panesar was not backed by Alastair Cook who would rather turn to Joe Root for spin. Scott Borthwick bowled like he had wandered out on to the wrong pitch from a local grade match up the road.

Matt Prior forgot how to bat and keep wickets. Jonny Bairstow, not even close to being the best wicketkeeper in county cricket, showed why he isn’t an international cricketer at Test level.

The initial squad that omitted Graham Onions and Nick Compton was wrong. The match selections were wrong. Batting line-ups became disjointed. Bowling plans (aiming at fifth stump instead at off stump) were wrong. The atmosphere in the camp appeared to be one of a team bereft of thinking for themselves, and instead was playing to team orders.

And so, by the end of the Ashes, what we saw was just really the ashes of a team that had been described by some in 2013 as one of the greatest in English history. They were about to leave a legacy, but little did we know quite how poor that legacy would be. Only Ben Stokes and Gary Ballance came out of the trip with a sign that they might have what it takes to succeed at this level regularly.

Cook’s captaincy was poor — sadly. When he doesn’t score runs he seems to suffer as a captain. England needs Cook to score runs — heavily. Kevin Pietersen disappeared into his shell as he is now trying desperately to conform to team ethics and standards. Jonathan Trott’s loss was huge and untimely. This must have been well known to the management, though so questions will be raised about this at review. The Michael Carberry experiment must surely be over. Root was the best option and ended up in the position Carberry should have occupied in the middle-order.

After such a debacle, it would be usual for those in charge — Andy Flower, Cook, Graham Gooch, David Saker and Richard Halsall to collectively expect a battering from the media. Whether any choose to fall on their own sword is a personal issue, but clearly there is much wrong with how England has gone about their cricket.

Many observers say the England camp is a joyless and soulless place to be. That’s a shame if true because cricket needs both joy and soul to have passion. When a job is just a job and ceases to be a pleasure, then it’s often time to change. That change might be the way things are done or who does them. But it certainly involves a huge top down review so no one kids themselves again that they are doing a great job when they are not.

We all have a shelf life. We all have a sell by date. And just like fish, we can start to stink the place out. Only time will tell if the stench of staleness can be truly eradicated.

(Ian Pont is a former English player who played for Norttinghamshire and Essex. Early on in his coaching career he chose to specialise in pace bowling and it is his work of coaching speed into bowlers whilst improving accuracy that is hailed a breakthrough for developing long-term bowling attacks. His first book The Fast Bowler’s Bible is used by coaches and players at all levels all over the world as a blueprint. His second book Coaching Youth Cricket is recommended reading by the English & Wales Cricket Board. His latest publication, Ultimate Pace Secrets, reveals how speed is generated. Pont was Bangladesh’s bowling coach from September 2010 till the 2011 World Cup. The above article has been sourced with permission from PakPassion.Net)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Shoaib Malik’s bowling action under scrutiny

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Security plan in place for Lankan players

ICC World Cup 2015: Australia launches ‘Match Australia’ to promote tourism, trade and investment

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4 at Dubai

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test Day 4 at Dubai

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here