Can England replicate in Tests what they did in ODIs? © Getty Images
Can England replicate in Tests what they did in ODIs against New Zealand? © Getty Images

As the Ashes 2015 comes closer, there have been multiple indicators that England’s mindset in regards to the series is shaky. Rishad D’Souza marks out some obvious signs of this nervousness.

1. Calls for ‘sledging-free’ Ashes: James Anderson and Stuart Broad have expressed their desire for The Ashes 2015 to be played in the ‘right spirit’ and have called for an absence of sledging. They have cited the recently-concluded series against New Zealand to be the benchmark in terms of on-field behaviour. However, no such calls were made prior to the 2013 Ashes series, even though that series was also preceded by a New Zealand series, played by a similar-looking kiwi side to the 2015 one. So what causes the change now? Possibly the English new ball duo are not very confident of England’s chances this time around. ALSO READ: Ashes 2015 without sledging will lack flavour

2. Spain ‘bonding’ camp: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) sent the core of the English Ashes team on a ‘bonding camp’ to Spain. Apparently, the core purpose of the camp is to let English players bond amongst themselves and with their newly appointed coach Trevor Bayliss. There is no arguing that the measures taken by England to enable team coherence may yield positive results. Nevertheless, the fact that they needed such measures is another indication of slight under-preparedness.

3. England players maintaining low profile: England’s players have been mostly discreet in build up to the Ashes. The only real statement of intent has come from likely-Ashes-debutant Mark Wood when he said he would bounce out Shane Watson. Alastair Cook, the English captain, has himself declared that England will go into the series as ‘underdogs’ since Australia are ‘the best side in the world.’ Conversely, the Aussies have been more aggressive and flamboyant in their media statements. ALSO READ: Mitchell Johnson warns England of menacing bouncers in Ashes 2015

4.) Low-key social media activity: While Australia’s official social media handles are teeming with news pieces and articles about The Ashes and their chances of winning it, England’s social media handle are posting relatively less about the series. There is a marked difference in tonality as well, with Australia sounding aggressive and confident, while England are being relatively passive. Read: Ashes 2015: Australia will need Mitchells to fire to retain urn in England after 14 years

The English Test team’s shakiness is understandable, given recent circumstances. Following the success of the One-Day International (ODI) team against a dominant New Zealand side, expectations will be high for the Test team as well. To add to that, most England fans consider The Ashes as the most exciting series of the year; this puts the team under further scrutiny. In order to win, England will have to find a fix to their feeble mindset soon in order to counter an aggressive Australia.

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)