Have you laughed since Sydney exams? I once almost laughed when I heard Donald Trump call himself a “genius,” but it was more of a mockery. I’m afraid the rain cloud is still hanging firmly over my head.
We’ve broken down the wider causes of England’s ashes surrender deaths, so now it’s time to focus on individual players. England lost because we didn’t have real pace and quality spin – the ECB has to be held accountable for that – so we couldn’t fight fire with fire.
Australia’s attack was excellent, with their batsmen scoring high against our gunpowder ‘cannons’. It will always be like this. If our old hitters had run bigger, the result could have been closer, but it always ended up being abandoned.
It doesn’t take Trump to know that England need bowlers who can perform in all conditions if we are to progress as a team. We also need batsmen with the grit, skill and technique to play against fast-paced bowling and the pace needed to deal with high-value spinners.
With that in mind, we took a look at England’s Ashes and asked “stick” or “twist”? I don’t care that we have a home series against India this summer. Now it is time to fight the protracted war. We have games against New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka next year (as well as a series against India at home), so now is the perfect time to bring in new players and breathe new life into the Test squad.
Alastair Cook – Ashe rated 4 out of 10
Sorry to be a smart guy, but Cook’s series confirmed what I’ve always thought about Alastair. If conditions are favorable and his skills aren’t tested, he’ll keep hitting until the cows come home. But when he faces top bowlers, he’s usually exposed.
Some might say that Alastair is going downhill, but I disagree. He’s the same player, he’s always been. The only difference is that more and more people now realize that his iron rod is actually made of a slightly more breathable material.
While some may give Cook a low score for passing just one 40 in nine attempts, I’m relatively kind because it was his double hundred — albeit done on a featherbed, Because Starc is missing and Cummins is sick – this saves the series whitewashing ahead of yet another disgrace.
So I’m glad Alastair is staying on the team for now – just because there’s no obvious candidate to replace him. Also, being able to achieve large tonnage under favorable conditions remains a useful skill. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cook continues to improve his career numbers over the next 12 months by hitting lots of relatively easy runs.
Mark Stoneman — 3/10
He looks good for some tests, doesn’t he? Yes, of course he has. Compared with his opening partners in Brisbane and Adelaide, Stoneman looked composed, compact and far more capable. However, things went a bit awry after Mark was shot in the head in Perth. The Australian Pacemen smelled blood and hit him with his jaw. It soon became apparent that Stoneman’s hands were always in the wrong position when he hit the short ball. As a result, his performance plummeted.
There are two ways of looking at Stoneman. Either you think he’s shown enough potential to warrant a second chance, or you shrug him off and put him in the same group as Robson, Leith and Jennings — who all earned numbers early in their Test careers A hundred dollars, but it was found out quickly. My hunch is that Stoneman might just be another Lyth and Robson…but without the early hundred to buy him more time. At 30 (he turns 31 next summer) is he really worth it?
James Vince 3/10
We could have written this report before the series. Everyone knows he looks like a million bucks at times, but ends up being a disappointment and frustration. This is James Vince.
Jim, Gus and Mick must be the only people in the world who think Vince’s place in the England team is justified. Despite his prodigious talent, the fact that his average age in top-flight cricket is only 38 should give them a clue.
If Vince’s problems were more technical than psychological, I’d be more than willing to give him another try. However, since he’s turning 27 soon and has always been the same player, I suspect he’ll never change.
Joe Root 6/10
Average over 40 and look for our best hitters from miles around. That’s what we expect from Joe. He is a class. However, this penchant for throwing away ticket gates like used condoms needs to stop. If he’s going to be as good as Steve Smith — who undoubtedly has as much, if not more, talent — then he really needs to start turning more of his 50s into 100s.
Joe’s captain wasn’t great at times, but I’m glad England made it to the end. That tells me the locker room respects him and works hard for him. I think we just have to get used to his occasional “quirks” in the field. After all, he’s learning to be a captain on the job (it’s not really his fault).
I personally think Joe will develop into a good captain and leader over time. A note on Ricky Ponting: Root might look a bit like a schoolboy, but at least he doesn’t look like Jimmy Grumpy chewing wasps.
Verdict: Stock (as hitter and captain).
David Malan – 7/10
Our family, Dawid, has been in the election for nine years, and finally tried it, and it’s not bad! where is he? Known as a white ball master, he actually has a perfect Test Cri temper