Time for Sweeping Changes to Re-energise Abysmal England

Posted: Friday, January 3, 2014 by Laura in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

England's latest Ashes calamity in Melbourne means the time has come for wholesale changes to be made to an ageing side that has simply had its day.

England headed into the current five-game series full of confidence that they could again successfully defend the Ashes they won on home soil against what was thought to be just an average Australia side supposedly with plenty of problems. But how wrong has that prediction been made to look?

It has been a completely one-sided series so far with England's camp being affected by injury (Stuart Broad), withdrawals (Jonathan Trott), an unexpected retirement (Graeme Swann), wretched form with both the bat and ball and some questionable selection and captaining issues.

All of these things have combined to leave the tourists staring at a totally-unexpected 5-0 whitewash in the Aussies favour and many Ashes pundits now are suggesting it is time to break up a team that has enjoyed significant success over the past decade.

All good things come to an end and it appears for a good chunk of what has been rightly a celebrated England side, it's now the end of the line - or it will be after the final Sydney Test.

Some will say that is a harsh judgement but so bad have all aspects of Andy Flower's side's performances been down under that only a rigorous examination of what has gone wrong preceding big changes is what's now required for England to rise again - and that may mean Flower himself is also given the axe.

The coach has said he will review his position at the end of the failed series and the murmurs are that he will either decide to quit or, more likely, be shown the door with England needing a new direction under a new leader. 

Flower has been brilliant for the country but sometimes freshening things up is what is required and there is a case to be made that, under Flower, he and the squad have now become stale.

Then there's the question of Cook. Undoubtedly, on his day, he is an excellent batsman but he appears too weighed down with captaining the side to perform at his best. There should still be a place for him in the side moving forward provided he regains his form, but it might be time to relieve him of the skipper's role to concentrate on his own game instead. 

Stuart Broad would be seen as the ideal candidate by cricket fans while Trott, if he recovers from illness, could also step up. Cook's tactical ability has been rightly questioned and found wanting in Australia while several well-placed pundits suggest he is not a man able to inspire and lead others when the going gets tough in the heat of an Ashes battle.

Both Flower and Cook have indicated, at the minute at least, that they do want to stay on in their key roles but their defiant stance may change if Australia do indeed go on to inflict an embarrassing 5-0 whitewash.

Sadly for the likes of Michael Carberry, a woefully out-of-form Matt Prior and even the wildly unpredictable Kevin Pietersen they may too be told their international careers are over with the ECB instead deciding to build a new side around the promising Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes.

Whatever the ramifications end up being following the dismal tour, changes aplenty are needed to revive an England side that has so badly and so quickly lost its way.

Image by Peter Meade.