All entries for Tuesday 10 February 2009

February 10, 2009

Who is to blame for England’s humiliating defeat?

As embarrassing test match defeats go, the recent one suffered by England ranks extremely high. At no stage were England on top of the West Indies in Jamaica and this culminated in a batting performance that the majority of village pub team’s would have been ashamed of.

England were dismissed for just 51 in Andrew Strauss’ first official game as skipper as they lost by an innings and 23 runs to a team below them in the world rankings. It will go down as a dark day in the history of English cricket and rightly so.

As with anytime there is a poor performance from any England team, the blame has been placed on a number of people. Everyone is having their say on why the team capitulated so drastically as the overall opinion seems to be that it was more than a poor batting display.

So, where is the blame being directed? Let’s take a look…..

Kevin Pietersen - Inevitably, KP is going to take some stick. The way in which he handled his resignation, gave his opinions on the coaching staff and unsettled the dressing room may well have played its part.

The IPL auction - The timing of this wasn’t great. On the third day of the test match - the day before the dreadful batting performance - it was announced that Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff became the most expensive players in the Indian Premier League as they were brought for $1.55m each. A welcome distraction? I think not.

Alistair Cook, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood - Let’s be honest. Not one of these three players have shined with the bat in recent months. In fact, the overwhelming loyalty shown to them could have contributed to all this. Do they think they are untouchable?

The lack of leadership - With the lack of a first team coach, Andy Flower is the most senior man in the set-up. Considering he was on Pietersen’s hit list along with Moores, is he really respected by the England team? Compare his influence to that of Duncan Fletcher in the past and it is going to be minimal.

I could probably go down a lot more avenues in terms of why it happened, but the main reasons have been covered. Things aren’t well in the England camp right now and the second innings in Jamaica confirmed it. My suggestion that England are in better shape than Australia (see last weeks blog) may well have been wide of the mark!

This is sport though and things can change very quickly. The cricket odds will be expecting England to make a few changes for the next test that starts in Antigua on Friday and the critics will be demanding a response. Things, quite simply, have to improve. Otherwise, it is crisis time. Not ideal in an Ashes year.

In terms of cricket betting, West Indies are now overwhelming favourites to win the series. Hopefully Strauss men will prefer the underdogs tag!

By Thomas Rooney - A sports writer who blogs about England cricket

February 2009

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