Pretty crazy how many of these we've had recently. India in England, India in Australia, England in UAE, Australia in India and now England in Australia.
****ing depressing knowing Flower is going to stay on, it makes me angry listening to the bull**** he has been spouting recently.
If people think things will sort themselves out under the current regime then they have their heads in the sand, can see it already in this thread with ****e like that 'end of story' post.
You can look at every aspect of this tour - the attitude of the players, the fact England arrived as favourites, the 82-page menu - and it all paints a picture of a team which has become far too insular.
That was illustrated when I put a question to captain Alastair Cook.
I asked whether the opinions of those outside of the team - those who have played cricket all their lives and have watched the game for years - were worth seeking, and he said no. He said essentially it was for those within the team to work out what has gone wrong. That is a worry to me and shows there is no real awareness of what is happening outside the team's bubble.
Agnew to Cook, astonishing answer there.
Agnew is having his cake and eating it. He praised that comment as concentration and desire to win four Ashes in a row when it was made.
He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, but when he bowls at the stumps, he makes England look ****e!
My Modern Test XI (since 2000): AN Cook, GC Smith (c), HM Amla, KC Sangakkara (w), MJ Clarke, IR Bell, S Watson, GP Swann, VD Philander, DW Steyn, JM Anderson.
It's very, very easy to slate sportsmen after a defeat, and to come up with reasons after the event for why things are not going well, but this game, by its very nature, is far more complicated than that. It's a whole lot more difficult to come up with a cogent plan of action to take things forward; so far I've not seen anything deeper than demands to sack Cook and Flower, as well as dropping half of the side. We got rid of Matt Prior mid-series because he was "not good enough"/"underperforming" and instead we got somebody who is neither close to being good enough with bat nor gloves, and if we follow some of the suggestions going around in the threads I've read (Buttler? Taylor? Mills?) we'll get exactly the same. We've had a run of several years as one of the best teams in the world with this personnel and under this management, and they're not stupid. They know they've underperformed; they know this is well below the standards that we as supporters and they as players want to achieve, and they've done enough in the last years to deserve patience when the wheels come off.
Why were we mentally exhausted? Schedule must have something to do with it; the human psyche can't continue to function when it's down and beaten and when it has no time to recover and recuperate. Swann's departure is symbolic of that. Flower is continuing; he is as aware as the rest of us that this team was second best, and he gives the indications that he's ready to lead the rebuilding into the next England unit. Some players will need more cricket - and the Lions tour - others will need a total break. Those calling for Cook's head need to present an alternative. Australia have got inside our heads and we've had nowhere to go; this was a whitewash that was coming the moment Brisbane came to its undignified end.
I am not for a moment saying we bury our heads in the sand and carry on as we are: selection (Finn, Tremlett, Rankin), the effect of the specialist coaches Saker and Gooch, whose effect seems to have gone stale since the halcyon summer of 2011, captaincy and particularly field placing and strategy were flawed, but they didn't want to lose. They didn't stop trying - why would they stop trying? - they were just battered, bruised, beaten and broken. They don't become bad players overnight, though, and they deserve the chance to build again.
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