Winning the World Cup and Ben Stokes’s innings has rather papered over the cracks of some seismic faults in English Test cricket notably:
This is because the captain has to be the supreme strategist on the pitch, the interface with the media, and lead by example and most skippers are crushed by this. It’s clearly affected Joe Root who did not make a century all summer and whose place in that quartet of world class Test players alongside Steve Smith, Vitaj Kohli and Kane Williamson is now debatable.
One area where we are strong is the pace attack. Sam Curran played well in Sri Lanka so what do they do – bring back Craig Overton for one game in Curran’s place and then drop him?
They persevered with Jason Roy whose longest ever inning is three and half hours, tried him in different positions when it is apparent he is a white ball player and not a Test batsman. The only batting player selected who looks the part is Rory Burns.
Michael Vaughan has questioned whether you can now select Anderson and Stuart Broad. Jefra Archer has emerged as a bowler of hostility and pace, Mark Wood is waiting in the wings and Chris Woakes can regard himself as an all rounder with Ben Stokes more than back-up. It time to thank Jimmy Anderson for his huge contribution over the years and for him to make way for Sam Curran.
White ball or red ball
Under Andrew Strauss England have become the best white ball side in the world but is this at the expense of Test cricket. Will the new director Ashley Giles restore the balance and where will be the emphasis of the head coach replacing Trevor Bayliss?
I had an interesting conversation with a businessman recently who said when a company is flourishing look at the areas of potential weakness. England won the Ashes in 2005 in a spirit of triumphalism but a year later Flintoff’s side was destroyed Down Under. The questions above need to be resolved before we can be confident England will be supreme.