It looks like Joe Root will survive as England Test captain by default which is a shame for us fans and for the skipper himself.
He could end with three Ashes failures on his CV, which would make him the third worst leader in my lifetime behind Corbyn and May (Theresa not Peter).
There are not many cricket captains, apart from maybe Bob Willis and Kim Hughes, who could get outsmarted by Australia’s stop-gap skipper Tim Paine, but Root managed it.
Actually Paine’s success gives a lie to the theory that a skipper must be worth his place in the side. On that basis England may as well give the captaincy to Eoin Morgan, someone who at least knows how to win the biggest games, including World Cup semi-finals against Australia.
All my worst fears about this Ashes series were sadly realised.
I felt this set of Australian bowlers would relish English conditions, I felt it would be impossible for 37 year-old Jimmy Anderson to play five Tests in eight weeks (although I thought he’d last more than five minutes) and I felt England’s players would be drained by an emotional home World Cup.
I also felt the selfish and greedy decision of Root to play in the Big Bash last winter and of other players to be allowed to chase the riches available in the IPL ahead of a momentous summer would come back to haunt us and I felt giving Australian players contracts at English counties would probably turn into an act of, if not treason, great betrayal.
Okay Cameron Bancroft was still useless at the highest level despite scoring freely for Durham, but Marnus Labuschagne warmed up in great style with Glamorgan before graduating to the role of Steve Smith’s sidekick in the Teat matches. The Aussies got lucky there as they might never have picked Labuschagne if Jofra Archer hadn’t poleaxed Smith at Lord’s.
I doubt many English players will be knocking around in the Sheffield Shield ready and acclimatised when England are getting thrashed Down Under in 2021 and when Archer has finally been bowled into the ground by his unimaginative captain. In fact there won’t be any.
England should be kicking themselves ahead of the final Test at the Oval. There aren’t many teams who could get so well beaten by an Australian side with so many dreadful players.
The Aussies had a clueless set of openers and Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Matthew Wade are so bad they’d struggle to get into the England side, even one that thinks picking a player purely to bat at number seven is a great tactic.
If Root is serious about leading England back to the top of the Test match tree he will give up the short forms of the game. Put patriotism above cash Joe and make your players do the same.
Actually Root was so bad in the Big Bash I doubt he’ll ever be asked back.
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