Monday, January 30, 2012

The Emperor's New Clothes Starring England

As Pakistan exposed England as a virtual impostor as a number 1 ranked Team in Test Cricket. You swore you were witnessing Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Emperor's New Clothes' being played before our very eyes. Taking the guise of all lauding England for how regal and mighty they are, and how their rein of dominance was going to last forever. Only for one in Pakistan, as if they were the upstart child in the Fairy Tale exposing them as virtually having nothing on.

In the process alerting all to the 'Emperors' new reality with the message passing from lip to lip as if it was Chinese Whispers that England's mighty batting is pure toiletry when faced with spin. Best explained in the pull no punches Geoffrey Boycott

"I do not believe that any other team play the slow turning ball as badly as England. They were clueless."

"England batted as if they had no idea how to score. They succumbed like lemmings jumping off a cliff: uncertain, negative and mesmerized,"

Hitting the nail perfectly on the head in the summation of the English being blown to smithereens, but it also alerted to other issues that are equally being exposed as a burgeoning worry. As seen in the three heads of the Team in Andy Flower, Graham Gooch and the Captain Andrew Strauss.

The first two must carry the can for this disastrous performance for their part in the Selecting of the Team, and then its preparation for this Tours unique challenges. On both points they have represented a student faced with a major exam and failing to study until a hastily arranged cramming session on the eve of the Test. They have been undone by over estimating the English batting in these confines as well as giving no respect for a Pakistani bowling attack that is fuelled by an exceptional spin attack that is supreme in its combination of diversity and threat.

Flower labelled the batting "the wake-up call no one wanted to get." with him putting the responsibility squarely at the feet of the batsmen. Which you can understand, but the question on the lips of most of the onlookers as the batsmen went down like a perfect line of dominoes was their preparation for this Tour. It seemed that this was based around a lot of back slapping for their exceptional batting deeds on fast tracks, and just assuming that it would continue against a totally different set of challenges that quality spin represents.

We can forgive one mistake from these two because of their exceptional efforts in the rise of the Team, but they need to prove that this series was an aberration rather than a reality in terms of preparation.

The one who is starting to come under the microscope with the Team losing is Andrew Strauss. Who has been lauded in the Team for his Captaincy, but his near on 2 years of struggles with the bat being overlooked. Now with the pressure of defeat he is coming under the microscope. You can understand why when you see that he has averaged 29.74 in his last 35 innings with just 1 century.

A few more failures in the 3rd Test, and I do not think the acidic pens in the Fleet Street Press will have him on their Valentine Days list.

A 'Standing 8 Count' or a Knock Out Blow for the Future?

I think if a truth serum was slipped in the drinks of the people running the Team that they would admit that this Tour might be looked back as a blessing with it will indelibly wiping away the 'cockiness' that has been associated with the Team. Ensuring a renewed focus and with it the relentless determination and attention to detail that has been England's definition of late

There is little doubt of the quality in abundance in the current line up and in the precocious talents on the fringes of the Team. So you can see that the failure here will be put down as an 'freak performance' by the the people running the Team and the players selected coupled with a Pakistan Team performing at its very best.

This being said you know the the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and even Andrew Strauss might be told that a failure in the 3rd Test will more than likely mean that they will miss the Sri Lankan tour. As well as the rest of the batting being told to man up, and prove you are real quality, rather than just masters in familiar conditions.

On both points this needs to happen to have the players have a balance of fear that repercussions being known for continued failures represent.

Expect a much more refined display in the third Test, and the tag that England will carry in regards to being bunnies in playing spin being dissected in every regard and fixed in the future.

1 comment:

  1. A fair view, but I feel it is too early to say that England have been exposed as a "virtual impostor as a number 1". Their performance at the UAE was poor, but, the conclusion could be made when they fail again.

    Andrew Strauss might not have been the best with the bat off late but his reign must not be ended based on one series. A revamp like that of the current Pakistani side could be contemplated if they lose in an away series in this manner, again.