Graham Thorpe backs the Hundred to help England’s struggling Test batsmen

  • Assistant coach says players will be able to relax
  • Minimal Championship cricket before India series

Graham Thorpe hopes the Hundred allows England’s batsmen to relax before their five Test series against India and believes their mental approach is proving more of a hindrance than any technical problems.

Thorpe, the assistant coach, and Marcus Trescothick, the elite batting coach, have plenty of work to do with their charges before the first Test against India on 4 August after the 1-0 defeat against New Zealand exposed shortcomings.

Related: Joe Root warns it is ‘the wrong time to start panicking’ after England are routed

Related: England left trailing on and off pitch by clear-thinking New Zealand | Andy Bull

Continue reading...

Chris Silverwood points to England’s inexperience – but he is picking the team | Geoff Lemon

Players’ limitations the head coach cited after England’s thrashing by New Zealand are a result of decisions he has made

Repeatedly, as the home team came within a raincloud of losing two Tests against a country with a fraction of their resources, England’s head coach Chris Silverwood and his camp kept talking about inexperience. His players couldn’t have attempted to score three runs per over for two sessions after a generous New Zealand declaration at Lord’s because they didn’t have the experience. They collapsed in three other innings due to inexperience. It was unfair to expect more given the players rested from the side.

Related: Five things for England to fix before the Test series against India | Tanya Aldred

Related: England left trailing on and off pitch by clear-thinking New Zealand | Andy Bull

Continue reading...

England 0-1 New Zealand: player ratings for the Test series

It was a fantastic series for Devon Conway, Tom Latham and New Zealand’s bowlers, but Joe Root had a shocker

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog

Joe Root: 97 runs at an average of 24; one wicket at 99; one catch
Did anything go right for him? With the “resting” policy yielding a shallow pool of talent and experience from which to pick his XI (and one can only imagine how he felt watching Sam Curran, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali et al hit-and-giggle for their counties), he made things worse with poor selections, schoolboyish field setting and little to suggest that there were plans for bowlers to attack batsmen or batsmen to build innings. That he settled for a draw in the first Test might be excusable, but he never showed any commitment to engineer a position from which a chase could be launched. His own players, his opponents and England fans drew the obvious conclusion that he didn’t really rate the team he had chosen – perhaps the second Test gave him the bittersweet satisfaction of being proved right. At No4, he batted well below his usual level and couldn’t catch … a cold. The appalling over rate added a minus suffix to his rating. Grade: E-

Related: Joe Root warns it is ‘the wrong time to start panicking’ after England are routed

Related: Five things for England to fix before the Test series against India | Tanya Aldred

Related: England look lost as fans’ laughter defines painful defeat to New Zealand

Related: England left trailing on and off pitch by clear-thinking New Zealand | Andy Bull

Continue reading...

Five things for England to fix before the Test series against India | Tanya Aldred

Joe Root’s side are in desperate need of a spinner and the rotation policy means some players are not getting enough Test cricket, but there is plenty of talent to come in

England start a five-Test series against India in just over seven weeks. The return of Ben Stokes for the start and Jofra Archer, midway through, will help with balance. But, batting disaster aside, what England have been crying out for at both Lord’s and Edgbaston is a spinner. Joe Root has far too much on his plate to be expected to hold up one end and hope for a mistake. Chris Silverwood, who earned his coaching stripes with Essex, a team built around the success of Simon Harmer, knows the importance of a twirly man. Jack Leach has done nothing wrong, and others – Moeen Ali, Matt Parkinson, Amar Virdi, Jack Carson – are waiting in the wings.

Related: England look lost as fans’ laughter defines painful defeat to New Zealand

Continue reading...

Ollie Robinson furore not to blame for England’s woes, says Chris Silverwood

  • ‘We’ve tried to make sure the noise has been quietened down’
  • Head coach admits England’s batting has been ‘not good enough’

Chris Silverwood has insisted the off-field rancour triggered by Ollie Robinson’s historical tweets is not to blame for the sorry batting performance that left England on the brink of losing their first home series since 2014.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced it will start a review of social media use after past posts from Robinson and others emerged in the last week that, in the eyes of the governing body, “severely diminished” the sport’s inclusive aspirations.

Related: England on brink of defeat as Neil Wagner turns the screw for New Zealand

Continue reading...

Zak Crawley’s confusion is a symptom of England’s top-order batting malaise | Andy Bull

The young batsman’s technique is being pulled in different directions by the competing needs of three different formats

It was hot and close when England’s openers got out to the middle, headache weather, heavy and oppressive. The team were already in some trouble, 85 runs behind, and it was about to get a whole lot worse. It turned out that slender lead was just about as much as New Zealand needed. Rory Burns, England’s one in-form batsman, went first. Burns has been playing so well that he seemed to forget that he was supposed to start all over. He threw a bold drive at the second ball of the innings and sliced it behind to second slip.

Related: Second string Kiwis make England look second-rate

Related: England v New Zealand: second Test, day three – as it happened

Continue reading...

Chris Woakes returns to England’s T20 squad after five-year absence

  • 32-year-old last played a T20i in November 2015
  • Willey and Dawson also in squad to face Sri Lanka

Chris Woakes has been called up to England’s Twenty20 squad, five and a half years after he last won a cap in the shortest format. Woakes, 32, is part of a 16-man squad selected for the three-match series against Sri Lanka and if selected it would end a curious 10-month absence from international cricket; usually a mainstay of the Test and ODI setups, he has been an unfortunate victim of the pandemic’s logistical challenges.

The all-rounder benefits from the absences of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer after their respective finger and elbow operations and could challenge Tom Curran in England’s World Cup plans. David Willey also comes in as a left-arm seam option with Reece Topley recovering from a side strain.

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Continue reading...

England’s policy of living for tomorrow has left Test team adrift in vagueness | Barney Ronay

This is a weirdly muddled England Test side, planning for the Ashes while the best team in the world are in town

Adam Gilchrist’s autobiography True Colours: My Story is one of the great “unreliable narrator” sports books. Not because there’s a single false note in its 500 pages of tearful, heartfelt authenticity, but because it’s not really His Story but is instead a meditation on his own obsession with certain concepts – Australianism, Baggy Greenism, Good Blokeism, and above all the good health, the sacred vibes of the Aussie Test team.

Changes of personnel are agonised over. Gilchrist worries endlessly about morale. There are 34 entries in the index under the heading “Team Feeling”. In the Gilchrist universe Test cricket, teamship and the teamship of Test cricket are sacred, ineffable things, to be preserved at all costs, seals unbroken.

Related: Hunger game: how Jimmy Anderson dodged long list of bowling casualties | Andy Bull

Related: England rue drops and decisions as New Zealand take upper hand in second Test

Continue reading...

Dom Sibley awkwardly cements his status as England’s newest cult hero | Andy Bull

What the batsman lacks in flair he makes up for in stubbornness and patience, as New Zealand have discovered

Has anyone ever been made so rapturously happy by Dom Sibley’s batting? Let loose at a Test match after 15 months of on-and-off lockdown, the crowd in the Hollies Stand were driven delirious by England’s odd-couple openers, Sibley and Rory Burns, as they batted through Thursday’s morning session for 72. That ranked surprisingly high in the list of England’s recent opening stands: fifth-best in a home Test since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012, and their biggest in a first innings at home since the last time New Zealand were here in 2015, when Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth put on 177 together at Headingley.

This speaks to England’s struggle to settle on a reliable opening pair. And also to the fact that they may have finally found one. Unfortunately for them, it seems to have happened when their middle order has gone missing. Graham Gooch memorably described batting against Richard Hadlee’s New Zealand as like facing the World XI at one end and Ilford Second XI at the other. Watching England go about their work on Thursday afternoon, it felt as if New Zealand were bowling to Ilford Second XI at one end and Ilford Third XI at the other. By then, those in the Hollies Stand were chanting about football coming home. They were oddly quiet about the prospects of cricket doing similarly this winter.

Related: England v New Zealand: second Test, day one – live!

Related: Dan Lawrence helps England rally against New Zealand in second Test

Continue reading...

Ollie Robinson Twitter racism storm obscures ECB’s decades of inaction | Andy Bull

The current furore risks obscuring how the ECB has made similar promises to tackle racism for a couple of decades

Since we are all looking backwards, let’s go a little further, beyond 2018, when Eoin Morgan sent a tweet saying “sir, you’re my favourite batsman”, spoofing comments he receives on social media from Indian cricket fans; beyond 2017, when Jos Buttler sent a similar one reading “much beauty batting you are on fire, sir”; beyond 2012, when Ollie Robinson “joked” “my new Muslim friend is the bomb #wheeyyyyy”; beyond 2010, when Jimmy Anderson wrote one in which he said Stuart Broad’s new haircut made him look like “a 15yr old lesbian”; all the way back to 1999, when the England and Wales Cricket Board published the results of a survey on racism in sport.

Related: ECB to take ‘appropriate action’ after more historical offensive tweets emerge

Related: Boris Johnson joins Oliver Dowden in ECB criticism over Ollie Robinson

Continue reading...

Edgbaston provides chance for Root and England to change the mood | Ali Martin

After Ollie Robinson and the Lord’s draw, the home team have the opportunity to be viewed positively against New Zealand

English cricket has not exactly seen eye to eye with the government this week but they join forces at Edgbaston for a pilot scheme in which 17,000 spectators will be in attendance for each day of the second Test between England and New Zealand that starts on Thursday. With this comes a pledge from Joe Root that his side will look to put on a show.

Root’s players have faced heavy questioning over the Ollie Robinson affair during the buildup – as ever they face the media when crisis descends, while the senior administrators hide behind statements – but beyond this thorny subject there have been queries about the lack of intent shown on Sunday at Lord’s.

Related: Joe Root admits England have faced ‘ugly truths’ over offensive tweets

Continue reading...

Joe Root admits England have faced ‘ugly truths’ over offensive tweets

  • Captain says team will continue to fight for inclusivity in cricket
  • ‘It’s been uncomfortable, we’re going to have to front up’

Joe Root confirmed England will continue to deliver the message of cricket’s inclusivity with another “moment of unity” before the second Test against New Zealand starting on Thursday, despite admitting the past week has thrown up “ugly truths”.

Root’s side head into the series finale under a cloud after the suspension of Ollie Robinson, pending an investigation into offensive tweets posted when he was 18 and 19. More players also face scrutiny from the England and Wales Cricket Board for their questionable past use of social media platforms.

Related: Ollie Robinson suspension a ‘learning opportunity’, says Heather Knight

Related: The Spin | ‘A perfect analogy for cricket’: Tudor, Atherton and Jonassen on Test 99s

Continue reading...