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There’s hope England will rise again

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England_CricketIt’s no secret that England has had a run of bad luck they’re trying to put behind them, and concentrate on being more than just the birthplace of cricket. For that to happen, they need to go back to the time when they dominated rankings, where scandals were barely noticed, and the only thing worth talking about was their cricket. Yet how will they go back to that place when they continue to allow scandals to dominate instead of victories?

For one, there is no room for politics in the gentlemen’s game. It just ruins the sport. England cricketers always feel the need to comment about anything and everything happening at the England Cricket Board, which is completely unnecessary. They should talk about what they need to do in order to win the Ashes, and not the controversies engraved in KP’s book, or his final departure from the England squad.

England probably underestimated Bangladesh in the World Cup, who knows, but they got what they deserved – a humiliating beating at the hands of the Tigers. Without a doubt, that’s when it was very clear that there was trouble in an already imperfect paradise. England lacked aggression and failed to express themselves countless times. All their World Cup efforts misfired. Even the associate teams did not fear them: England were just an outdated team they needed to overcome.

As far as being a Test playing nation goes, England will probably remain just alright for a while. However, if that is enough for them, the future is bleak.

For instance, how do you win the first Test by 124 runs but lose the second by 199 runs? It seems somewhere in those matches England lost their nerve. Come to think of it, they were about to lose to New Zealand in the first Test but managed to weather the storm.

Still, how do they expect to really compete in the Ashes if they are already getting thrashed by such large margins? They lack consistency and Australia will continue to reign supreme if England continue to play the way they have so far.

Through every match and every series they win, England is a step closer to where they used to be. They are a step closer to erasing the horrendous cricket they had been playing.

 

Even so, when last did England win a series? Not just that, when last did they win a series comfortably? The Test series against India, almost a year ago, where they won three matches, lost one and drew the other. That was the last series in any format they won. That’s where they need to draw their energy from, and that’s where they need to get back. They need to be inspired as a team and not just as individuals. Together they need to go after and achieve a common goal.

However, if you’re good, you’re rewarded. Who would have thought Andrew Strauss would become the director of cricket (probably because he can toe the line)? Then he turned out to be the one to permanently shut the door on a KP return. It’s obvious that Strauss is settling scores while he is at the top. Talk about revenge served cold.

Not so long ago captain Alastair Cook was next in line for the big chop. Although he was chopped in the World Cup squad, he returned with a bang in the current series against New Zealand. How long will his current form last though?

Nevertheless, all is not lost. England is suffering a cloudy day, with the sun’s rays piercing through. The team is ageing. Players like Ian Bell, James Anderson and Stuart Broad are running out of intensity and the cracks are beginning to show. Anderson just reached a milestone by accomplishing 400 Test wickets, but when will he reach another?

On a positive note, a quick fix solution to an ageing squad would be the introduction of younger players. England hit the nail on the head, bringing in the likes of Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes. Without Anderson and Broad, the youngsters will hopefully get the job done.

Although Buttler has not fully developed behind the stumps, he brings excitement to England’s middle order. Root’s batting nature is leading him down the right path as he seems a perfect fit. Since Wood is a fragile yet dangerous bowler, he will likely play a few of the ODI matches to keep him fit for the Ashes. At least Stokes will bring that aggressiveness back into the side with his batting style.

The saying goes, “one bad season and everyone forgets how good you really are.” But no one has forgotten how good England really can be. They are probably wondering when the England they know will reappear. England is a long way away from reaching the top or even getting a glimpse of it. Maybe they need to play a lot more cricket. Even if they don’t play a lot more cricket, they need to play well and win.



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Thobeka ‘Beks’ Ngema. A cricket and football blogger who fell in love with both sports but event...

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