January 2009
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The TWC Summit: Who is in more disarray, England or Australia?

January 7th, 2009 by Sam Collins in England, Test cricket, The Ashes

It seemed like an easy question last night, but how times change.

In case you’ve been asleep for the whole day, or less likely actually doing some work, then here’s a newsflash. This morning Australia finally won a Test match against credible opposition, while English cricket stuck it’s head in a rather large blender.

So what does this mean at the start of an Ashes year? Does it actually change anything?

Are Australia suddenly now favourites again, or just treading water until another hammering in South Africa? And what next for England? A Reg Dickason – Andrew Strauss dream ticket? On today’s evidence, it’s a distinct possibility.

Who are we kidding? Nobody has a clue, least of all our panel, but they’ve been kind enough to contribute their tuppence worth below for your consideration and inevitable rejection…

John Stern

Editor of The Wisden Cricketer

The Ashes are still a long way off so England have plenty of time to regroup under a new captain and coach. But what happens to KP? Will he happily slip back into the ranks and get on with smashing the ball to all parts? If he does, then all is well for England. If not, and he’s sulking or kicking off or maybe even ducks out to the IPL in an apocalyptic showdown with the ECB then yet more carnage awaits.

As for the Aussies, they look a pretty ordinary side to me at the moment with precious little experience of winning (or even playing, in some cases) Tests in England. The key for me is the fitness of Stuart Clark – without his control I think Australia will struggle in English conditions.

Edward Craig

Deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

– They are in trouble on the pitch, which is where the Ashes will be won, believe it or not. At least England have an idea of their best side although we temporarily lack leadership. Maybe a fresh management team will get the best out of England’s under-performing side. I don’t believe it will take much to inspire match-winning performances from many of England’s players – just better direction.

Daniel Brigham

Assistant editor of The Wisden Cricketer

After today’s mess, England would find it hard to be in any more disarray. They are the stock market of international cricket. But, unlike Wall Street, England can sort themselves out by the summer. By June things will have settled down after two nice introductions for the new captain and coach against West Indies.

, however, will have visited South Africa – a nightmare they won’t want to relive – and will, depending on results, either still have Ricky Ponting as captain or a new leader who will be even less experienced than England’s captain for the start of the Ashes. Either scenario will benefit England.

Benj Moorehead

Editorial assistant of The Wisden Cricketer

England – Australia’s state of ‘disarray’ revolves around them no longer being great, just good. As well as an unfortunate bout of injuries to key players (Symonds, Watson, Clark, Lee). On-field problems essentially.

For England, the disarray runs far deeper, through the players to the management. Questions abound: How will a new captain and a new coach have enough time to forge unity before the Ashes? Is the camp split between Moores and Pietersen? Will Pietersen be able to take his place in the ranks again? When can England step out of Vaughan’s shadow? Just what the hell is going on? And all that fails to mention the on-field issues about Bell, Collingwood, Prior, Harmison and Panesar. Disarray? More like dire straits.
Rob Smyth

Freelance journalist

England – On the field both share an inability to win live Tests against anybody other than New Zealand; off it only one knows which bit’s the derriere and which bit’s the elbow.

Sam Collins

Website editor of thewisdencricketer.com

How England handle the KP fallout will be key. He is England’s best batsman by a worrying margin, and it is impossible to imagine us winning the Ashes without him, no matter how poor Australia are. It is better that this unseemly affair is dealt with now than in July, so in that respect there is one positive to take.

By the summer Australia should have Stuart Clark back, Brett Lee mentally refreshed while Peter Siddle has shown enough to suggest he could be a serious handful. That said, England also won a dead rubber against South Africa and look where it got them. A hammering in South Africa could do untold damage to morale and cause the sort of split we have seen today.

I’m unashamedly sitting on the fence. They’re both as bad as each other.

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “The TWC Summit: Who is in more disarray, England or Australia?”

  1.   Paddy Briggs says:

    England - they seem to have a death wish at the top.

    The ECB Press Conference was an insult and an outrage - talk about pouring fuel on the flames! After days of speculation and lack of clarity for the ECB seriously to think that it is acceptable to say nothing defies belief. Go back to the Schofield report and you will see an analysis about the deficiencies of England cricket which the Managing Director job was supposed to help resolve. Hugh Morris has removed at a stroke what residual respect any cricket love might have for the ECB - and for his own role.

    Let’s be clear about this. England cricket has been dragged down to the depths in the past year by the very people that are supposed to be giving it status, transparency and a sense of purpose. The latest casualties include a captain and a coach - and now we are being told that we have no right to ask questions about the present mess.

    The guilty men are Giles Clarke, David Collier and now Hugh Morris – they are not fit to oversee the great game of cricket in this country. The evidence of their failure is now shown in the starkest relief. And the Managing Director won’t even talk to us about it! If England can drag itslef form these depths and regain the Ashes I will be very surprised. The Aussies must be laughing themselves stupid!

  2.   sahilvaughan says:

    Australia, just.

    Team unity is a misnomer. I think it follows rather than leads results. Win and it’s all back-slapping, lose and it’s all back-stabbing.

    The Ashes will indeed be played on the field and Australia look like they have a deeply unsettled side. As England learned, returning from injury takes time, especially for bowlers. The absence of Lee, Watson and Clark presents a serious challenge.

    Batting at three for Australia is Ricky Ponting. Batting at three for England is Ian Bell. At six England have Andrew Flintoff where Australia have Andrew McDonald.

    As for the strike bowlers, over the course of a series there are more wickets in Mitchell Johnson than Steve Harmless-on.

  3.   Som says:

    Australia is in disarray but England is in a deeper hole. Installing a nice and dull captain hoping he would enjoy the respect and backing (in that order) of teammates, most of whom possess superior skill, is cricketing hallucination. KP-Moores spat was a lose-lose situation for ECB but instead of keeping the damage to the minimum, the Board decided to shoot itself in the foot. ECB should have blasted KP behind the door and still persisted with while jettisoning Moores. Truth is, Moores was not taking England anywhere and stripping KP off captaincy was a luxury ECB could not afford. But the pin-stripes did just that. I don’t believe the gibberish that KP stepped down on his own. Ponting must be smiling somewhere in Sydney.

  4.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Som. We can’t judge whether Strauss will be a nice and dull captain yet - it’s what many thought of Vaughan before his appointment.

    Strauss has excellent communication skills, a very astute brain and has a strength of character that many of his team-mates seem to lack. He could be the new Vaughan. Without the mullet.

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