There seems to be quite a lot of negativity being written and spoken about English cricket at the moment and quite honestly a lot of it is a load of rubbish.
Yes, England have been hammered by India and defeat in Mumbai was their seventh Test loss of 2016. A further setback during the fifth Test in Chennai, which starts tomorrow, would represent England’s worst year since 1993. Sometimes, however, there is too much store put in statistics.
I firmly believe England have played some good cricket this year and have done so ever since the appointment of Trevor Bayliss in 2015. There is a new culture and this group of players is heading in the right direction.
For me, the likes of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes have really put their hands up and are looking like world-class performers.
When you are 3-0 down in a series there can be a bit of gloom, but, as I have written previously, 5-0 down in Australia during the winter of 2013-14 was far worse.
It is also important to remember how difficult it is to compete in India. They are the No1-ranked Test side on the planet and have won 15 of their last 17 Test matches on home soil. It’s not as though other teams are going there and racking up wins.
For many of the players in the England side this is their first major tour to India and I fully expect them to be better equipped to cope with the conditions the next time they’re there.
The bottom line is we don’t have the spinners in our ranks to succeed there. Moeen Ali has done fantastically well considering where he was a couple of years ago, and he does a job in English conditions, but when you go abroad and need a major spinner he’s not quite up to it. But it’s not as though you can just magic a solution out of thin air.
Within that innings-and-36-run defeat in Mumbai, there was also a gem of an innings from debutant opener Keaton Jennings, who was probably a little bit unlucky not to be included in the touring party to begin with.
The 24-year-old has certainly put some pressure on selectors for the summer Tests against South Africa and the West Indies and it will be interesting to see what route they take.
I imagine Alastair Cook, Haseeb Hameed and Jennings will all play and they will drop Joe Root down to No4, although there will be others in the mix such as Ben Duckett.
I’ve played under Bayliss and while he seems to have grown irritated at the constant speculation over the future of Cook as captain, I believe he will be fairly relaxed in camp despite the status of the series.
He’ll be realistic and look at the facts. His side haven’t batted, bowled or caught well enough, but also England are simply not as good as India in subcontinental conditions. Nobody in England’s ranks can compete with someone like spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, for instance.
Bayliss will be calm and I’m confident he won’t be worrying too much. He’ll be hoping for improvements in Chennai and looking at players to stand up and not be thinking of themselves or the end of what has been a long and arduous tour.