It's a big summer for England as they look to put a hugely disappointing winter behind them and I hope there might be time for experimentation as the seven Tests against Pakistan and India unfold.
As I have alluded to previously, it is all well and good playing pretty well in English conditions when the Dukes ball is swinging around but they can’t settle for being a team that impresses at home but struggles away.
Even though they might not necessarily be the best tactics to win a Test match in this country, I would like to see England apply strategies which they might be more predisposed to utilising abroad during the upcoming series.
England have failed to win any of their last 13 Tests away from home – losing 10 and drawing three – which represents their worst run in history and it is wrong to think that playing the same sort of cricket will yield different results.
The team needs to adapt, be imaginative and look to the future and I think there is an opportunity to do that this summer, while still chalking up positive results.
In English conditions and with the Dukes ball, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad are a must to open the bowling – there is no doubt about that. But is Broad the best option as a strike bowler away from home when the ball isn’t doing much? Probably not.
He played well in New Zealand, taking 11 wickets with a best of 6-54 during the Black Caps’ first innings at Christchurch, but his record overseas of late is poor and England struggled generally with a lack of pace in Australia.
If Mark Wood gets the nod this morning to feature at Lord’s in the first Test against Pakistan, I would like to see him, like other bowlers with pace, used more wisely and differently to how seamers might be traditionally.
The 28-year-old needs to be used in short three or four-over spells as opposed to seven or eight, with the brief to attack, bowl as fast as he can and take wickets, and then be whipped off – that’s what England have to do overseas. The likes of Broad can do the donkey work and bowl into the wind, for instance.
There will also come a time when England cannot rely upon Anderson, Broad and former skipper Alastair Cook, who himself faces a big summer, and it would be foolish not to have an eye on the future.
Those three have all been tremendous servants to England but the time will come when they step aside and are no longer available, and new players need grafting into the side at the right time.
That’s difficult with so many question marks currently over players’ places in the team but the need to adopt new tactics, think outside the box and consider the future are all linked and I do think it’s an important period in that regard.
In terms of the two-Test series against Pakistan, you never know what to expect from the tourists and they shouldn’t be underestimated despite the retirements of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan and an injury to leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
They can still be a dangerous outfit and it won’t be a walk in the park but I can see England having the bit between their teeth after the winter and I believe they will win the series.