EIGHT consecutive defeats against Australia in all formats means a major debrief is essential when the players return home, but even now it is clear that certain changes will be needed.
Replacing Alastair Cook as captain of the one-day side is chief among those. Friday’s second match was the final straw; there is no way England should have lost that.
Cook has never been at his best in limited-overs cricket. When batting at 75 per cent capacity there are others just as, or more, deserving.
The real problem, however, is his captaincy. Brilliant captains are alive, alert and proactive, but the fact is some cricketers are more in touch with the game than others.
Michael Atherton was a very good player but, in my opinion, always 10-15 minutes behind the action. Nasser Hussain may not have been as good a batsman, but as an England captain he was up to speed and decisive.
Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad would be fancied to replace Cook, were England not in the habit of rotating bowlers. In any case, I’d favour batsman Eoin Morgan. He is not in the Test side, so he and limited-overs coach Ashley Giles could form a unit dedicated to the one-day team.
I’d keep Cook as Test captain, though. England are set to lose mainstays Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott and probably Matt Prior; they don’t want more upheaval among the senior players. Besides, Cook’s mind will be clearer when form improves.
Now, what England need more than anything is to win one of the remaining games in Australia. When that debrief comes, it’ll be far better if England have a few crumbs of comfort to reflect on.
Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer. He has also served as chairman and captain of Warwickshire.