Tuesday, 5 December 2006
Fletcher and England are living in the past
Most people will probably search our 2nd innings batting card for the answers to this miserable defeat, but the real answer lies in our 1st Innings bowling card. We dawdled through our overs, allowed hours of toothless bowling and passive defensive fielding and took far too long to get the wickets.
This test will be used by coaches for the rest of time to demonstrate just why test match cricket is won with the ball not the bat. It really doesn’t matter how many runs you score. If you can’t or don’t bowl out the opposition twice, you cannot win.
Fletcher’s determination “to bat to eight” sums up the defensive, backward approach this team is taking to the series. They believe that they cannot bowl them out, so they are trying to score enough runs to get draws. Can you imagine how Collingwood, Pietersen and Hoggard feel tonight. Massive personal performances made worthless by a tangible lack of team ambition.
We are in a pretty sorry state when we select our bowlers on the basis of their batting ability! But that is precisely what we are doing. The trouble is, the team slumps. The real batsmen don’t feel the pressure and the whole team dreads fielding.
Fletcher must reverse his thinking immediately. He must aspire to ‘bowl to four’ if you see what I mean. Whatever he does, he must restore the detailed plans for each batsmen. You see the Aussies are fighting back. Last year’s plans aren’t working anymore. The Aussies are thinking. We are just battering on.