LONDON: Former England skipper Michael Atherton says their overreliance on Test skipper Joe Root and a lack of preparation hurt them in the opening clash of their five-game Ashes series against England. Australia, which tourists lost by nine wickets.
England had clawed their way back into the contest thanks to a 162 run partnership between Root (89) and Dawid Malan (82), but they collapsed on Saturday, losing eight wickets to suffer a heavy defeat at the Gabba in Brisbane.
“If you look at England in the last twelve Tests… they have become so reliant on Root,” Atherton, who captained England to 54 Tests, wrote in his column for sky sports.
“And if England are going to do well in Australia, you would think he’s going to have to have a productive run, but he also needs other people around him to support him.
“Malan hit well…but England’s hitting in both innings, apart from that partnership, was poor and it’s going to cost them dearly. They were completely under-prepared, and I have a lot of sympathy for them at this point. respect.
“There’s the COVID pandemic which necessitated the kind of schedule they had, but then the torrential downpours in Queensland just knocked out the minimal preparation they had received or given themselves.”
Former England captain Alastair Cook agreed the wet weather during the build-up to the game didn’t help.
“You could say that Australia has endured similar problems, but that’s not entirely true,” Cook wrote in The Sunday Times.
“We had figures on BT Sport which showed that since the end of the English summer their batsmen had faced around 3,600 balls in competitive cricket, while the English premier order had faced less than a quarter.”
Posted in Dawn, December 13, 2021