Cricket Expert & Columnist
“Mistakes have been made and it is hard enough winning in Australia if you get everything spot on”; Nasser Hussain says England need a change of mentality in the fourth Ashes Test as they aim to restore a sense of pride to their red-ball side with the series in Australia already lost
Last Updated: 03/01/22 8:09pm
With the Ashes gone, Sky Sports pundit and former England captain Nasser Hussain looks ahead to the fourth Test in Sydney and discusses the importance of Joe Root’s side focusing on the here and now…
The aim is to win, it should always be the aim to win every game that is in front of you. Joe Root spoke when the Ashes were lost about a red ball reset, and I think he’s right to talk about that, but there also needs to be a reset in the thinking and mentality of the team.
Rightly, because of Covid and with England playing so much cricket, spending so much time in bubbles and travelling, Chris Silverwood has had to look after and rotate his players. That is good for his players and he’s looked after them, but it led to nine Test losses last year.
It’s all been too rigid and pre-planned. There needs to be a change of mentality and to turn up to every single Test match from now on, look down at what is in front of you and try and win that Test match as if it is the World Test Championship final.
Turn up to Sydney, let the future look after itself, just look down at the pitch and try to pick the best side available to win that game.
There has been a lot has said in the last week, rightly so because there is a lot of anger and disappointment, with everyone looking at English cricket’s flaws.
But English cricket has got a lot going for it. We’re top of the T20 rankings, second in ODI cricket and fourth in the world in red-ball cricket. It’s unfair to say everything in our game is hopeless. What needs looking at is our batting and our spin bowling, it is as simple as that.
So, you need a reset but also some perspective.
People like Ashley Giles and whoever need to look at how we can improve our batting in red-ball cricket across the board but in this Test match at the SCG, people need to find a way of getting a score and it’ll be very tough.
The opposition bowling attack is very good, they have not had much time in the middle, they are playing players who have come in cold like Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow in the last game.
What do they do now? Do they bring back Rory Burns and Ollie Pope? It is all confused but they need to find a way. Sometimes as a professional cricketer, as a batter, you’re horribly out of nick, you don’t know which end of the bat to hold and you’ve just got to find a way of getting a score.
I wouldn’t worry about our seamers – Broad, Anderson, Woakes, Robinson, Wood, Archer when he comes back – but in the batting department, it is a big couple of games ahead. You just need to get a score and people will be watching the likes of Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Pope if he plays, Bairstow, Jos Buttler very closely.
Sydney can also turn, and we have been poor at managing our spinners. The spinners have to take responsibility as well. I know there is rain around in Sydney, but it could well be a big game for Jack Leach if he plays.
It has clearly been a very difficult tour, but you just have to view it as a New Year now. You’re not going to win the Ashes; you’re just going to have to try and start again and get on that path of a reset.
England will be more than competitive in the summer, you know that. I know, at the moment, they are 2-1 down to India, but in general, over the past however many years, they’ve been a very difficult side to beat at home.
India aside, all countries have struggled away, but England need to change their fortunes away from home and you’ve got to make a start somewhere. Make that start now, you can put last year behind you and try and get some positives going with your performance.
There has been a lot about coaching, a lot about structure but for the England players, it is a Test match against Australia, and – for your own future – you need to go out and get runs to make sure you are in the side for Hobart and on the flight for the West Indies series in March.
Who knows whether there will be a change of regime? Silverwood is currently sat in isolation with Covid in Melbourne with everyone discussing his job and saying he’s probably going to get the axe.
He has made mistakes, especially with some of the selections and they have gone too long-term with some of their thinking. Mistakes have been made and it is hard enough winning in Australia if you get everything spot on.
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But those mistakes have been made in trying to look after his players so you can’t be overly critical of a coach who has tried to do the right thing by his players.
You’d hope his players would try and put in a performance for him a little bit! Who knows what will happen down the line and whether Silverwood will be coach in the summer or not? But players need to take responsibility.
Sydney is a great place to play, it’s a better place than anywhere. We won out there in 2003, it’s a great place to play cricket. Let’s see some fight now and let’s see some pride being shown because there is still plenty to play for, without a doubt.
Source : Sky Sports