Can England cope with being favourites?

manalien Roar Pro

By manalien, manalien is a Roar Pro

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    The first Ashes Test is so close you can almost smell it. Unfortunately what you actually can smell is the stench of the Australian performance in the Champions Trophy.

    Perhaps that was what caused England to choke so horribly in the final of the same tournament so bad was the smell England choked again in a (pointless) T20 against New Zealand a few days later.

    Jokes aside, the form of the two sides is very different. Plus the lead up for Australia has involved everything from fast tracked visas to fired coaches and errant punches.

    England on the other hand have had to worry about how to squeeze Kevin Pietersen back into their squad.

    Poor old Nick Compton took one for the team – likely as a nod to the future, that future being Joe Root opening and captaining England once Alistair Cook has had enough of the top job

    My concern is that England are not used to being favourites, and overwhelming ones too if you believe the hype. This could be an issue come the Ashes.

    Australia have a very potent looking fast bowling attack.

    Sure Ryan Harris and James Pattinson are more fragile than Nasser Hussain’s “poppadom fingers”, but with Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Jackson Bird and James Faulkner in the squad the odd injury is manageable.

    They are largely unproven in Test cricket and even less so outside Australia, but they all seem suited to English conditions (particularly Pattinson and Bird) – and will cause problems for England.

    If Australia start strongly this could be a very interesting series.

    England are expected to win. The UK press have all but written off the Australians, before a ball has been bowled.

    How will the team react if they go 1-0 down, particularly as it would be followed by a volley from all corners and calls for Ian Bell and a couple of others (Bairstow, Finn) to be dropped (standard reaction to any poor England performance).

    If Australia are to do the unthinkable and win back the Ashes it will come down to two things, their batsmen and getting a fast start.

    If England win the first Test, you fear the worst.

    The fragile nature of the batting mentally (excluding Clarke – who could go down with back problems at any second but that is a separate problem) – may not recover if Anderson and co rattle them first up.

    If they hold their own and can get a few mental blows in of their own in the first Test, things could be very different.

    With any luck Boof Lehmann will have installed some steel into the side by the time the Test starts (including Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin in the XI will help this).

    Perhaps as a fan who wants to watch as much cricket as possible this English summer, I am being overly generous to a side in turmoil, whose leader is by all accounts very unpopular, a new coach and a group of young players who appear not to know the value of graft.

    Perhaps. But sport is not as simple as that…and momentum counts for a huge amount.

    If the Aussies can get hold their own in the first Test doubts will creep into the England side (Cook can’t play left armers, Trott is a run out waiting to happen, Pietersen and Bell are flat track bullies etc etc).

    Those are some very big ifs. All I am saying is that Australia winning the Ashes is far from impossible.

    Will it happen? No. But it won’t be as easy as the press will make you believe. Much of this depends on Clarke’s fitness…If he misses any significant playing time a mauling could be on the cards.

    This video could win $10,000!

    It's one of the favourites to take out the Club Roar most popular video award on Monday!

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • June 28th 2013 @ 8:19pm
      Nick said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

      Finally an article with a hint of optimism. Nice. Can’t wait to see what the usually supects from the land of the “great un-washed” think about it. he he he 🙂

    • June 29th 2013 @ 1:38am
      manalien said | June 29th 2013 @ 1:38am | ! Report

      Nick – would it surpirse you to know I am one “of the great unwashed”?

      I have just moved back to the motherland after a few years down under and so have seen a bit more of the Aussies up close than many of the arm chair critics in England.

      I am still confident England will retain the urn, but wish people would realise it is far from a foregone conclusion!

    • June 29th 2013 @ 4:17am
      MervUK said | June 29th 2013 @ 4:17am | ! Report

      “Cook can’t play left armers, Trott is a run out waiting to happen, Pietersen and Bell are flat track bullies etc etc”

      hope this was tongue in cheek. Clearly australia aren’t as bad as has been made out, but england are much much stronger. I think it will take a herculean effort to win the series, every player would have to perform out of their skin, not just one or two. Lets not forget the last two series australia were beaten with pointing and hussey in the side, one of them down under, where there were no questions about australian form going into the series… they were just outplayed by a far superior side. Even if england go 1 down, they wont panic, look at the indian series. Andy flower has created a culture where they back themselves, with the motto that ‘you’re never as good or as bad as people say you are”, even if England completely under perform, which i doubt they will considering how pumped up they’ll be for the ashes (unlike in NZ, which was a post india, pre ashes holiday), they’ll be an incredibly tough nut to crack. I think the aussies should concentrate on consistency of selection, and back who they think are there best players, irrespective of results and build towards november

    • June 29th 2013 @ 12:32pm
      James said | June 29th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      somerset have managed to get almost 600 runs against this great australian attack, a somerset with as far as i know only 2 guys who have represented england, one who has recently been dropped and one who hasnt played for england for years. its a warm up match but if australia cant restrict a team the 6th placed county team it doesnt bode well for how they are going to go against the english team.

      • June 29th 2013 @ 7:44pm
        twodogs said | June 29th 2013 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

        Remember though James, it’s a lead up game. Match fitness eludes them at present. Ease in, line and length. Work the duke out. The pom’s may well be in for a contest.

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