Ashes 2013/14: England have plenty of lessons to learn from miserable tour
Stokes and Jordan are two rare positives to emerge from a wretched winter...
Last Updated: 03/02/14 1:33pm
Thumped 5-0 in the Ashes, trounced 4-1 in the one-dayers and overpowered 3-0 in the T20s, England have plenty of questions to answer in the coming months - not least how do they replace Andy Flower and Graeme Swann?
So what did we learn? Here's a reminder of some of the conclusions Ian Botham, Andrew Strauss, Bob Willis, Mike Atherton, David Lloyd and Nasser Hussain came to over a largely forgettable three months...
Ben Stokes is undoubtedly the find of the tour
Botham: Stokes has got a bit of devil in him. He's got a little bit of arrogance, which I think is essential, and he's prepared to mix it with the opposition. When he walked out in the Test match in Perth and got that magnificent hundred, Mitchell Johnson and the guys were all trying to get into him but he gave it back and batted magnificently. He obviously likes batting at the WACA and I know why, because the ball comes through and it's easier to hit through the line. Stokes continued in the one-dayers from where he's left off in the Test series. He's been the real find of the tour - the only find of the tour probably!
Alastair Cook must stamp his authority on this Test side
Strauss: Alastair will have learnt so much over the course of these five Tests because when you lose you find out which players are supporting you, which ones have the stomach for the fight and which ones go missing. In some respects he was found wanting. When the pressure was on he didn't grab the initiative enough - he's said that himself. He's definitely got to take the reins a little bit more strongly and say 'this is my team, I need to forge a team in my own image'. I would still stick with him as captain. He's still relatively inexperienced - he will get better as a captain. I'm absolutely certain about that. I know what he's like as a character - he's a guy who doesn't do failure well. He'll go away, learn from it and modify what he's done and come back better.
It's crunch time for England and Kevin Pietersen
Willis: In my opinion Pietersen has to be 100 per cent in, or 100 per cent out. England either need him to be one of their inner sanctum, as a senior player (perhaps even vice-captain with a selectorial vote when the side are on tour) or they need to be rid of him. They thought Pietersen was good enough to be captain five years ago. But we can't have Pietersen sulking down at third man or at long off while more junior members of the side decide with Alastair Cook what goes on in the middle. That's one route. The other is to say 'sorry Kevin, enough is enough.' Kevin has got previous and they have all taken a step back to reintegrate Pietersen. They've accommodated him at every turn. Pietersen is the best player in the team. He didn't quite show it on the tour but he is the only player who can change the course of a match. Bowlers do it, but very few batsmen can. But if a guy is not fitting in with the team ethic, then he's got to go.
Naming Andy Flower's replacement too quickly could be costly
Atherton: Ashley Giles must start as favourite to replace Flower just because he's been in and around the system and he's the one-day coach. I would caution them not to rush in but take their time and have a look around; there are plenty of other candidates about, no doubt. I think the ECB made the mistake with Peter Moores some years back when they rushed in with what they perceived to be a ready-made replacement and it proved to be a wrong call. So I think with these things it is always best to take a look around and see who are the best candidates for the job. It's probably one of the most lucrative and highly-sought after jobs in cricket, so there are going to be plenty of good candidates putting their names forward.
England must radically alter their approach to ODI cricket
Lloyd: England appear to have no interest in the first 10 overs; they set their stock on the last 10 overs. They are living in the past if they continue to play this way and they've got nothing to offer. Looking at the regulations that are there now, including the fielding restrictions, they will continue to get bogged down in any sort of period, two or three periods, unless they take a more dynamic approach. They were totally static for periods in the ODIs and you just cannot do that. They're living in the past of thinking all the eggs are in one basket, we're going to keep wickets in tact until the last 10 overs - it's not good enough. If you look at the Australian card you'll see that their mindset is to attack, attack and attack some more. Their first instinct is to hit the ball.
It's time for the selectors to consider their T20 options
Hussain: I think it's time to draw a line under Jade Dernbach. He doesn't offer much in the field, he doesn't bat; his main job is bowling and it's not working at the moment. He keeps going at 13-14 runs an over. I see why they keep playing him but on pitches like the ones here in Australia and in Bangladesh the ball does stick in the pitch and sometimes it is hard work but people - Bailey in particular - have worked him out and he's getting bashed. England have got to look elsewhere. I thought Tim Bresnan bowled pretty well in the series - I thought he improved throughout the winter from when he first came in and I thought Chris Jordan was a bright spark on his first tour of Australia. As for the batters, they scored just one fifty between them in three games - two of which had short boundaries. That's not good enough.