England is in the middle of a high profile Test series against India but all the cricket talk in the country is around the new competition – The Hundred. English cricket is struggling to compete in a home Test series but alarm bells don’t seem to be ringing so far in the United Kingdom. There is a serious dearth of Test cricketers in English cricket currently and here are the major reasons why they have reached this stage in the toughest format of the game.
PRIORITISING WHITE-BALL CRICKET
Since England’s disastrous World Cup campaign in 2015 in Australia, the England Cricket Board (ECB) made white-ball cricket their priority. Back in 2015, England were playing cricket that was outdated and their approach needed to change instantly. In came Eoin Morgan as the captain of the white-ball team and he led the resurgence. Since then, England has by far been the best white-ball in the world and the World Cup win in 2019 was proof of their dominance.
Even if you look at their recently adopted rotation policy, players have been rested in Test cricket whereas Eoin Morgan has always had all his best players available to him in the build-up to the T20 World Cup later in the year. Joe Root has always had to be content with players coming and going out of the Test team to make them available for the limited-overs matches.
DIFFICULT CONDITIONS TO BAT IN
County cricket in the past few years has been notoriously difficult for batters to get any runs. The conditions are heavily in the favour of seam bowling and bowlers who bowl around 75-85 miles per hour and can move the ball both ways are practically impossible to play in those conditions. This is one of the biggest reasons why none of the English batters come into international cricket on the back of truckloads of runs.
On the flip side, the bowlers who picked up plenty of wickets in the county circuit don’t end up being successful internationally as on the highest level the wickets aren’t heavily in the favour of the bowlers and you need more skill to pick up wickets in Test cricket. So with this approach, English cricket isn’t preparing either the bowlers or batters for international cricket.
One of the biggest issues currently in English cricket is the current scheduling. They have put all their eggs in the basket of The Hundred and remarkably with a high profile Test series going on, England doesn’t have any domestic red-ball cricketers to choose from. The players are being plucked from The Hundred and are drafted into the Test team. That in no way is ideal preparation for a Test series against India.
LACK OF SPINNERS IN THE GAME
As mentioned earlier, conditions in County cricket are heavily swing-bowling friendly. It not only makes batting difficult, but it also makes it impossible for spinners to come into the game. The matches get over in less than three days and spinners barely get any chance to get a spell in. In Test cricket, we have seen how important a role a spinner plays and England in the previous few matches haven’t fielded even a single spinner in the playing XI.
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