The Ashes 2017/18: England All Set for Ashes Without Knowing Their Best XI – Andrew Strauss
England after winning the Test series against South Africa and Windies is all set for the tour of Australia in less than a month’s time, but England’s director of Cricket and a former captain Andrew Strauss said they would go into the Ashes without knowing their best XI.
The batting order has been brittle, and some of the youngsters who recently made their debuts like Tom Westley, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan were not convincing enough during the series against the Windies.
Meanwhile, Gary Ballance and opener Keaton Jennings have also failed to cement their places, and though all five of them are in the reckoning for the Ashes, it will be interesting to see who of them takes the field for the 1st Test scheduled in Brisbane from November 22.
“There are two or three places up for grabs, which is never ideal and our consistency hasn’t been what we want,” Strauss said. “The two are probably pretty closely linked really, aren’t they? There are going to be opportunities for guys to make a very strong case for a long-term England career based on performing well when it really counts in Australia, but I’d be lying if I said we were going with absolute clarity on what our best XI is. We’re just not in that position at the moment.
“I would resist any narrative that says we have been chopping and changing. Most of these guys had a good length in the team and would hold their hand up and say it wasn’t a bad decision to remove them for a bit. I think the reality is that the secret to a long England career is not how good you are, it is how consistent you are, and those guys have not been consistent enough,” the former captain was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Strauss who remains one of the only three England captains to lead England to an Ashes victory in Australia in 2010-11, feels Joe Root who has been handed over the captaincy pretty recently will face a stern test, and the upcoming tour will be a huge series in evolving himself as the skipper of the Test team.
“It’s the biggest challenge an England captain will ever have,” Strauss noted.
“There’s all sorts of reasons for that. A lot of them are off-field. You are living in this incredible bubble for a long period; everything is directed towards you as England captain in terms of being responsible for what’s happening on the pitch. But also the conditions in Australia are very changeable from one venue to another, to different periods in the game and you need to be able to adapt to those conditions you see in front of you.
“That is why at the back end if you are able to win – certainly for me it was my greatest moment as an England captain, and I think Joe will be incredibly motivated to do that early in his captaincy career. He’s got a great chance; he’s started brilliantly. He’s shown that he’s very much his own man, he’s got his own way of thinking about the game and that will stand him in very good stead in Australia.”
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