England suffered a massive defeat by 340 runs at the hands of South Africa in the second Test at Trent Bridge. The match was pretty much a one sided affair that saw the Proteas bundle out the hosts for just 133 in the fourth innings during the chase of 473 runs with over 180 overs to survive. The series now stands 1-1.
The manner in which the loss was inflicted has left many fans and experts in a foul mood. On a deteriorating wicket, the English batsman showed no resolve at all and surrendered meekly to the South African bowler which was unexpected.
Nasser Hussain finds selection faulty
Former skipper and commentator Nasser Hussain feels that the loss was partly due to the “abysmal” selection of the current side. He delivered this judgement keeping in mind a couple of names who are in the team despite not having the calibre to play Test format for the country.
He did not mince his words and was straight to the point claiming that Gary Ballance and other top performing names in the county cricket are simply failing to replicate their domestic form at the international level.
“The lads who are coming in aren’t doing anything,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
“They won (the first Test at Lord’s) because of Joe Root. The ones they’ve won before have been because of Root, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad in Johannesburg.
“The selectors are going to have to have a good long look at themselves because of their record in the last two years – two years ago it was one-day cricket, now in Test match cricket – their selections have been abysmal.”
“You name some lads who have come in – (James) Vince, (Ben) Duckett, (Gareth) Batty, (Zafar) Ansari, (Alex) Hales, Ballance – there is no one coming in and doing well. It is a sad indictment of county cricket that they are getting runs there and not for England.”
Ballance under fire
Ballance’s failure perfectly sums up the picture which Hussain is trying to explain. The Yorkshire skipper was on a run scoring spree before the selection panel came together to pick the squad for the ongoing series. However, the left hander hasn’t even looked confident with his approach let alone the matter of scoring runs.
Hussain states that, whether technically or mentally, nothing has changed in Ballance since last time he was dropped from the side.
But Hussain said: “Selection is not just about saying ‘Gary Ballance has 1000 first-class runs so Gary Ballance plays.’ Speak to umpires, speak to bowlers, has he actually changed? He hasn’t changed a thing and we’re getting exactly what we got the last two times.”
Botham and Boycott also agree
Geoffrey Boycott and Ian Botham also agreed with Hussain’s call for a change in the line-up. Boycott suggests that the attitude was lacklustre as no one, barring Alastair Cook, tried to stay back and fight it out.
“They need better batsmen and a better attitude,” Boycott, told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.
“Only Alastair Cook made any effort to play in the sort of the way that the situation demanded. The rest of them have a flamboyant way of playing. Play shots, whack it, hit it, get fours. Everybody keeps saying this brave new England side, attacking England side, we like to play positive and they have all got sucked into this feeling.
Botham also conceded that the selection matter needs to be closely looked after in future.
“Selections have been a bit iffy from England and from the outside looking in it seems as though Root said he wanted Ballance to play, while Dawson was Trevor Bayliss’ pick,” Botham told Sky Sports.