Former England skipper Alastair Cook, who was a part of the English side that won Down Under in 2010/11, believes England and head coach Chris Silverwood have dropped the ball big time in the first two Tests in the ongoing Ashes, and has questioned the decision-making of the management.
England, ever since Silverwood took over as head coach two years ago, had stressed on the importance of ‘planning’ for The Ashes, but injuries to Jofra Archer and Olly Stone exposed the absence of a Plan B as in the second Test in Adelaide, they fielded pretty much the same one-dimensional seam attack they did four years ago in 2017.
Cook, in the aftermath of England’s 275-run defeat in Adelaide, questioned the Three Lions’ planning and suggested that Silverwood failed to deliver on the promises he made when he took over.
"Hindsight is the easiest place to come from but we've gone into this tour with all the stuff from Chris Silverwood, saying 'we're going to be the best-prepared England team', 'we've prepared for this', 'we want to arrive with this, this and this’,” Cook said in BT Sport’s coverage, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
“Yes, there have been some circumstances they can't have avoided like the Covid situation, the weather they've had, the T20 World Cup rescheduled.
"But they turned up to play the biggest Ashes game which is the first one, where you set the tone, where you start to get in the series, and played a bowling attack that had never played before together. Where's the planning? We talk about planning but I can't see where that planning has got to."
England went into the first Test in Brisbane without the services of both Broad and Anderson, and fielded an attack of Robinson-Wood-Woakes-Leach, the first instance of the four bowlers playing together for the country. The decision backfired as Leach was hit out of the attack on a seam-friendly Gabba wicket, and Cook questioned the logic behind leaving a senior campaigner like Broad out.
"I don't think James [Anderson] was fit to play that game, so that's fine," he said. "So then you go for a guy who's got a good record at the Gabba, Stuart Broad, who you know can handle big situations, has delivered for England in the past… and you don't play him. I'm sitting there going 'really? Like, really? How's that decision been made'. To me, that's a no-brainer."
England last won a Test Down Under in 2011, and now they find themselves 2-0 down with three Tests to go. The Three Lions have now lost 11 of their last 12 Tests in Australia.
Cook claimed that visitors, across the first two Tests, made far too many mistakes.
"Ultimately, England are ruing the fact they've made too many mistakes in these two games. Their fielding isn't as good as Australia's, the decision-making off the field to get to this point hasn't been good enough, and you can't afford - on a tour like this - to make mistakes. It's such a tough tour anyway.”