Monday, 11 May 2015

England - Pretenders or a Case Study of Crisis Management?

England, the romantic birthplace of International Cricket.  Where the MCC is based and where grounds such as Lord's and The Oval stir cricketing loins the world over.

But the owners of the Rights to the name Cricket are in turmoil.  Badly so.  I'm sure all cricket followers have been, and are, watching the crisis that pervades not only the game there, but the people that govern it.  In modern times it seems like the Old Boy's are succumbing to the practices that now rule the game world wide outside of England, and they're fighting it instead of letting nature take it's course and developing a game there that the players want, a team the players would be proud to play in, and not alienating a deep rooted cricketing public with their silly nonsense.

I have been watching closely the destruction to the English team and hierarchy with interest.  It almost mirrors New Zealand's slip into dark days after the Fleming era and pre Brendon McCullum.  No consistency of selections, outspoken, yet talented players shunned, coaches coming and going, and results on the board not materialising.  New Zealand slipped down the test ranking ladder and almost ended up behind Bangladesh, not that I see that happening to England just yet.  Sitting 4th on the ladder is a fair statement that all seems alright, but this year England are faced with two tough test series ahead at home, seemingly in disarray.  The first is a niggly two test series versus a resurgent New Zealand, the second a no win Ashes series.  Having come off a drawn series in the Caribbean that they should have won, two home series should be winning results at home.

Let's start with the New Zealand series.  As stated, New Zealand Test Cricket is on the rise (now sitting 5th on the rankings 3 points behind England) and with pitches mirroring home pitches, New Zealand should go into this series as equal favourites.  And they have redemption in mind having lost terribly there in 2013.  So how do the teams stack up in test cricket for the past 3 years:

NZ
2013
Played 4 series, won 1, drew 2, lost 1 (Eng in Eng)
2014
Played 3 series, won 2, drew 1.
2015
One series series won.

So that's a 4 won, 3 draw 1 loss record.

England
2013
Played 4 series Won 2, drew 1, lost 1.
2014
Played 2 series, Won 1, lost 1.
2015
Played one series, Drawn.

So that's a 3 won, 2 draw, 2 loss record.

One therefore would have New Zealand slightly ahead of the betting on recent results, which should be extended even more in favourtism if one was to put the crisis in their (England) team and selections in perspective, and given the opposite with New Zealand, confidence and consistency.

I saw a newspaper article online from the BBC where the writer was waxing lyrical about England's chances in the Ashes series whilst ignoring the New Zealand series.  If that writer seriously thinks that New Zealand isn't important to English cricket he's gravely mistaken.  England need to get three things right in that series:

1.  Correct selections.
2.  Unanimous support for those selections and performances
3.  Gain confidence from both.

The glaring and obvious statement in all this is that that won't happen.  Strauss is a good selection to try and turn things around but it won't happen overnight and I'm expecting despite a new coach and players, a 2 series loss this summer and England slipping below New Zealand in the rankings.   The following image is what England desires to rekindle their hopes, will they see enough of it on their home soil this year?

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