England’s sustained excellence in Ashes praiseworthy: Roebuck

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SYDNEY - England deserves enormous credit for the sustained excellence of their cricket in this series. It has been a team without heroes or egos, a hard-working, tough, thoughtful and committed outfit that has avoided bleating and inexorably crushed a shaky opponent, said noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck.

In a syndicated column for the Sydney Morning Herald, Roebuck said: “Watching them has given pleasure to all save the most one-eyed observer, a breed not unknown in either nation. Andrew Strauss’s side has been a cut above the glamorous Pommy outfits seen in the 1980s, an era whose failings were hidden by the emergence of a handful of gifted players.”

“It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work and several African coaches, but finally England have regained the grit that was for so many decades their hallmark,” he added.

“Now it is Australia’s turn to reflect upon their failings. Except in Perth, Ricky Ponting’s side have been outclassed. Nor can locals be confident that the pain will be short-lived. By the look of things the malaise is widespread,” he said.

“Australia can begin a revival by acknowledging the superiority of the well-drilled touring team, superiority evident as much off the field as on it. The teacher has become the pupil. Strauss’s side have taught the locals many lessons, not least in the attention they pay to detail,” Roebuck said.e said that England’s selectors have been more astute.

“The touring party was carefully chosen and each player was assigned a role. Steve Finn’s stack of wickets in Brisbane alone denied Ajmal Shahzad an opportunity on an Adelaide track that suits his skidders. Tim Bresnan’s mastery of reverse swing secured him a place at the MCG, whose scarred surface of course assisted the practice. The hosts often looked amateurish in comparison,” he added.

“Contrastingly, Ponting’s ill-chosen team have floundered. Cricket captains tend to get an excess of credit and blame. He will come under scrutiny but the think tank cannot escape examination: coaches, chairmen and selectors can make a captain’s job easier or a great deal more difficult,” he concludes. (ANI)

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