England must dominate all forms of game to be declared a great team: Pringle

Sunday, January 9, 2011

SYDNEY - One Ashes success, or even two in a row as it now is, does not a great team make and, having conquered Australia, captain Andrew Strauss must now set his sights on England beating other teams in other tournaments, feels former player and now Telegraph columnist Derek Pringle.

The World Cup, in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is next, and a win would complete an impressive and unprecedented triple over 12 months for England, following their Twenty20 and Ashes successes.

“They play India at home this summer, and will need different skills and mindset to those employed here if they are to beat them. It is a challenge, but the Strauss-Andy Flower axis is good at learning from mistakes,” says Pringle in The Telegraph.

“The World Cup should not want for the team’s full attention but the one-day series in Australia that begins next week will provide a good test of their abilities to do the hard yards after the main prize has been won,” he adds.

“The leadership team of Strauss and Flower is crucial. Belief in a goal is half the battle and with his team of coaches preparing the players as never before, it was reached with capacity to spare. By contrast, Australia appeared as disparate as England used to when players left their counties on a Tuesday evening to meet up on Wednesday afternoon for a net before Thursday’s start in the Test - a rabble,” Pringle says.

“At the moment, Strauss’s captaincy is strong on leadership and strategy but weak on tactics and instinct, though that will improve over time. If England are to start winning Test series in India and Sri Lanka, he will occasionally need to improvise on the field and not rely solely on well-laid plans coming to fruition,” he added.

Strauss will have a major input, but the team for the first Test next summer presents a poser, now that Paul Collingwood has retired and five pace bowlers have played their part in keeping the urn.

Eoin Morgan is best placed to replace Collingwood, but at six not five, given that the improvement in Ian Bell’s form must surely mean he is promoted. Others who might be considered are James Hildreth, from Somerset, and James Taylor, of Leicestershire, though both would have to start the county season well to challenge.

The bowling will be more difficult as nobody has made an easy case for exclusion. Stuart Broad found wickets difficult to come by, but he was injured before playing on the pitches at Perth and Melbourne that would have suited him.

Steve Finn was dropped, but he retains the happy knack of taking wickets when not at his best. He is only 21 and still learning, which is why Flower was quick to praise the 14 wickets he took here.

Tim Bresnan was rock solid, with the added advantage that people underestimate him, as Australia did with drastic consequences at the MCG when he took four wickets in their second innings.

If all are fit, the likely trio of pacemen for the Cardiff Test against Sri Lanka, give Graeme Swann’s monopoly of the spinner’s role, is likely to be James Anderson, Broad and Chris Tremlett.

If that sounds too tall for some, bear in mind Clarke’s lament at Friday’s post-series press conference when he regretted not having more practice against tall bowlers.

The last frontier for the great Aussie teams of the past 20 years was India and to win there England may need to find Swann a companion spinner, or at least an all-rounder who can do a decent job.

At the moment, Monty Panesar is England’s most likely second spinner with Adil Rashid in the wings, but to play him for anyone but Anderson automatically weakens the batting.

Scott Borthwick is a talented leg-spinner at Durham, who rips it more than Rashid, but who does not play often enough to make the quantum leap in improvement needed to play international cricket.

But if England are to win a Test series in India, consistently the toughest challenge in world cricket, his potential needs to be tapped, and quickly. (ANI)

Filed under: Cricket

will not be displayed