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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

England must not be fooled into papering over the cracks

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss was totally accurate when he greeted the 3-0 Test series defeat against Pakistan by saying: “You don’t become a bad side overnight.”
He is spot on because overnight all you can have achieved is a poor day’s play – ‘a bad day at the office’ as the favoured cliche goes.
No you become a bad side over a longer period of time – in this case three weeks.
England went to the Emirates as the No1Test side – a mantle they have only just managed to retain – and as runaway favourites to win the series after their successes in India.
So to lose the series has to be construed as an abject failure, but to be whitewashed? As Janice from television’s Friends would say: ‘OH MY GOD!’
Sadly what Strauss was trying to say was that things are not as bad as they might seem.
This to me is a dangerous approach as, while England might still be the world’s best Test outfit in terms of rankings, the series against Pakistan revealed some cracks that really do not want to be papered over.
It was the first time that Pakistan had managed a series whitewash against England, it was the first time in over 100 years that a team won a Test after scoring fewer than 100 runs in their first innings, and no England batsman scored a century in the three-match series.
And it is with the batsmen that the major problems appear to rest.

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