England’s cricketers: good but not invincible
The test series whitewash of India shows England are a good team, but they haven’t got the aura of a great team.
The England cricket team are No.1 in the test rankings after completing a ruthless four-nil series whitewash against India. Top of the pile in the five-day format, but how good is the current England side? In an
This England side have the ambition and hunger that characterises all champions. ‘I have never seen such a fit, disciplined and motivated team, and also a group of players who are constantly challenging themselves to improve’, wrote Warne in the Daily Telegraph. ‘Be more aggressive with fielding positions, your instructions to the bowlers and send a message, so the opposition say “jeez, these guys are at us and there is no respite”.’
‘The mark of a folklore side is to be held universally in awe’, said veteran Times cricket correspondent John Woodcock this week. England are admired and respected but are they feared? Is the bowling attack, for instance, more terrifying than the West Indies pace attack of the Eighties or the legendary Australian strike force of Lillee and Thomson? I don’t think so. Nor does this England side yet possess the aura of invincibility which surrounds the greatest test sides. Andrew Strauss has spoken about how the Aussies of old had an aura which gave them a psychological advantage over their opponents. ‘An aura is when the opposition teams, even though they are on top, are not confident they are going to beat you’, explained Strauss in 2009.
There’s nothing mystical about acquiring such an aura. Teams that very seldom get beaten eventually appear invincible. And that’s what England have to do: continue to win cricket matches at home and abroad consistently for the next few years. Only then we can start using the G-word about this England cricket team.
Duleep Allirajah is spiked’s sports columnist.
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