Former England opener Sir Geoffrey Boycott expressed his concerns for England ahead of the Ashes given the fragile nature of their batting line-up. England’s twin batting failures in the fourth Test against India put their batters under the spotlight again as they conceded a lead in the series.
England failed to take full advantage of the favorable batting conditions in the first innings at the Oval. Although the bowlers skittled India for 190 after Joe Root sent the visitors in to bat, the English batsmen could only put together a 99-run lead. In the second innings as well, the hosts failed to capitalize on a 100-run opening stand.
The team’s middle-order crumbled in their pursuit of India’s total of 368, collapsing from 141-2 to end with 210 runs. Sir Geoffrey Boycott opines that Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will be licking their lips to bowl to England’s batsmen. Boycott feels England’s batters must confront their weaknesses as they are crumbling far too often. Boycott wrote in his column for The Telegraph:
“The Australians will have watched the footage from the Oval. Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will be queuing up to bowl at us. The England batsmen need to stand in front of a mirror and be honest with themselves. Whatever it is, change it because it is not working. Everybody has nerves, expectations and heightened emotions when batting but we have to conquer them and play well. Our guys just collapse under pressure.”
The Ashes 2021-22 starts on December 8 at the Gabba. England last won a Test Down Under in 2011 and suffered 5-0 and 4-0 defeats in their last two visits to Australia.
Put bluntly, England are not good enough: Sir Geoffrey Boycott
Sir Geoffrey Boycott also stated that England’s Test team is poor because they are overly reliant on Root to score runs. The 81-year-old admits that the rest of the team barely survive at the crease. He wrote:
“Put bluntly, England are not good enough. When England win, you feel Joe has to bat exceptionally well to give us a chance. But to be a top team you can’t be a one-man band. Other guys have to stand up and do the business. Most England cricket supporters sit on the edge of their seats when we are batting wondering how the hell are we going to play. They don’t have confidence in our batsmen,”
England have a chance to draw the Test series against India in the fifth Test in Manchester.