James Anderson has sounded the alarm bells over England’s relationship with Test cricket, suggesting the white ball has become too dominant.
England’s most obsessed Test player has said the Poms need to reconsider their priorities, claiming their red ball games have been neglected amid a focus on improving their white ball cricket.
Only one person in history has played more than James Anderson’s 168 tests, the Indian great player Sachin Tendulkar, and he has almost 20 years of experience in the international arena to make his opinion known.
The 39-year-old has been stabbed by England’s Ashes capitulation, where the urn was handed over after just 12 days of action and three resounding defeats, and he is aware that the players themselves must take the blame.
But he has also existed long enough to have seen trends and priorities grow and decline in the sport and believes the current priorities are wrong.
English cricket underwent its outdated relationship with the game with limited overplay in the wake of a terrible show at the 2015 World Cup, and the results since are there for all to see: world champions in the same tournament four years later, world number 1 in Twenty20 cricket.
Meanwhile, Joe Root’s test team has entered a period of decline that has yielded record nine defeats in 2021 and a grossly uncompetitive performance on the tent trip in Australia.
Anderson said: “It’s hard when you’re in it, to start dissecting everything. We do not want to start thinking about the whole domestic structure and what else is.
“But what I want to say is that I just want to think that the balance between red and white ball cricket may be there going forward.
“There’s been a huge (change of) direction with white ball cricket, a big push with it since 2015. I think it’s currently tipped a bit against white ball, and it has done so for the last couple of years.
“If you look at our performance in test cricket over the last couple of years, they’ve been pretty inconsistent. So from that point of view, we can hopefully just correct that balance a little bit.”
The tempo bowler’s comments to some extent reflected those that skipper Joe Root put forward in the wake of the MCG disaster, in which England were ruled out with 68 on the third morning to lose the match by one innings.
“It’s a big part of where the game is in our country right now that the only place you can really learn (to play test cricket) is in the toughest environment for a pretty young batting group.
“They have to learn out here in the toughest environments.
“You look back at 2015 and the reset that happened in white-ball cricket, and maybe that’s something that needs to happen in our red ball game, too.”
While experts are picking the bones of England’s Ashes ve and administrators are considering potential ways to stop the roller coaster, Anderson and his teammates still have the small question of two more test matches to prepare for.
The mood at the nets has been gloomy for the past 48 hours – two days that should have seen the final acts of a Boxing Day test that did not even reach halfway – and Anderson left the usual clichés untouched as he assessed morale.
The Lancastrian has a hard-fought reputation for grumpiness, but he’s not alone at the moment.
“It certainly has not been my favorite ride. The boys are pretty flat at the moment, to be brutally honest,” he said.
“We’re 3-0 down in an Ashes series after some pretty poor performances, so it’s hard not to be flat. From that point of view, it has not been fun. We honestly came here and thought we could win. I really believe in it.We had that belief and it has been completely taken away.We have been beaten by a very good team, I must say.
“They have handled the situation and the conditions better than we have in the fights, and we just have not been able to cope with the pressure they have put on us. We have to somehow, over the next few days, turn around. it around and show people what we’re made of. “
Four years ago, Anderson set himself the challenge of another crack in Australia in their backyard after a hurtful 4-0 defeat, and although he has defied all expectations of doing so, he will leave for the last time with the same bitter taste.
“I know I said it last time, but I would be very surprised if I were here in four years!” he said.
“Of course I did not want it to be my last memory of Australia, so I came back and this will be it.”
Vodafone men’s ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson , David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, David Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes , Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First test: Australia won by nine wickets
Second test: Australia won by 275 races
Third test: Australia won by one innings and 14 runs
Fourth test: 5.-9. January, SCG
Fifth test: January 14-18, Blundstone Arena