Jimmy Anderson wants English cricket to calm down on his aggressive push against the white-ball formats in recent years and has insisted that it is now up to the senior players to lift a test squad that is currently flat after his Ashes- humiliation.
A trip that began with Anderson believing that his last tour of Australia could replace the memories of the 4-0 loss in 2017-18, has moved into a zombified state where England are 3-0 down and they two remaining tests in Sydney and Hobart are now a case of playing for pride and World Test Championship points.
Chris Silverwood, a head coach who few expect to stay in place after a flawed trip, will miss the first of these as he isolates himself after a positive Covid case among his family. Three members of his support staff – Jon Lewis (nail bowling), Jeetan Patel (spin) and Darren Veness (fitness) – also have the virus.
In addition to leading to a lack of slings in the nets, an outbreak that has also resulted in three family members being infected represents the latest headache for a side that is 3-0 behind. It has caused an outcry over opinions on English cricket’s priorities.
Speaking for training on Thursday, Anderson initially stressed the need for minds inside the camp not to dwell on the broader problems of two tests left, only for the 39-year-old then to decide he wanted something off his chest.
“What I want to say is that I think there has been a big push with white ball cricket since the 2015 World Cup,” Anderson said. ‘So I just want to think that maybe [a better] balance between red and white ball cricket is there going forward. At that moment, it tilts slightly towards the white ball. And that has been the case for the last few 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 straighten that balance a little bit.”
Asked if the standard of County Championship cricket has dropped over the course of his 20-year professional career, Anderson replied, “There’s a little more cricket now, I think. There are more competitions to think about. I think one “Things for me are that wickets are potentially not as good as they used to be. You see a lot more results now in county cricket. So maybe, with the bigger picture, that’s something we can think about in the future.”
One could hope that the words of England’s record-test wicket-taker – now up to 639 victims after an immaculate four for 33 at MCG, which proved in vain – could resonate higher up with the England and Wales Cricket Board. The same goes for captain Joe Root, who called for a “reset” in red ball cricket in the wake of the defeat.
However, the management of the governing body is currently changing, with headhunters being deployed to fill the currently vacant role of chairman and CEO of Tom Harrison, who has chaired for the past five years and may well leave after the end of the financial year. reaches a bonus pool of £ 2.1m. expires and is shared by senior executives.
Next summer’s domestic schedule is currently being devised, and a third round of the county championship may move into mid-summer after last season’s shemozzle. But with the hundreds in place, and no competition in men’s cricket has taken place, first-class cricket will still largely receive second-class treatment.
Fresh leadership at the top may not come fast enough, though Root is likely to remain as captain of the test team so far due to sparse alternatives. “Everyone thinks so highly of him,” Anderson said. “Not just as a guy, but as a cricketer and as a captain. So yeah, hopefully he continues.
“We are aware that we have received so much good support around the world, people get up in the middle of the night to watch and we are sad that we are not performing for these people and giving them what they want. want to see. “
Asked about the motivation now, Anderson added: “The boys are pretty flat at the moment, to be brutally honest. It can be difficult, especially for guys experiencing Ashes for the first time. This is where the more senior players come in. We must gather, make sure everyone is in a good place and a good headspace to compete.
“I know I said it last time, but I would be very surprised if I were here in four years. I obviously would not [the 4-0 defeat in 2017-18] to be my last memory of Australia, so I came back here and it will be. We just have not been to the races. We have now had two matches to do something about. “