After England’s fourth consecutive Test match defeats, a 10 minute press conference was held 11o km away in Colombo. As PR go, I’d say that was a faux pas as journalists had to endure a 3 hour round trip to obtain pearls of wisdom for their copy. Sadly, we learnt very little from it. Whether that was down to bunker mentality within the England camp or the press being too quick to question when Strauss was going to go, I don’t know as I wasn’t there.
I was here in 2001 when Nasser Hussain was wrestling with his demons. Mike Atherton tells the story in his column http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/article3368655.ece
I too saw Nasser late in the evening having a smoke and drink in the small hours. He didn’t need any help from me nor any comment and I left him in his torment without interruption. In the next Test in Kandy, Nasser scored a match winning 100. It was a good job there was no DRS as he must have been out about 10 times before reaching the century!!
The question no-one has reported on being answered was why are England’s top 6 failing collectively. I’d say the main reason was poor shot selection. Is that a result of a poor game plan or poor execution?
I’m slow to say Strauss should go but he is setting the wrong tone as leader in how he is getting out. Hoiks and premeditated sweeps mainly have been his downfall this winter. His troops are also finding too many ways to get out. How can we discipline the troops if the leader show such wastefulness?
For Colombo, I’d say to Strauss, keep your mind clear and make them get you out. The same goes for the rest of the order.
Patel’s selection is also worth a few thoughts. Was he picked as a 5th bowler who can bat or a 6th batsmen who can bowl? I thought the former but seeing England put him in at 7 made me think they chose him for the latter. He bowled more than I thought he would but then Monty was less effective than everyone thought he would. Personally, I’d choose Bresnan over Patel. Finn needs to come in for Broad and that is my XI for Colombo. I suspect England will just put Finn in fro Broad. The more conservative approach is Bresnan for Broad but we need a bit of firepower to shift the tail. The tail wagged and was the difference between the teams.