Off The Field

Michael Vaughan questions England team for backing players ‘a bit too far’

Written by Mohan Sharma

Former England captain, Michael Vaughan questioned if the England team management backed the players a bit too far under the captaincy of Ben Stokes. He opined that it’s important for the players to soak up the pressure of selection and perform well in the 5th Test match against India in Dharamshala.

England trail the 5-match Test series 1-4 against India, and they will look to salvage some pride when they take the field on March 7 in Dharamshala. England’s bazballers have received a lot of backing under the leadership of head coach, Brendon McCullum and captain Stokes. The only player who was dropped in these 18 months was Alex Lees, who was replaced by Ben Duckett at the top of the order.

“I do wonder, though, if this England setup takes backing a bit too far. Since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over, only one batsman has been dropped, and even that was the tamest, dropping you will ever see.England inherited Alex Lees from the previous regime and gave him a crack, but always had their eye on Ben Duckett to open with Zak Crawley so simply moved Lees on at the end of their first summer,” Vaughan said in his column with The Telegraph.

“Ultimately, on any sporting team’s road to greatness, you need a moment, a rod, where every player realises ‘Wow, maybe I’m not part of the furniture’. As soon as people think they are part of the furniture it creates a bit of comfortable complacency, which can be damaging.”

“Overall, as a batting unit England have seemed in need of a reminder that Test cricket is a two-innings game. They have consistently been batting well in one, then screwing up the other. Ultimately, the game is about winning and England are struggling to do that against the very best sides. This week, with some extra pressure on selection, they would do well to remember that.”

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Mohan Sharma