We have been here before

Hello, good afternoon sports fans, it’s Ayyaz Malik aka The Sports Buff here . Sports fans and to be more exact here, cricket fans – we need to talk, about England’s men’s team. As you would be aware The Three Lions are currently in a test series against reigning world champions of this format New Zealand.

The last time these two sides faced off in a series it would be New Zealand who would be victorious, this time however under the new captaincy of Ben Stokes, coming into the third and final test, England could achieve a whitewash.

In the winter, The Barmy Army were basking in the sun off the field, but for matters on the field, they were seeing West Indies defeat England for the series win. That series lead then captain Joe Root (who is England’s most successful in terms of test wins) to stand down, which has ushered in this new era of Brendan McCullum as coach and Ben Stokes as captain.

Interestingly, there has been no vice-captain named (despite rumours circulating it could be Kent opening-batsmen Zak Crawley). Praise the Lord this didn’t happen, but remarkably Crawley remains in the England side. Better players have been dropped for less.

Back to the issue and what I wanted to talk about though sports fans. After securing the series with one game still to play, there have been many plaudits for England’s attacking approach, but I want to speak about the need for caution.

Those who say England have a ‘new approach’, it’s fair to say this just isn’t true. Me, as an England cricket fan have been critical how the middle-order can throw their wicket away. In these two tests, this attacking approach that’s been spun could have gone either way.

What I mean is in the first test, they were all out for 141, yes they got the job done in the second test, but this is in part due to Joe Root playing out of his skin. The Yorkshire star has become the joint youngest to reach 10,000 runs.

I am not being a moody Margaret, but as much as I want to support Jack Leach (he’s in the left-handers union), he’s on borrowed time surely. There is room for optimism for this England team, but how is it Matt Parkinson not in this team? It’s beyond me.

Given one innings to prove himself, he didn’t do terribly and shunned back into the cold again. That one innings that Parkinson played was in emergency circumstances (due to Leach’s concussion) too.

The new generation, are advocates of this new year faster form of cricket. T20 and ODI’s are for that, but let test cricket be played properly. Good application, also with wits and bravery. There is at times the need to up the run-rate, counter-attack, but England at times seem obsessed to do this.

This England team is still largely Joe Root’s. Matt Potts has come in an impressed and Jamie Overton (who can bowl 90mph) is expected to make his debut. It’s players like Overton that are precious commodities these days.

The County game doesn’t produce too many, but if someone like an Overton can be given a good sustained run in the team (due to his pace), then maybe there is room for optimism after all.

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