Former England Test captain Michael Atherton has branded England’s Ashes team selection ‘worrying’, adding that he feels it lacks ‘cricketing common sense’.
Joe Root’ s team were hammered by arch rivals Australia in the second Test of the Ashes in Adelaide, to move the hosts 2-0 up from the opening two matches.
Both of Australia’s victories have been comfortable ones, with England often left surviving rather than competing against their old foes on away soil.
It has been no secret that Root’s side have struggled with both bat and ball in both Test matches, and England cricketing legend Atherton believes the team’s ‘worrying’ selection is a cause for concern.
Speaking on the Sky Sports Cricket podcast Atherton said: “The thinking behind the team selection here in Adelaide was really worrying and confusing.”
As a result the Lancashire legend believes a key selection blunder came with England’s choice of bowlers, as he feels the picked five seamers did not necessarily fit the Adelaide pitch.
He went on: “When you looked at the selection of that team, for this surface, four kind of new-ball bowlers, five right-arm seamers, all within a narrow range of pace, leaving out your man of extreme pace – resting him, they said he was fully fit, resting for what? They're 2-0 down – and the spinner.”
England’s bowlers were left frustrated in both of Australia’s second Test innings, as the hosts were able to declare on both occasions to leave them with a comfortable lead.
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This again left Atherton questioning the decisions of selectors, describing their choices as lacking ‘cricketing common sense’.
"It just didn't make sense. I couldn't see any situation where that selection made sense this game,” added the former captain.
“And I find that quite concerning because they must talk about the selection, obviously, ahead of the game and there is no cricketing common sense that comes up with that team on that pitch.”
As well as highlighting England’s bowling problems, he also outlined the issues the national team have had with the bat, with the top order often heavily reliant on captain Root to pile on the runs.
He added: “I'd make the point that Australia's bowling attack is excellent, and England are just not batting well enough and haven't done for a long time.
“That is partly personnel, one assumes it is partly confidence now because when you go through a period of time when you're not putting runs on the board.
“That confidence must start to drain away, but batting is an individual game and while Root is getting runs, no one else is getting enough of them – and that is simply a personnel matter.”
Root has arrived at the crease with plenty of pressure on his shoulders throughout the opening two matches of the series, most notably this week in Adelaide with England failing to post 50 runs on both occasions for their opening two wickets before Root comes in at four.
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