And so the ODI series is won, 4-1, and the memories of the fairly hideous Ashes defeat are somewhat dulled and blunted, pushed to the back of the cupboard to be forgotten about until the next time we need them in a few months’ time.
I’m really pleased the one day side performed so well, hitting the right mark in a range of different match situations. Curran has looked promising and it’s good to see Ali back on form. I say ‘to see’, but to be honest most of these have passed me by because there’s no way my alarm is waking me up early for pyjama cricket, no matter how important the match is, and once the Tests are done I can no longer lounge on the sofa watching of a morning, but have to hit those weekend productivity targets.
With a World Cup to prepare for, it’s fair enough that England have worked hard on getting this format of the game right. I really do say that through gritted teeth, because the game I love is Test cricket and it feels like Trevor Bayliss has neglected it.
Where do you draw the line between allowing players freedom to express themselves (cricket cliché of the post-McCullum era?) and simply neglecting to actually improve them as players? It’s great to see players having a say in their own development and direction, but I for one am disappointed that we seem to be stuck with Bayliss until the end of his contract, with him at least appearing to dictate the terms.
We all know that Bayliss doesn’t know enough about county cricket to be able to shape the direction of the Test squad, and he just doesn’t seem that incisive as a leader. From the outside, it looks a bit like he’s that wizened old Geography teacher who just let you get on with it and hoped for the best. If you all passed, great, credit to his hands off style, and when you didn’t, well, you obviously weren’t doing it right, were you? At the time, as a kid, you thought he was ace because he made jokes about the head master and let you decide whether or not to take notes or do your homework.
Then when the exams approached you realised he really actually hadn’t done his job properly.
You’d loved it; felt respected; felt trusted. Then realised that you weren’t meant to take on that burden.
It’s not that I’m against a non-English coach: at the time I was keen on Dizzy Gallespie and I’d still be happy to have him in the role now. I’m an advocate of Thorpe and Ramps, but sort of want them to be able to finish what they’ve started with the Lions before hauling them into the hotter water of full head coach responsibility.
When Trevor Bayliss was announced as head coach, Freddie and I were at Lord’s and were interviewed on Sky Sports for our views on his appointment. We both had to admit to knowing pretty much nothing about him, but we were hopeful that he might bring some positives to the England team. He certainly has brought positivity, but now I feel that he’s lacking the conviction and strength needed to see this thing through. I hope that our next three series, away and back at home, prove me well and truly wrong.