The four-time Ashes winner explains where England have gone wrong this summer, and why he fears Jack Leach is becoming a laughing stock.
Ashes defeat has been coming for four years
The overriding reason for England losing the Ashes is the ECB’s decision four years ago to target ODI cricket, and relax when it comes to Test cricket.
I never, ever agreed with that situation. Test cricket is the pinnacle and we need to do everything we can to preserve it.
I put a poll out on Twitter and people are saying they’d rather win the Ashes than win the World Cup.
I’ll ask this question again now we’ve been hammered by the Aussies.
What would you have preferred to win?
I’m ASHES all day long!
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) September 9, 2019
What’s happened now is a consequence of what happened four years ago with Andrew Strauss and his team at the ECB.
Look at how the public feel now. That attitude must change.
Jack Leach mickey-taking must stop
It’s doing my head in that a bloke who’s supposed to win games for England is becoming a laughing stock.
You’ve got people in the stands taking the mickey out of him, wearing masks and fake glasses. Commentators are talking about his Specsavers deal.
England are losing an Ashes series and he’s only taken eight wickets at 30 in three Test matches. It doesn’t look like he’s troubled anyone. It just annoys me.
During the TV coverage they showed that video of him showing everybody how he got his one run at Headingley.
Now I’m not saying that you don’t do these things. It can be good for team spirit to have a bit of fun. But from my side, I want to win.
I don’t want to see the crowd talking about how funny he is, or how funny that run was, or Specsavers. I want to see him producing on the field and I want to see him winning matches for England with his bowling.
When we beat Australia, Graeme Swann took big wickets for us. For Australia, Shane Warne and now Nathan Lyon take big wickets.
We had Monty Panesar. But Monty, who everybody laughed at when he fielded the ball, knocked over the likes of Tendulkar and Sehwag. He got big Australian wickets.
When we beat India in India, he and Swann bowled beautifully. Yes, some people laughed, but he was still doing his job.
Jack Leach isn’t doing his job.
So what does he want to be remembered as? Does he want to be remembered as this funny guy who can hold a bat, or as a match-winner for England?
How to treat a dead rubber
People say that you play for pride in situations like this, but you don’t.
I never bought into that pride thing. You are playing for your place.
The knives are out and everybody’s looking for somebody to be the sacrificial lamb. There will be people who lose their jobs because of England losing the Ashes.
I first captained England in a dead rubber against South Africa in 2008.
We had to change because Michael Vaughan relinquished the captaincy and I was just chucked in.
But suddenly everybody did feel fresh. I certainly felt fresh. I was like: ‘Wow, this is the start of something.’
I don’t think Root’s going to lose his job. I don’t see anybody else captaining England, so I think the chat about him not captaining England is silly until somebody shows me who else could do it.
None of Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler, Burns or Broad are suitable – there are no other options.
But there should still be changes to the team to freshen things up.
Chris Woakes needs to come straight back into the team.
I don’t know whose brain spark it was to leave Woakes out of the Old Trafford Test, but they probably don’t deserve to be a selector anymore.
Bringing in Overton ahead of Woakes, after everything Woakes has done this summer with the bat, with the ball and after the World Cup he had, was a bad decision.
Have a look at his Test match numbers – they’re fantastic.
In a Test match that England had to win, that selection was not good enough.
Rory Burns and Jason Roy
I have been very impressed by Rory Burns.
I played with him for a number of years at Surrey. He always asked the right questions and he trains hard.
He’s got his own technique and he backs it.
He’s done a really, really nice job at the top of the order. It’s just so nice to see that he has got that mental fortitude and fighting spirit to do things that may not look authentic but get the job done.
Burns has solidified that spot, but there are still problems with the other opening position.
I don’t think Jason Roy has helped himself at all, even at number four.
As positive as I have been about him, he needs to go and sort his technique out, because – and I hate to say it – it isn’t good enough for Test match cricket at the moment.
I’m not saying that he can’t get there, because I think he’s an amazing player.
But you can’t go hard at the ball. You’ve got to learn to defend straight, play with soft hands and pick the way the bowler’s bowling the ball.
If Pat Cummins is starting to swing the ball in you’ve got to change the way you play. You’ve got to adapt to situations.
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