In his first column as a Betway ambassador, the four-time Ashes winner reveals how England can turn around the series at Lord's.
Keep backing Jason Roy
Heading into the second Test after a loss in the first, I want to back Jason Roy. The way that he played was why he was picked.
I did exactly the same.
At the start of my international career, I was chucked into the bullring in Johannesburg in South Africa and I had to prove my mettle in a high-pressured environment in ODI cricket.
Roy has just come off a World Cup where he was fantastic. He has played some beautiful innings in the one-day team – particularly that 180 at Melbourne in 2018 – and has had fantastic success in one-day international cricket.
In his first Test match against Australia, Roy was picked to play the way he plays.
David Warner plays that way, Chris Gayle plays that way. Virender Sehwag played that way.
It would be very, very dangerous to start trying to change the way that Roy plays because of that dismissal against Nathan Lyon on day five.
I compare it to Tim Paine’s dismissal in the previous innings, when he went forward to Moeen Ali, went to block it, and it knocked his leg stump out the ground.
Who’s to say that the ball from Lyon wouldn’t have knocked Roy’s stumps out of the ground if he just went forward to prod it?
I never defended on day five of The Oval Test match in 2005, so I don’t see why England players should do that now.
So early on in the day, when runs are there to be had, I prefer to see a player try to actually get on with the game.
If he gets a few – if he had got a dashing 120 or 130 – England might have gone close.
I don’t want to see Roy, being the player that he is, walk out there and think that he has got to defend on day five of a Test match.
He’s going to get out. The way he plays, it’s going to look ugly at times.
But, with the right captaincy, the right backing, and the media getting off his back, I’m sure he’ll succeed because he’s so bloody good.
I desperately want a series turnaround to be possible for this team, because English cricket has had such an amazing summer so far.
With the World Cup final going onto terrestrial TV and getting millions of viewers, the game of cricket is going from strength to strength.
It would be quite a damp squib if they don’t get back into this series.
But that comes with lots of pressures, it comes with expectation.
The last couple of weeks haven’t been amazing, they haven’t gone according to plan by any stretch of the imagination.
But I do believe that they can beat Australia. They had them 122/8 in the first innings, so there are still positive signs that they can get the job done.
Jofra Archer can be the difference
I was completely flummoxed by the fact that Jofra Archer wasn’t picked at Edgbaston.
I mean, he bowls 90-95 miles per hour, he’s got an unbelievable short ball, he bowls beautiful lengths.
I would have picked him ahead of Woakes.
When you get on to a flat wicket, you need to have the ability to turn to somebody that can bowl fast spells of bowling and intimidate the batsmen.
Jofra Archer will intimidate Steve Smith – no player likes somebody bowling at 90-95 miles per hour at their head.
No top batsmen are scared by pace, but they don’t like it.
I once heard Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer talk about how they thrived on pace, how they loved it. I looked at those comments and said, ‘Just shut up. Don’t talk absolute nonsense’.
No-one loves it, and no-one thrives on it, but you have to deal with it. And if your foundations get rocked by it, then you’ve got a huge issue. A real, real big issue.
It was just ridiculous that they didn’t pick Archer. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Changes for Lord’s
When you pick your first Test match XI to beat Australia and you lose, you don’t change your team unless injury forces you to.
The only change should have been Jofra Archer in for James Anderson.
I’ve never thought that Moeen Ali is a particularly good Test spinner. I think he’s a good one-day spinner.
But if you don’t have the doosra, you can’t create pressure. When a batsman can run down the wicket and just slog you over cow corner whenever he wants to, that’s not a great sign.
I’m dumbfounded by how many wickets he does take given he doesn’t have a doosra.
And, as a right-handed batsman facing a bowler who doesn’t have a doosra, you’re licking your lips. I think that’s what the Australians, particularly Steve Smith, were doing.
But if he was in your best XI last week, what has he done so wrong that he’s now not in your best XI next week?
If you lose two Test matches, then you might think that maybe we need to make a tactical change.
But surely somebody can’t become unselectable one Test match into a series. I don’t believe in that at all.
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