We’re not in the habit of paying much heed to public pronouncements from cricketers. You can say what you like. It’s not the same as actually doing something.
We could say that we beat Thor at chess yesterday, but it’s transparently a lie. We would never play chess.
However, we did like something that Andrew Strauss said today. Whether there’s anything behind it or not, it reflected a certain way of thinking at the very least.
“My belief is we want to see players who think on their feet out in the middle; who take responsibility for the situation and don’t leave it to someone else.
“The only way we can do that is to give them more responsibility off the field as well. I’m challenging my players to start thinking a bit more about what they need to do in terms of preparation and I’m giving them a lot more flexibility to do that.”
Cricketers, particularly England’s cricketers, need to think for themselves more. If you’re competing in international cricket, you’re an elite sportsman. That’s not ‘elite’ in the sense that you get paid more – which seems to be the primary meaning these days. It means you’re supposed to be better than everyone else.
England’s cricketers should be setting their own standards rather than meeting the tick box requirements of their coaches/carers.
If you want to be the best in the world at something, you need to know more than anyone else about it. You need to be the authority on the subject. If you’re meeting your coach’s requirements then they know as much as you do. Really you should be setting the pace.
We don’t expect players to invent new deliveries or anything, but if the entire squad is striving for a certain standard as ‘the ultimate’, the opposition only needs to be slightly better than that to win. Aim higher.