Many people – women in particular – will be familiar with that guy at work who ignores your great idea before repeating it back to you some weeks later as if it’s his own. There’s a bit of that about the England cricket team.
How many years has everyone been saying that the batsmen need to leave better and see the shine off the ball? England disagreed. They wanted to be positive. Then in New Zealand late last year they announced they’d come up with this mad new plan where they’d try and ‘bat long’.
The best teams are adaptable teams, but they’ll still tend to have a default way of playing. For many years England were essentially a conservative team and they tried to expand from that base. This worked quite well in Test cricket, but not very well in limited overs where they consistently fell short of tall targets.
England won the World Cup by consciously doing the opposite. They set out to become the ultimate flat pitch one-day side and then gradually learned to rein themselves in a bit when circumstances demanded.
Whether deliberately or not, they seemed to take the same mentality into Test cricket. There was a lot of talk of being positive and ‘taking the game on’ but it didn’t generally work too well.
Now they’re back to trying to score 400 in the first innings, no matter how long it takes.
We tried to work out at what point they forgot this was the normal way of doing things and then wrote about it for Cricket 365. You can find the article here.