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England - Ashes holders but never world beaters


England_Ashes_Test_cricket_World_beater_best_teamWell done England, on winning the Ashes. Well done England, on coming back from a 0-5 whitewash in Australia to reclaim the urn on home turf. Well done England, on doing it all without KP.

With that aside, down to the real story here. England proved they can play and produce some big moments, but dominate the Test arena for any length of time they never will. Take away Anderson’s 6/47 in the 3rd Test and Broad’s 8/15 in the 4th, and an out-of-sorts Aussie team could well have won this series even with a couple of Marsh’s.

I mean, just look at how England’s top players performed this series:

(Number denotes where they finished in the overall tally of runs and wickets between the two teams)

Batsmen :

3: Root – 460 runs – Ave 57.50 (2x100 – 2x50)
5: Cook – 330 runs – Ave 36.66 (0x100 – 2x50)
6: Ali – 293 runs – Ave 36.62 (0x100 – 2x50)
7: Bell – 215 runs – Ave 26.87 (0x100 – 3x50)
8: Stokes – 201 runs – Ave 25.12 (0x100 – 2x50)

Just one batsman averaging over 40! And that batsman the only one to get a century… Pretty average.

Bowlers :

1: Broad – 21 wickets – Ave 20.90
5: Finn – 12 wickets – Ave 22.50
6: Ali – 12 wickets – Ave 45.50
7: Stokes – 11 wickets – Ave 33.45
8: Anderson – 10 wickets – Ave 27.50

They were better with the ball, but it hardly screams dominance. Anderson was good in one innings, Stokes had a spell in the middle, Finn was handy and Broad solid to spectacular, but as a unit there were some real flat patches here.

Perhaps a redundant thing to claim after the fact, but the Aussies lost this Ashes series as much as the English won it. And when you add this latest English performance to unconvincing series against West Indies and New Zealand from recent months, England still have more questions than answers when it comes to their abilities.


The fact of the matter is that they just don’t have the stones to be Test world beaters, and do what teams like the West Indies, Australia and South Africa have done in the past. No matter what England achieves in Test cricket, it is fleeting, as they just don’t seem to possess the one quality that sets the good from the great apart – consistency.

Consistency in all areas really. England invented the game and has been playing it since day one. If there were ever going to be a nation of players who could have a good dig at the all-time best lists, it would be England. So let’s look at the most prolific batsmen and bowlers in Test cricket of all time:

Batsmen :

1: Tendulkar 15921 runs
2: Ponting 13378 runs
3: Kallis 13289 runs
4: Dravid 13288 runs
5: Sangakkara 12400 runs
6: Lara 11953 runs runs
7: Chanderpaul 11867 runs
8: Jayawardene 11814 runs
9: Border 11174 runs
10: S Waugh 10927 runs

As you can see, none of the ten batting legends of the game above were raised on sausages and mash. 12th place is where Cook does his bit for queen and country, but at an average of 46.41, he’s a bit off the pace.

Bowlers :

1: Muralitharan 800 wickets
2: Warne 708 wickets
3: Kumble 619 wickets
4: McGrath 563 wickets
5: Walsh 519 wickets
6: Kapil Dev 434 wickets
7: Hadlee 431 wickets
8: Pollock 421 wickets
9: Singh 417 wickets
10: Akram 414 wickets

Again, none of the top ten of all-time are from a country that experiences 6-8 days of summer per annum. Jimmy Anderson comes close though, in 11th place with an (average) average of 29.38. Go Jimmy!


So what is holding the Poms back? I think it’s simply a DNA thing. Mediocre doesn’t seem to unsettle these guys, and the saying “even a broken clock is right twice a day” describes how they have attained success over the years, and they seem cool with this.

They have had the players, and certainly the resources, but it never leads to anything long term in the success stakes.

Maybe you think I’m talking a whole lot of bollocks, needlessly putting some names and numbers on a page to fill a space. Maybe this is a new dawn for the Three Lions and they are going to turn the corner and show that consistency is something that will embody their play going forward.

Well, with away Test tours against Pakistan and South Africa as their next assignments, my theory is going to be put to the test, and they couldn’t have asked for better opportunities to prove me wrong.

We shall wait and see.

England’s Test inconsistency over the last 10 years :

May-June 2005: Beat Bangladesh 2-0 (home)
July-September 2005: Beat Australia 2-1 (home)
November-December 2005: Lost to Pakistan 0-2 (away)
March 2006: Drew with India 1-1 (away)
May-June 2006: Drew with Sri Lanka 1-1 (home)
July-August 2006: Beat Pakistan 3-0 (home)
November 2006-January 2007: Lost to Australia 0-5 (away)
May-June 2007: Beat West Indies 3-0 (home)
July-August 2007: Lost to India 0-1 (home)
December 2007: Lost to Sri Lanka 0-1 (away)
March 2008: Beat New Zealand 2-1 (home)
May-June 2008: Beat New Zealand 2-0 (home)

July-August 2008: Lost to South Africa 1-2 (home)
December 2008: Lost to India 0-1 (away)
February-March 2009: Lost to West Indies 0-1 (away)
July-August 2009: Beat Australia 2-1 (home)
December 2009-January 2010: Drew with South Africa 1-1 (away)
March 2010: Beat Bangladesh 2-0 (away)
May-June 2010: Beat Bangladesh 2-0 (home)
July-August 2010: Beat Pakistan 3-1 (home)
November 2010-January 2011: Beat Australia 3-1 (away)
May-June 2011: Beat Sri Lanka 1-0 (home)
July-August 2011: Beat India 4-0 (home)

January-February 2012: Lost to Pakistan 0-3 (away)
March-April 2012: Drew with Sri Lanka 1-1 (away)
May-June 2012: Beat West Indies 2-0 (home)
July-August 2012: Lost to South Africa 0-2 (home)
November-December 2012: Beat India 2-1 (away)
March 2013: Drew with New Zealand 0-0 (away)
July-August 2013: Beat Australia 3-0 (home)
November 2013-January 2014: Lost to Australia 0-5 (away)
June 2014: Lost to Sri Lanka 0-1 (home)
July-August 2014: Beat India 3-1 (home)
April-March 2015: Drew with West Indies 1-1 (away)
May-June 2015: Drew with New Zealand 1-1 (home)
July-August 2015: Beat Australia 3-2 (home)





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Ben Karpinski is a South African sports blogger/MC/tweeter with a heart so broken by the Proteas, t...

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