Don’t hang Duncan

Reading through the comments on yesterday’s post, I’m getting a distinct sense that Duncan Fletcher is going to be made the scapegoat for England’s defeat at Adelaide, unless England can turn around the series.

That would be grossly unfair to Duncan. England’s batsmen got themselves into this hole. It wasn’t Duncan Fletcher that came out and pushed, prodded and poked for half an hour while Warne got his rythm and line- it was Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell.

Strauss, for a former England captain, is particularly deserving of censure since he should know better. He certainly should not have had to be told that he needed to get a move on, and if he did need to be told, then it is the captain that had to tell him to get a move on.

England’s whole approach smacked of poor preparation. They had batted well enough last night, and presumed that was enough. However, batting for a draw requires a subtle change of mental approach, requiring new goals to be set without sacrificing that sense of positive play that keeps the opponents off balance.

Australia went into day five with the goal of bowling England out during the day- not to win the Test, just to let England know that they weren’t to be dominated so easily. England do not seem to have entered day 5 with a specific goal in mind.

And that’s the captain’s fault, not Fletcher’s. It must be something in England that Flintoff is too big a hero to be held to account for this defeat, but it seems pretty obvious to me that it is Flintoff, and his players, who has stuffed up.

Edit- That’s not to say that Fletcher hasn’t made some shocking decisions on this tour. However, at the start of this morning, England had what chessplayers would call a ‘book draw’ and they blew it. That wasn’t Fletcher’s fault.

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