The English cricket team is going through one rough phase. And their downfall has been rather drastic. Just last year, they seemed on top of their game after trouncing Australia 3-0 at home. They headed to Australia for the return series as favourites. However, the Aussies found their mojo and thrashed the Englishmen 5-0. It was an embarrassment England found difficult to shallow, and seem to be reeling under the pressure of that defeat even now. They could have redeemed themselves in the Tests at home again Sri Lanka, who are traditionally weak travellers. However, English cricket hit a new low as they allowed Lanka to register their maiden series win in England.
The problems for England have only multiplied ever since they arrived in Australia. It all began with Jonathan Trott pulling out of the Ashes in Australia citing a stress related fracture, and things have only got worse for England since. Kevin Pietersen's career was brought to an end following the Ashes debacle, Graeme Swann announced his retirement while Monty Panesar started making news for nonsense reasons. All this has severely impacted the English team's performance. Although all of them fared poorly, the team has definitely missed experienced and match-winning players like them.
At his peak, Pietersen was England's must destructive batsman in the side. Although he may have been past his prime, he could still have contributed something to England cricket had he been around. But, things took an ugly turn with ECB believing it was time to move on. The retirement of Swann has proved to be an equally big setback. Every team needs a match-turning spinner and, over the last few years, Swann had done that job to perfection for England. With James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Swann formed a terrific trio. Things are nowhere close to the same for Moeen Ali although the young lad is trying his best. How England would have loved Panesar to be around. But, the left-arm spinner is fighting a different battle altogether.
England still have a few seniors in the current squad, but the story remains the same. Alastair Cook looks a pale shadow of his former self. He hasn't scored a century in over a year, and hasn't look comfortable at all out in the middle. The pressure on Cook is growing with every failure, and with the team's fortunes also dwindling, things are getting worse for him. The fall of Ian Bell has also been equally drastic. From the highs of the Ashes at home to the lows of the bashes since, Bell has struggled inexplicably. For someone of his experience, it is bizarre that he is falling into a set trap time and again.
Matt Prior is another senior whose position has been under the scanner for a while now. He has only one half-century to his name in recent times, and has been abysmal behind the stumps as well. Prior confirmed that he is not in the best frame of mind, and is also struggling with injury issues by pulling out of the remainder of India series. If Cook and Bell also continue their poor run in the upcoming games, questions will be raised about their places in batting line up irrespective of their achievements. Clearly, England's cup of woes is overflowing.
--By A Cricket Analyst