Monday, December 18, 2006

So What Went Wrong?

The silver lining for Chris Read, Monty Panesar and Andrew Strauss's captaincy ambitions is that when the history of how England surrendered the Ashes in 2006 is written, it will conclude that they were "not guilty".

The same cannot be said of Flintoff and Fletcher. Selectors are usually very reluctant to change a winning side. Panesar, Read and Strauss were the men in possession and to replace them was what Sir Humphrey Appleby would have described as "a courageous decision".

Strauss had just led England to a revenge victory against a dangerous Pakistan. He inherited a side that had failed to beat a vulnerable Sri Lankan team and was bereft of its talismatic all-rounder. Read has scored runs at crucial times since his recall, while Panesar is England's most dangerous spinner since Phil Tufnell and at 24 can only get better. What did these players do wrong?


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