England’s Ashes flops deserve ‘MEDALS’ for playing a five-match series in bubble conditions, says coach Paul Collingwood, who insists Joe Root’s underprepared and ‘mentally fatigued’ side were ‘SITTING DUCKS’ in Australia
- Paul Collingwood admitted mistakes had been made in the Ashes in Australia
- But he claims Australia received a ‘mentally fatigued’ England side Down Under
- He claims two Tests in the winter and three next year would have worked better
- And he claimed Joe Root’s men deserve medals for playing, not criticism
Paul Collingwood says England’s players deserve medals not criticism for taking on Australia in bubble conditions this winter – and that the Ashes should have comprised just two Tests.
‘Yes, we made mistakes, 100% we made selection mistakes, we made toss mistakes, but the fact we actually turned up and agreed a five-match Ashes series, the guys should be given medals for that,’ Collingwood said.
‘It would’ve been much better if we’d done two matches and then three next year. That would’ve been a great compromise.
Paul Collingwood says England’s players deserve medals not criticism for taking on Australia in bubble conditions
Ex-allrounder claims Australia faced a touring side that was ‘mentally fatigued’ this winter
‘But no, Australia were not bothered that they were going to receive an England team who were mentally fatigued, they just wanted to get the product out there. They just wanted the Ashes. We were sitting ducks.’
Collingwood, who as assistant to England coach Chris Silverwood is leading the Twenty20 tour of the Caribbean because of its overlap with the 4-0 defeat down under, continued: ‘Resilience is a major quality you need to have when you go to Australia and if your resilience is removed – because of the conditions you’ve been in – that has an effect.
‘These guys don’t deserve criticism. They should be told ‘well done’ for even going. It’s the equivalent of the England football team being asked to go to a World Cup, then from that bubble into the Euros. Would you expect a performance in that scenario? It’s ludicrous.
Collingwood claims two Test in the winter and three next year would have been a ‘great compromise’
‘I am sure people are sick to death of hearing about bubbles but the harsh reality of what we were expected to do was: two years of bubbles, finish the 2021 home season and then go to a World Cup where for six weeks the bubble was even tighter, then do a two-week quarantine, and go into the Ashes with two days of on-field practice.
‘We didn’t even see the lads who came from England until four days before the Ashes started.’
Such herding from one restricted environment to the next has raised fears in Collingwood that leading players will either burn out or opt for careers on the T20 franchise circuit if it continues.
Since the global pandemic was declared in March 2020, England have had 169 scheduled days of international cricket: 40% more than India, the team with next most, and double that of Australia, who have played the least of the nine World Test Championship sides.
England have had 169 scheduled days of international cricket: 40% more than India
Of the mental fatigue of living in each other’s pockets and having no form of escapism, Collingwood continued: ‘You can’t even explain what it’s like until you experience it.
‘Take someone like Chris Woakes. The most loveable and down-to-earth guy. I have seen him in some serious mental states. We have seen Ben Stokes, someone we consider to be the most mentally tough cricketer in the world, hit by this.
‘I just hope there are no ramifications moving forward because when they come, they won’t be obvious next week or the week after. These are things that might come out down the line. That’s what scares me.’
Collingwood said Chris Woakes (R) and Ben Stokes (L) had been hit hard last year
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