"Only 1 batsman has been dropped" - Michael Vaughan slams Ben Stokes-led England for backing players

Updated - 03 Mar 2024, 07:31 PM

Michael Vaughan, Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum
Michael Vaughan, Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum [PC: X/Twitter]

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has spoken about a poignant topic after the Three Lions lost the Test series against India. England lost the Test series 3-1 to India leading to a loss of crucial WTC points. Heading into the fifth and final Test match in Dharamsala, the visitors are staring at a possible 4-1 series defeat.

In his recent column for the Telegraph, Vaughan spoke about how Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes have given an extended run to players despite them not performing. He took the example of England batter Alex Lees to specify the longer rope given to Jonny Bairstow despite his poor number in this Test series so far.

So far in the Test series against India, Bairstow has scored just 170 runs across eight innings at an average of 21.25. He has looked good every time he has walked out to bat but could not play a big innings yet for his team in this series. Bairstow will play his 100th Test match if he plays in the next Test in Dharamsala.

“I do wonder, though, if this England setup takes backing a bit too far. Since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over, only one batsman has been dropped, and even that was the tamest dropping you will ever see,” Vaughan wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

“England inherited Alex Lees from the previous regime and gave him a crack, but always had their eye on Ben Duckett to open with Zak Crawley so simply moved Lees on at the end of their first summer,” Vaughan said on how Crawley and Duckett were always backed as England’s first-choice openers in Test cricket.

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After repeated failures, Crawley scored the most runs for England in the 2023 Ashes series. So far in this series, he has scored 328 runs in 8 innings at an average of 41.00, the most by an England batter.

Complacency Can Be Damaging: Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan further said that the management should keep a check on the form of the players and should keep telling them to perform under tough situations.

“Ultimately, on any sporting team’s road to greatness, you need a moment, a rod, where every player realises ‘Wow, maybe I’m not part of the furniture’. As soon as people think they are part of the furniture it creates a bit of comfortable complacency, which can be damaging,” added the former England skipper.

Vaughan also highlighted England’s struggles with the bat in the series so far. He said that the team has batted better in the first innings and ordinarily in the second.

“Overall, as a batting unit England have seemed in need of a reminder that Test cricket is a two-innings game. They have consistently been batting well in one, then screwing up the other. Ultimately, the game is about winning and England are struggling to do that against the very best sides. This week, with some extra pressure on selection, they would do well to remember that,” Vaughan concluded saying.

The fifth Test starts on March 7 with England trailing 3-1 in the series. They are languishing at the eighth position of the WTC points table.

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