Under-fire coach Duncan Fletcher admitted on Friday he had made selection blunders in choosing the England team for the disastrous Ashes series against Australia.
England face a humiliating Ashes clean sweep in next week’s final Test in Sydney after crashing to an innings and 99-run defeat inside three days at Melbourne Test. That result followed heavy losses in the Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth Tests after England arrived in Australia to defend the urn won last year.
Fletcher confessed he and captain Andrew Flintoff, who also act as tour selectors, had erred when picking sides to face the rampant Australians. “We’ve made some mistakes and we will reflect on it when we get back after the tour, like we do any other series,” he told reporters here on Friday. “We will reflect on it and make sure we try not to make those mistakes again,” he explained.
Although Fletcher would not admit to any specific mistakes, the major selection clangers were overlooking spinner Monty Panesar for the first two Tests and wicket-keeper Chris Read for the first three. The folly of favouring Ashley Giles over Panesar was shown in Perth, where Panesar took eight wickets. Read took six catches in Australia’s first innings in Melbourne and made an unbeaten 26 in the second innings when he replaced Geraint Jones, who failed with the bat in the first three Tests.
Fletcher insisted the England team spirit remained strong despite the massive innings defeat after winning the toss and he said his players were giving it their all. He admitted England had let its travelling fans down by performing poorly in all the Tests, but said it was unfair to accuse the players of not giving their best.
“You go into the change room and see how despondent they were (yesterday),” he said. “If they weren’t trying then I’d say they’ve let us down, but they’re trying their damnedest,” he explained.
Fletcher said he had experienced worse defeats than Australia’s three-day hammering in Melbourne. He nominated the loss to South Africa by an innings and 92 runs at Lord’s in 2003, in what was Michael Vaughan’s first Test as captain, as the worst defeat of his coaching career.
But Fletcher believes England can pick themselves up for the fifth Test, which starts on Tuesday, as the tourists did so four years ago when they won at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to prevent a series whitewash. “I’ve got to believe we can do it because we did it last time we were here,” Fletcher said.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, December 31st, 2006 and is filed under General.
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