Michael Vaughan has proposed a radical shake-up of England’s county cricket season to ensure the team avoids another hammering like this summer’s 4-0 Ashes drubbing.
Across the past two years England has lost 10 of its 14 Tests away from home and copped 4-0 series losses on tours of India and Australia.
Only Bangladesh (one win, six losses) and Zimbabwe (no wins, two losses) have been worse Test travellers in the past two years. It is a record that suggests changes need to be made.
Vaughan believes the key to improving England’s travelling woes is to ensure they are regularly playing cricket outside of Britain.
“Maybe play two first-class matches overseas in March, giving players experience of using the Kookaburra ball on flat pitches,” Vaughan wrote in his column for the Telegraph.
The former England captain also called for English players to spend more time in foreign first-class competitions, which he sees as far more beneficial to player development than touring with the Lions – England’s ‘A’ team.
“I am not into the Lions and did not like it when I played. You go overseas, play opposition who are not very good and think you are an England player.
“I would rather players went as overseas pros to Australia or New Zealand, as Ben Stokes did recently. Why do our young spinners not go and play club cricket or state cricket on the subcontinent? “
The Ashes hero suggested England’s cricket board could learn plenty from Australia’s.
“Steve Smith wants to play county cricket. The Marsh brothers have signed county deals to improve their red-ball games in England.
“They recruited David Saker as bowling coach, and he knows our system and pitches. They have a real eye on winning in 2019.
“He (England assistant coach Paul Farbrace) was honest about England’s mental failings, and said the planning for four years’ time starts now. The question is, why has there not been enough planning for this tour?”
What could help England’s chances next time is stronger opposition in their pre-series tour matches. Joe Root’s men played a second string Western Australia XI to start their campaign and then two green Cricket Australia XIs.
Australia faced similarly weak opposition when they toured England for the 2015 Ashes, and the two countries are far from outliers when it comes to the tour teams they offer up for the opposition.
Those days may finally be behind us in Ashes contests, with the Telegraph’sNick Hoult reporting the ECB and CA are in discussions to change the structure of Ashes tours in the future to give touring sides the best possible chance to be competitive.
– News Corp Australia