What goes around comes around.
Promises must be kept, debts paid off and faith honored.
Which brings us to the England cricket team, who for most of 2021 have asked us to trust them implicitly because everything will be fine in the end.
Le miserable eight-wicket defeat by New Zealand to Edgbaston, who saw an unbeaten seven-year record in the home test series surrender, pushes that confidence to a breaking point.
It was going so well too.
A year that started with three successive test wins in Sri Lanka and India has turned into five games without a win, four of which have been lost.
Whether or not this is a direct result of the way England have handled – or perhaps mismanaged – their players is open to debate, but some facts are inevitable.
England have failed to win a single test since Jos Buttler’s last game. Chris Woakes will have spent almost 12 months between testing when his next chance to play comes in August.
Yes, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer got injured in both Tests against New Zealand, but neither would have played anyway.
Yet the slip of a magnificent victory against India in Chennai in February – one of England’s most impressive away wins in recent memory – the loss to New Zealand in Birmingham is alarming for the performances of the players who remained with the squad during the age of rest and rotation.
Ollie Pope has passed eight Tests without half a century, while Dom Sibley has only passed 16 twice in 11 innings. Zak Crawley made 17 in the second inning at Edgbaston, his second best score in 12 testing innings.
More slack can be given to Dan Lawrence, with just seven caps to his name. However, even he sandwiched an unreleased 81 with two ducks and has an average of under 30.
That left captain Joe Root not only at the helm of a team with a revolving door of players in the locker room, but also with the responsibility of maintaining a batting order that has all the structural strength of a wet cloth.
The options for change are limited, mainly because so many of the county’s cricketers have been tried in the past decade, but also with opportunities by the time the ashes quickly run out.
Anyone who picks England in the first test against India in the first week of August will need support, especially as coach Chris Silverwood has repeatedly said he doesn’t want a player to have to debuting in Australia.
Even though changes are made, the next in line appear to be Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan, both of whom have both already been on trial.
“They’re going to have to look at each other and be honest over the next five or six weeks because they’re going to be under the same pressure against India,” England’s all-time top scorer Alastair Cook told BBC Sport.
“That’s what Test Cricket is – pressure cricket, and they’re going to have to find a way.
“There won’t be any big changes. These are the guys who scored points in county cricket. That’s why they played. It’s up to them, it’s not the coaches. They have to face. ”
|Rory Burns||25||1 529||33.23||3|
|Joe root||105||8 714||48,68||20|
If the stick is the main concern, then there are decisions to be made elsewhere.
England have made a conscious and admirable decision to play the home tests on flat pitches, in order to replicate the challenges they will face abroad.
However, in neither of the two tests against New Zealand they were unable to take 20 wickets (admittedly, in the second they barely had the chance).
It is curious that on both occasions England went back to type, selecting four seamers with right arms. What does that say about their faith in spinner Jack Leach? If, for example, Graeme Swann had been in the England squad, you can be sure he would have played.
And, in these flat, dry and hot conditions, is there still room for these two magnificent warhorses, Stuart Broad and James Anderson?
Even though Stokes is available for the first Test against India, England will likely still need a versatile bowler like Woakes, Sam Curran or Ollie Robinson at number eight.
If they want rhythm, it means Mark Wood or Olly Stone. They sure wouldn’t pick five setters, so Leach would have to come back.
That means only one place for Broad or Anderson. Broad was magnificent against New Zealand, the choice of English bowlers.
Only a fool would reject the enduring skill of Anderson, England’s all-time best wicket-taker and most capped player, but he looked below par against the Black Caps.
These choices depend on the players England will have at their disposal.
On the one hand, the policy of rest and rotation employed this year is understandable. England play more and travel further than any other team. Covid has brought unprecedented challenges and it is right that the well-being of players is at the forefront of decision-making.
Even the protection afforded to a player’s right to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) can be swallowed up when you know that permission to take on these lucrative contracts was granted before England signed up for both. tests against New Zealand.
However, Buttler, Woakes and Moeen Ali play county cricket as England are beaten all around Birmingham.
Not only that, but New Zealand managed to get their IPL contingent into this series. England’s recent tendency to obtain a full power team Twenty20 matches will continue when they meet Sri Lanka this month as well.
“After 2019, the ECB told us that the next thing on the agenda was to win in Australia,” former England captain Michael Vaughan told the BBC Test Match Special.
” I have not seen it. Didn’t see the eggs in the Test Team’s basket. I saw them in the basket of the white ball team.
“Basically if you go around with Test cricket it leads to inconsistency, and that’s what we see. “
Root has been adamant after New Zealand’s loss that he expects his first-choice eleven to be available to play against India.
When it comes to Test Cricket, five games against Virat Kohli’s men followed by a tilt over the Ashes in Australia is that big.
England assured us that there was a plan and that the Test team would be ready for the flagship series.
They asked us to trust them because they know what they are doing.
There is no more room for excuses. The time to prove that they deserve this trust has almost arrived.