Vaughan blasts Poms, Archer thought he’d killed Smith, Maxwell eyes Test recall

Ashes 2021-22, Cricket, featured, Jofra Archer, Michael Vaughan

Former captain Michael Vaughan has sunk the slipper into the bumbling England side while offering up a radical idea to make them competitive in the Second Ashes Test at Adelaide.

Vaughan ripped into their selection, batting, fielding and spirit in the wake of the nine-wicket drubbing at the Gabba in his column for the London Telegraph overnight.

He said that unless the tourists improve by at least 50% in each of those areas, they will be on another hiding to nothing when they take on Australia on Thursday.

His solution to the mess of a line-up is to drop ineffective spinner Jack Leach and replace him with a batter, meaning all-rounder Ben Stokes would be the the fourth front-line bowler with captain Joe Root’s part-time offies the spin option.

“Sadly, there was little to be surprised about at Brisbane. I was surprised by selection – but not surprised that England got selection wrong,” he said.

“The batting didn’t surprise me – as soon as there’s heat in the kitchen England can’t cope. And the fielding has been consistent – consistently poor.

“They need to create 15 chances to get 10 wickets, never mind 20. And the mentality needs to be much stronger too, to find a way to stay in the game and grit out those tough moments.”

Vaughan would recall as a specialist batter – Zak Crawley or Jonny Bairstow – to strengthen the middle to late order with one of them or keeper Jos Buttler coming in at eight.

“If Stokes is fit and the pitch isn’t going to turn, I’d potentially look to change the balance of the team,” he said .

“You could really pack the batting, using Stokes as the fourth seamer and Joe Root as the spinner.

“If Stokes isn’t ready to do that bowling load then obviously you can’t change the balance in this way.
“But I wouldn’t be dropping any of the top seven just yet. Other than tactically I don’t think you can change your batting line-up after the first Test. I think you’ve got to give them at least one more Test to try and put things right.”

His former teammate Mike Atherton laid the blame for England’s horrendous start on their lack of match practice in the lead-up to the series.

“The reality of the modern game, with schedules designed by greedy administrators that discourage rather than encourage excellence, mean elite performances are expected from players given little chance to produce them,” he wrote in The Times.

“This felt like a makeshift team, having played no first-class cricket in advance, hoping it would be all right on the night.

“James Anderson said he had never felt less prepared for a match. This from a great player on his fifth Ashes tour who has played more than 150 Tests.”

Steve Smith suffers a blow from Jofra Archer.

Steve Smith was struck on the neck by a venomous Jofra Archer bouncer at Lord’s. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Archer feared he’d killed Smith with bouncer

Injured fast bowler Jofra Archer has revealed his initial concern was a repeat of the Phillip Hughes tragedy when he hit Steve Smith during the 2019 Ashes.

The English paceman felled Australia’s star batter during a sustained barrage of searing short-pitched deliveries in the Lord’s Test and when Smith was knocked to the turf, Archer feared the worst.

“I think in England personally when the ball hits you it can feel a lot worse than it is because sometimes it’s a bit cold and I thought it was that until I actually saw him roll,” Archer told NewsCorp.

“When he went down and then he rolled on his back, I went ‘oh dear,’ you know.

“I thought it was very serious, but he came out and he batted again.

“Obviously you don’t ever want a cricket-related death. There was one already and there’s no need for another one. It’s hard enough trying to get the kids to come and play cricket.”

Smith has spoken about a feeling of survivor’s guilt after he was fielding during the ill-fated Sheffield Shield match at the SCG in 2014 when Hughes, his former NSW and Australian teammate, was struck by a bouncer and died two days later.

Dizzy, Pup warn Leach in for more pain

Former Australian paceman Jason Gillespie warned England they would cop a repeat of their Brisbane barrage if they picked either spin option at Adelaide.

Left-armer Jack Leach was pounded, taking 1-103 from 13 overs, and off-spinner Dom Bess is the only other tweaker in the touring party, who will also cop similar treatment if given a trundle in the Second Ashes Test.

“You didn’t have to be Einstein to see that Jack Leach would be lined up to be pummeled. He’s not a big turner of the ball, the Gabba doesn’t have huge straight boundaries, so of course, the Australians were looking to belt him,” Gillespie wrote in his column for

“Australians always have and always will take on finger spin because it doesn’t offer a hell of a lot. The policy is to go hard at it,

“If Dom Bess comes in, he can expect the same treatment. I can’t comprehend why wrist-spinner Mason Crane wasn’t picked for Australian conditions.”

Michael Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio the Aussie batters would relish the chance to inflict more pain on Leach but the former Test skipper believes England should stand by him for at least one more game.

“They’re in some trouble with their spin option. If you’re Australia, you’re not taking your foot off the throat. As soon as he gets that ball in his hand, you’re licking your lips,” he said on The Big Sports Breakfast.

“It looked like he was going to bowl his way through and hope Australia didn’t belt him or made mistakes. That’s not going to work.”

“We’ve seen Australia’s plans for the first Test. I guarantee it won’t change. As soon as he gets the ball in his hands, they’re going to go after him. I think you’ve got to work out if you back your bowler.

“If you back your bowler, then to me that is an opportunity to take wickets as well. If the batsman is trying to be aggressive and take the bowler on, that brings risk.”

Glenn Maxwell looks on in disbelief

(Photo by Jason McCawley – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Maxwell eyeing off Test recall for tours

With Australia set to tour Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India next year, off-spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is eager to add to his seven Tests in the baggy green.

The Victorian veteran has not been selected in the red-ball arena at international level since Australia’s two Tests in Bangladesh in 2017

“Yeah, it certainly is. The time of the domestic schedule and where I am probably doesn’t really match up to playing a lot of Sheffield Shield cricket,” he told Sky Sports Radio.

“But I still feel like I’m batting really well and after having a chat to the selectors and with what’s to come next year hopefully there’s some opportunities to play some Test cricket next year in the subcontinent.”

Glenn Maxwell said Pat Cummins put to bed any doubt about whether a paceman can succeed as a captain at the Gabba, “bowling himself at the right time” and getting the other bowlers to support him well.

Maxwell said England would have to play veteran pace duo Stuart Broad and James Anderson to get back in the series in Adelaide but if they don’t make any inroads “it’s going to be a long Ashes series for them”.

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