EXCLUSIVE | Monty Panesar decodes England's Ashes 2021 debacle; all praise for Kohli's Team India

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Digvijay Singh DeoUpdated: Dec 31, 2021, 07:36 PM IST


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In an exclusive interaction, former English spinner Monty Panesar decoded England's Ashes 2021 debacle and lavished huge praise on Virat Kohli-led Indian Test team.

Joe Root-led England conceded the urn to Australia after losing the third Test of the Ashes 2021/22 edition Down Under. England, thus, once again fell flat in Tests in Australia as plenty of questions have been raised on their ordinary team selections, strategies, team management's functioning, etc.

For the unversed, England's winless streak in Ashes Down Under has continued since the 2010-11 edition, where they won 3-1. While their bowlers have done well in patches, England's batters have fell flat whereas their fielding and decision-making has been far from impressive. Thus, the Test captain Root and head coach Chris Silverwood are under the radar whereas many have raised fingers on England's priority towards Tests, calling for more focus on County championships.

In an exclusive interaction with's Sports Editor Digvijay Singh Deo, former English spinner Monty Panesar decoded Root & Co.'s shambolic performances and lavished huge praise on Virat Kohli's Team India. 

Monty said, "Yeah....It kind of has surprised few people how England lost these games. It started of when Joe Root won the toss at Brisbane and should've bowled in overcast conditions. Stuart Broad should've played at The Gabba and Jimmy Anderson is a better bowler away from the Gabba. There were some surprising decisions and also the lack of a frontline spinner. Jack Leach is a good bowler on turning pitches and, hence, was successful in India. However, in Australia, you have to control that one end...Even the overall attitude towards spin isn't encouragiing. In the second Test when spin was playing a huge part, Nathan Lyon bowled 25 overs out of 80 while England had only 20 overs from 150 overs allocated to spin. In general, the attitude towards spin is like that...they get found out in away Tests."

England's head coach Silverwood has been on the firing line following his side's listless performance in Ashes 2021. While he will miss the fourth Test, in Sydney, after his family member tested positive for Covid-19, Panesar sympathised with the former cricketer and shifted the blame entirely on the batters. The ex-spinner, who accounted for 167 Test scalps, feels more focus has to be on County cricket to revamp England's fortunes in Tests.

Panesar stated, "He (Silverwood) will be disappointed. Not to be there....Again, it will take him away from limelight as well. Possibly after the Ashes, maybe we see more detailed interview of Silverwood.....He is a decent and honourable man...extremely hard-working. He is a head coach who specialises in fast bowling...If you look at the Ashes, the bowlers have done well but the batting has been an issue. But if you look at the India-SA series, you ask yourself 'why is it that Indian batters have good technique and can adapt' but the English batters cannot...It maybe because the County period is from early April to end of September. But June, July and August is consumed by playing white-ball cricket....At the moment, the schedule is accomodating the medium-pacers and batters are too scared to get out lbw or bowled..... "

He added, "Also Eoin Morgan (limited-overs skipper) gets his best white-ball players but I don't think Joe Root gets the same privilege or freedom like Morgan has...In 2022, they got to prioritise Test cricket in England. They need to prioritise County Championship games first and then build the schedule around that. England should always be looking to play their best XI, regardless of the schedule and team they are playing against."

"This England team is good in swinging conditions. But away from England, they aren't...It will be interesting to see how they perform in West Indies in their own conditions (upcoming tour in 2022). In recent times, they are not a good team away from home but at home, they compete well due to the conditions. We need to produce harder, flatter and firmer pitches where spinners can play a role in 3rd or 4th Day and the medium-pacers are there, but they don't play a bigger role like they do right now. Hit the deck a bit more...And young batters need to learn how to build an innings at the Test level," said Panesar.

On Australa's change of fortunes, who started the year by losing a Test series versus India at home, Panesar pointed out that Pat Cummins & Co.'s litmus test will be against Virat Kohli's India. He lavished huge praise on Kohli & Co. and said, "Well, their litmus Test is going to be against India. India is the team at the moment who is the strongest team across formats. Virat Kohli could be the most successful Test captain ever with Steve Waugh....I think for him that will be a big accolade. We will always know how good Australia are when they play India. Actually, the bigger series is India-Australia in Australia. (2020/21 BG Trophy) It was probably the most entertainig Test cricket we saw in Australia in a long time and the Indian team took them on...they said 'we will not get bullied by you and will beat you in your own backyard' and that's what they did."

The fourth and penultimate Ashes Test will commence on January 5 at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney. Will England avoid a whitewash at the hands of the Aussies? Well, it surely looks like a tough task for the Three Lions.