Opinion: ECB prefer comfort over creativity

Blog Opinion

England still want tried and tested senior senility, even if that means Matt Prior turning up next week at Lord's having kept wicket just once in a first class game since December.

English cricket has some catching up to do. Jos Buttler has some catching practice to do, and quite possibly less backing up as well.

His innings at the weekend was a glimpse into a more exciting, energetic future where England players are an extrovert collection of world superstars that inspire with X-Men skills and charismatic words. Then we woke up.

Apparently, Buttler is not ready for the Test side, so says Alastair Cook. Why don't you kick a man while he is up. Conservative Cook, a man whose reaction to raw talent is to undercook it further, said that the Lancashire stopper will be a "very good Test player at some stage. Talented people find ways to do that, but I don't think he's quite ready."

What a banal and brutally distant statement. It provides clear evidence of a mindset still set on a path that looks for comfort above creativity.

England still want tried and tested senior senility, even if that means Matt Prior turning up next week at Lord's having kept wicket just once in a first class game since December.

Will the same logic of 'he's good but let's douse the fire' be applied to Chris Jordan, given his short international life span and ability to do the unexpected? can't have that. England need certainty.

Cricketers like Jordan and Buttler need to be given licence to roam rather than be kept back for their own good. As a nation, the English like to disbelieve that anything out of the ordinary can happen. Plodding along is almost a national trait.

'Talented players' need to be seen in an English cricket shirt, whether that shirt is light blue, red or white. Cricketers who excite will be absolutely essential when you consider the opposition: no, not the Sri Lankans, but the World Cup which begins on the same day as the first Test at Lord's. The crowd at Edgbaston was not a good sign for the first half of this summer. Peter Moores' new 'old' world really is up against it.

Despite the undeniable evidence that Cook's army are in need of a few lungfuls of fresh air after their toxic tour of Australia, even the one-day side is still gripped with a kind of paralysis of conservatism.

Cook, Bell, Root and Ballance are not going to be winning any World Cups soon but all will probably feature in the Test team. Not exactly Flair United, is it? If it's a transitional period then what's the problem in taking risks?

Perhaps Ben Stokes will turn into the new Flintoff (although hopefully he won't take up boxing like Freddie and break his other hand). Maybe Buttler will be on the cover of men's magazines with a twirling bat on fire to make him seem interesting. Could Chris Jordan get his kit off and become the new Chris Lewis with a tabloid headline every other month?

If ever a team needed a PR man to get them out there as opposed to just getting out, it is England. We need to feel interested, engaged, excited. All foreign words at the moment.

We are not expecting Cook to circumnavigate the cricket globe singlehandedly or subdue the savages of Media Island. Or even make Ian Bell say something interesting
People just want some entertainment.

No more talk of super foods. We want super cricketers. Even if they are not ready.

<b>Tim Ellis</b>

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