With the Ashes less than a month away, England have some serious soul searching to do, and quickly.
These pages carried no comment on the 6 wicket drubbing metted out by the Australians over the weekend, the result spoke for itself.
Flintoff’s captaincy has now gone from a suspect to clearly wrong move by the selectors. Along with ongoing injury worries, his form, along with that of Pieterson and Harmison, is now a major concern.
It was earlier predicted that the fates of the teams would be separated by the fast bowlers. While Harmison has continued to crash and burn, McGrath has bowled line and length to, if not deadly, very troublesome effect.
The form of these two continues to mirror that of their teams. Harmison and England – horribly out of form, mercurial, erratic, still loaded with potential. McGrath and the Australians – ageing but consistent, professional and unflinching.
With only one 1st class match left before the Gabba, and that against a resurgent West Indies, England have to rediscover their flinty self-belief, and fast.
I have recently been reading Michael Vaughan’s book, and it reconfirms what I thought already – injured, crippled even, England need him as captain, right now. The mental toughness, rigorous training and no excuses regime of Vaughan was what won the urn.
Flintoff’s stewardship is increasingly hearkening back to the worst of the Gower years; infinate talent squandered under pressure.