Although England changed the dynamics of ODI and T20 cricket, the same cannot be said about their Test format- a format in which the team takes pride in doing well. The last three to four years have been tough for England in the red-ball game and things got tougher when they lost a home series- the first time since 2014 to New Zealand. Yet again there was the dreaded collapse and lack of application from the batters which resulted in them being shot for just 122 in the second Test of the two-match series.
Of late England have been criticized a lot for being aggressive in the Test format or being too slow, which has resulted in the team not getting consistent scores of 350 in recent matches.
Not impressed by England’s batting, former Australia player Mark Waugh believes there needs to be a little bit of proactiveness at the top. The team’s two designated openers are Dom Sibley and Rory Burns both are slow to begin and do not play shots in the initial few overs.
“There’s just no quality there,” said Waugh, speaking on the Road to the Ashes podcast. “I don’t know why there’s no depth in batting in the English line-up. To me, James Vince is not a bad player. I know he’s played 13 Tests, but he’s got a touch of class. Someone like Dom Sibley, he can’t score. You can’t come to Australia with Burns and Sibley opening the batting, because they can’t score. He hasn’t got any shots, Dom Sibley. He’s not a Test player, and quite frankly I don’t know how he got to that level. There’s got to be a shortage of players there.”
Mark Waugh not in favor of Dom Sibley opening for England
The former right-hand batter elaborated how bowlers need to be put under pressure by the opening batters, which Burns and Sibley have failed to do so.
“Dom Sibley, I just don’t know how he can play Test cricket,” he said. “As a bowler, you worry about batsmen that can hurt you. No one’s thought of this. The England middle-order are suffering, because all the bowlers who play against England have got their tail up and confidence up because they are not getting hurt by Burns and Sibley.”
“They can’t punish them, they can’t hurt them on any level. All they can do is survive and see off the shine. That’s no good. You have to put pressure on the bowler, and these two can’t do that.”