James Anderson dismisses Mitch Marsh but it’s been a tough Test for England’s bowlers. Picture: AAP
James Anderson dismisses Mitch Marsh but it’s been a tough Test for England’s bowlers. Picture: AAP

Are English fast bowlers becoming too soft?

ENGLAND's ailing fast bowlers were branded part of a "snow flake generation'' as the scathing post mortems of England's Ashes debacle gain momentum.

Former English fast bowler Martin Bicknell is having no part of the theory that grinding county workloads have minimised the chances of England producing fast bowlers who can push the speedometer to the 145kph-plus range occupied by Australian trio Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Bicknell, who played four Tests but took more than 1000 first class wickets for Surrey, called for more hard work as England was shunted back the drawing board.

The most chastening statistic of their lack of bowling penetration is that in six of their last eight Ashes series to Australia they have taken 20 wickets in a Test either once or not at all.

 

Chris Woakes and his teammates have struggled at the WACA.
Chris Woakes and his teammates have struggled at the WACA.

You wonder where on earth England can go from here, not simply in the next two Tests but beyond.

Should they use the red Kookaburra ball in their domestic cricket just as Australia trials the English Dukes ball in the Sheffield Shield?

Sometimes you have to swallow your poison. English bowlers loathe using the Kookaburra ball so much they should use it more.

The very mention of its name, its small seam and its lack of movement, makes them cringe.

In bygone decades they used to get their hardy fast bowlers form the mines up Yorkshire way (think Harold Larwood) but they have gone now.

Their best feeder system comes from private schools and they seem to struggle to unearth the nasty fasties they need to tackle Australia in Australia.

The fact that Moeen Ali is their best spinner says a lot about a production line that has creaked to a halt.

England's academy at Loughborough has been branded Bluffborough by one English scribe in recent days.

Australia's cricket selectors have had their best summer for many years.

We've dished it out to them when they have got it wrong over the past few seasons but it's been a near flawless performance this season with more cohesive unit firing since the departure of former chairman Rod Marsh.

Cameron Bancroft was chosen on form and while he has not shaken the house down he just has the feel of an old fashioned hard-arsed Test match opener.

Moeen Ali rues a chance that got away. Picture: AP
Moeen Ali rues a chance that got away. Picture: AP

The joy of winning is that you can cuddle a couple of players in so-so form. It's called building a team.

Tim Paine was chosen on a gut feel and he has been a particularly good choice.

Neatness personified, he looks a wise head as well with cool-headed guidance on reviews.

Mitchell and Shaun Marsh were polarising selections but have paid their way with centuries.

The challenge for both will be to keep firing. Mitchell was exceptional in Perth but he will face greater challenges when the ball is swinging and seaming.



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