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England’s Ashes squad hasn’t got a hope in hell, says Bumble

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DAVID ‘BUMBLE’ LLOYD: I’m absolutely flabbergasted by England’s Ashes squad selection… They’ve picked a team of blockers, medium-pacers and finger-spinners. Glenn McGrath would be RIGHT to predict a 5-0 Australia win this time

  • To say that I was dismayed when I saw England side would be an understatement
  • They’ve picked a team of blockers, medium-pacers and short finger-spinners
  • You don’t need to be a student of the game to know how that ends in Australia
  • Saqib Mahmood, Liam Livingstone and Matt Parkinson should be on teamsheet











I always used to chuckle when Glenn McGrath came out like clockwork with his Ashes prediction of 5-0. But this time I agree with him.

To say that I was surprised when I saw the squad England had picked to go to Australia would be an understatement — I was absolutely flabbergasted.

They’ve picked a team of blockers, medium-pacers and short finger-spinners. You don’t exactly need to be a student of the game to know how that ends in Australia. Good luck, lads.

Saqib Mahmood has both pace and reverse-swing, so what do England do? Leave him out

Saqib Mahmood has both pace and reverse-swing, so what do England do? Leave him out

For me, three of the first names in the squad would have been Saqib Mahmood, Liam Livingstone and Matt Parkinson. That’s not Lancashire bias — it’s a reflection of the kind of cricketers you need to stand a chance of winning in Australia.

Your bowling attack needs pace and, because the Kookaburra ball offers you so little, reverse swing. Mahmood has both, so what did England do? Left him out.

Livingstone burst on to the scene last summer and he’s tough as old boots. He wouldn’t have taken any of the nonsense the Australians will be serving up this winter. And with Ben Stokes missing, Livingstone is a ready-made replacement because he bowls a bit of this, a bit of that, and he’s a superb fielder.

As for Parkinson, I defer to the great Shane Warne on how to bowl spin on Australian pitches. You need a leggie — not a left-arm spinner who just carries the drinks and an off-spinner who was dropped in India.

Liam Livingstone just screams at you that he's an international cricketer but he's not in the side

Liam Livingstone just screams at you that he’s an international cricketer but he’s not in the side

If you’re going to succeed in Australia bowling finger-spin, you need to be tall so that you get overspin and bounce. Look at Nathan Lyon. Dom Bess is too short. Parkinson would have provided variety and wicket- taking deliveries. I’m utterly dismayed.

Let’s look at the players they have taken. Joe Root is an exceptional batsman, and I’m a big fan of Jonny Bairstow, but you don’t win in Australia with blockers at the top of the order, such as Haseeb Hameed, or openers who don’t stand properly, such as Rory Burns. 

Burns’ first movement — wherever the ball pitches — is to push his right foot towards extra cover. If that technique works in Australia, I’m a Dutchman.

As for Chris Silverwood saying we’re going to bore them out with line and length, I’m sorry, but you won’t. You need fire and pace. Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson scared the hell out of England.

While Matt Parkinson would have provided variety and wicket-taking deliveries Down Under

While Matt Parkinson would have provided variety and wicket-taking deliveries Down Under

England have got some decent bowlers, and Ollie Robinson looks class.

But Stuart Broad is recovering from injury and Jimmy Anderson is having his last hurrah.

It is beyond me that England are making the same mistake we made in 1974-75, when we arrived in Australia with too many old ’uns. I feel for Silverwood a bit because he’s got one hand tied behind his back by county cricket. Look at the guys at the top of the bowling averages.

The granddaddy of them all is Kent’s Darren Stevens, who’s 45 and bowls at 69mph.

We need better pitches in our domestic game and we need to play at the height of summer. Otherwise, we’ll always end up with these conservative squads who haven’t a hope in hell of competing in the big series.

I hate to say it, but McGrath’s dead right.

Joe Root's England side are bidding to win the Ashes for the first time since 2010 this winter

Joe Root’s England side are bidding to win the Ashes for the first time since 2010 this winter



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