Graham Thorpe Comments England’s Batting Struggle
Graham Thorpe, England’s batting coach, believes his batsmen struggled against New Zealand
Poor Batting Performances
England lost the second Test at Edgbaston in little over three days following two poor batting performances, particularly in the second innings, when they were bowled out for just 129 runs.
“It’s not easy to shift between the red and white-ball formats and no doubt it is causing challenges in terms of the different mentalities required.”
— Yorkshire Post Sport (@YPSport) June 19, 2021
Playing Weak Strokes
Players made the same blunders in both Tests against New Zealand, playing weak strokes under the relentlessness of the opposition bowlers and repeating the same blunders from the first Test.
“Over the course of the two games New Zealand were much stronger than us and they outplayed us,” Thorpe said.
“From our point of view, we’re trying to keep things in perspective. We have some younger players in our team who are still developing and we’re wanting them to improve. But sometimes the intensity and the spotlight of Test cricket, when you’re up against a good team like New Zealand, just highlights how much of a challenge our players found their decision-making and the execution of shots.
“We know, if you look around the world, players have different techniques, but whatever technique you have the basics are still the same, you have to get in, you have to be positive in your defense, leave the ball well outside off stump and play straight. These are the things that have applied to batting in Test match cricket for as long as it has been going. So it is a mental skill to be able to train the brain to do these things, and if anything we’ve been lacking consistency in that area.
“It is about coping with the anxiousness when you first go out there and once you get in, and things become easier it is about being hungry to score runs and to stay out there to accumulate. You can do that in a number of ways, rotating the strike, putting overs into the bowlers and making them work hard, and then we have the players who can take advantage. We have the talent, but you have to mentally push yourself on further as well and that is the area where we have fallen down in this series.
“If you look at the techniques of all our batters from Sibley to Burns, to Pope to Lawrence, you can go down our batting order and to me it comes down to decision making. They have all scored runs at Test level and so it is about doing it more consistently and that is a mental thing really. I look at their techniques and of course we work with them on that. We work on knowing where each player’s strengths are and what shots work best for them.
“We also work on knowing where the danger lies for their technique and how opponents are trying to get them out. What kind of fields are being set against them and the way they play. You get field settings in place to entice you into making a mistake. They might leave a gap squarer sometimes to tempt you to try and play through it, but you need to wait until you’re in before you go for it. We talk to them about the phases of the game that they are in and how they cope with them. Ultimately the players have to keep improving and keep learning to get that consistency at the highest level.”
England Shown A lot Of Faith In Their Young Batsmen
Despite averages in the low 30s, England has shown a lot of faith in a number of their young batsmen, which is a far cry from the selection merry-go-rounds that plagued the England side in the 1990s.
“It was a bit like that in years gone by, but these players have to show a desperation to stay in the side as well,” he said. “They’ve got to earn the right to stay in the side.
“And they will be fully aware of that, because we’ve got some players who will come back into that team and there are others on the outside putting pressure on so there is competition for places which is a healthy thing for a team. That competition should drive the individual on so when they get in, they smell that opportunity to perform and go and do it.
“Then it is about consistency. You know as a player after a while that talent and a handful of scores is one thing, but doing it as a group and individuals consistently over a period of time is crucial for success. That goes with the territory of playing at the highest level. You do have to keep producing. Your right hand column is very important, it is what keeps you in the team.
“It is for us to keep observing the players to see whether they have the temperament to apply their techniques to score runs. Technique is hugely important and that is what keeps you scoring runs, but it is your decision-making that keeps you out in the middle whatever technique you have. Techniques will be looked at and sometimes as a player you need to not listen to too much noise from the outside, but the reality is that you do need to perform.”