The English media and a bunch of former players have sharpened their claws and are digging gleefully into captain Andrew Strauss.
The reasons: Strauss isn’t scoring and the world’s number one team is losing everything in the eastern part of the globe.
Though Strauss hasn’t reacted, he surely must be hurting inside. The architect of England’s climb to the number one spot is now becoming the villain of the team’s slide into the mediocrity.
Strauss hasn’t been getting the big runs recently. His last century came latein 2010 against Australia.
Suddenly that has come into sharp focus in the media because England are not doing well. Everything was alright when England were whitewashing India at home. Strauss wasn’t scoring much then either. Strauss was then hailed as one of England’s best skippers.
The typical volte-face of the so-called England’s most knowledgeable armchair critics is not surprising. They always move the way the wind blows.
Most England captains and players know that. The fact is that when England became number one, the media and former players began to behave as if there was no-one else who could hold a candle to them.
When they dethroned India to take the top spot, they immediately started mocking the latter. India’s top batsmen were well past their best and Sachin Tendulkar was not as great as he was made out to be.
What they failed to realise that to be number one, the team has to win consistently everywhere and not in the comfort of home. England did a great job in retaining the Ashes. But they failed to conquer the East where conditions always went against them. The West Indies and ustralians in recent times were true number ones as they swept every opposition at home or elsewhere. Now that reality has dawned upon them that they are not invincible, a scapegoat had to be found. And who better than a captain not amongst the runs.
What they have forgotten is that the captain is only as good as his team.
The cold truth is England have been clueless against high quality spin bowling. The best off-spinner in the world, Saeed Ajmal, spun such a web over the English batsmen that they fell like nine pins.
Now Rangana Herath, a decent spinner, has had them feeling and searching.The England batsmen’s lack of footwork and positive thinking has got them in a miserable tangle.
The critics have been forgetting that almost the entire middle-order has joined Strauss in not scoring runs. Ian Bell has fared even more badly than his skipper recently.
Strauss at least has been getting a few starts. Only Jonathan Trott and to a lesser extent Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen have got runs, though inconsistently.
Strauss has earned some respite by scoring 61 in the second Test against Sri Lanka and putting England on the path of a 400-plus score. He also has he support of the people who matter most – the players and the management.
But the critics won’t rest until England get back to their winning ways again. Then whether Strauss scores or not will not matter. Oh why can’t the English teach their critics to just Shut Up.