Huge wake-up call for England
This was a deeply chastening experience for England cricket lovers. I really hope it was for the players, too.
I am absolutely sure that they believe they tried their best on each and every day, but they came at this series from such a low level of preparedness that, in those circumstances, their best would never be good enough.
This has to be the biggest wake-up call in English cricket, and if attention is paid to this thrashing, then something good will come from it.
If there is simply a fudged inquiry in some locked room at Lord’s, it would be an insult to everyone that holds the interests of English cricket dear to their hearts.
Senior and well respected former players were called in to give their views on what had gone wrong, and the right mechanisms - including the ‘poaching’ of the bowling coach, Troy Cooley - were installed.
Similarly, England must look very closely at themselves.
Discipline has to be restored. For a start, this includes reminding the players that being on tour is a job - and a very well paid one at that.
If they do not want to be away from home, that’s fine: don’t come. The pandering to the players union, the PCA, has to stop.
Tours must be structured properly, with the right balance between preparation, hard work and down time.
There has to be a spell at the start of a tour when the team builds its spirit and character without the distraction of the families.
It is absolutely impossible to structure a strong team with the presence of wives, girlfriends and children.
There is a time on every tour - when that ‘bonding’ has been achieved - that the families can come, but not before. This is a serious job, and the priorities have been lost on this trip.
The practice matches on tour must be competitive. I firmly believe that Australians are naturally more competitive that we are - so what chance did the players have of stopping the Australian juggernaut at Brisbane when all they had in terms of serious preparation was a single three-day game in Adelaide?
The 14-per-side outing against New South Wales was a joke and Steve Harmison - hopelessly out of form - was allowed to wander off the field to get his feet up during the second innings after bowling just 5 overs!
I fear for England in the one-day series. Unless they start strongly, particularly against New Zealand, they could get a battering.
And with the World Cup just around the corner now, the most high octane winter of international cricket England have ever faced could turn out to be a nightmare.