Manchester: Former Australia captain Ian Chappell slammed England for bringing tearaway quick Mark Wood late in the playing eleven for the ongoing Ashes, saying his belated inclusion highlighted a typical problem in the set-up of failing in making the right selections.
Playing in a Test for the first time since last year’s tour of Pakistan, Wood picked 5-34 from 11.4 overs and 2-66 from 17 overs in both innings of the match at Headingley.
The pacer, who has missed many matches in between during his career due to various injuries, proved to be a crucial point of difference for England in winning the Headingley Test by three wickets.
“England rely heavily on the skill of Stuart Broad and his chokehold on David Warner to spearhead their attack. They belatedly introduced the big-hearted Mark Wood into the series and he proved his worth with a high-speed attack at Headingley. Wood’s inclusion highlighted a perennial English failing: selection,” wrote Chappell in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.
Chappell further questioned England picking wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow and off-spin all-rounder Moeen Ali in their playing eleven.
Bairstow hasn’t been at his best with bat and gloves on return to Test team after breaking his leg in a freak injury last year while Ali, who came out of Test retirement to join England’s Ashes squad, hasn’t been at his effective best.
“Not only did they fail to introduce his threatening pace until the third Test, they’ve chosen a wicketkeeper who is a batter first, in Jonny Bairstow, whose mistakes with the gloves have cost his side dearly,” Chappell said.
“They also chose to offer red-carpet treatment to Moeen Ali, who in his prime was never much of a bowling or batting threat to Australia. England’s fumbling failure to catch securely and save runs on the ground has been one of the main differences between the two teams,” he added.
The 79-year old also believes that Australia, currently leading Ashes 2-1, can still win the series, though he feels England will fight hard due to their skipper Ben Stokes.
“The captaincy styles of Cummins and Stokes are very different, but they both admirably try to achieve victory from the first delivery. Stokes has done wonders in cajoling England into acknowledging the priority of scoring runs and taking wickets — as it should be,” said Chappell
“Midway through the Lord’s Test, I felt Australia were poised to run away with the Ashes. However, I failed to factor in Stokes’ outstanding inspirational qualities. Australia will still win the Ashes, but it’ll be a hard fight against an England side that continues to compete despite poor selection,” he added.