Former England batter David Lloyd says he was “absolutely flabbergasted” by the 17-man squad picked for the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia.
England named a near full strength side earlier this week, with fast bowler Jofra Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes the notable omissions. Both are injured, while Stokes is also taking a break from the game for mental health reasons.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Lloyd, who toured Australia in the 1970s and later coached England, expressed amazement at the makeup of the squad.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Former Australian skipper Mark Taylor noted earlier this week that England’s batting is likely to be a problem, and Lloyd, an opening batter himself, explained that he would have left out both openers, Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The bowling attack is once again headed up by James Anderson, who recently turned 39, and Stuart Broad, who is 35 and missed much of the English summer with a calf injury.
“As for (coach) Chris Silverwood saying we’re going to bore them out with line and length, I’m sorry, but you won’t,” Lloyd said.
“You need fire and pace. Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson scared the hell out of England.
“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.”
Lloyd says Saqib Mahmood can feel particularly aggrieved to have missed out.
“Your bowling attack needs pace and, because the Kookaburra ball offers you so little, reverse swing,” he said.
“Mahmood has both, so what did England do? Left him out.”
England’s spin attack is particularly thin, with off-spinner Dom Bess and Jack Leach expected to provide an answer to Nathan Lyon.
“You need a leggie — not a left-arm spinner who just carries the drinks and an off-spinner who was dropped in India.”
Lloyd was part of the England side that was mauled 4-1 by Ian Chappell’s Australian team in 1974-75, and he fears this year’s tourists might endure the same pain.
“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.”
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