I fear 'Bazball' will backfire against the awesome Ashes

Australia celebrate their World Test Championship victory. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.Australia celebrate their World Test Championship victory. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.
Australia celebrate their World Test Championship victory. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.
​I have a sense of impending doom regarding the Ashes which start today (Friday).

​One team looks fully charged and ready to go, and it isn’t England whose preparations smack of poor planning with more than a whiff of arrogance.

While Australia received a thorough workout in a competitive environment against India, England’s Test players were golfing in Scotland.

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That followed a waste of time Test match against Ireland at Lord’s which told us nothing apart from confirming our captain Ben Stokes is handicapped by a dodgy knee and that Zak Crawley remains an accident waiting to happen at the top of the batting order.

Stokes didn't bat or bowl in that game and hardly played in the IPL despite his £1 million pound plus contract. This after limping through his last Test innings in New Zealand.

Understandably Stokes, given the level of excitement and success he’s achieved, gets a soft ride from our national press. He’s earned some leeway, but that won’t continue if England start badly at Edgbaston at the start of a run of five Tests in six weeks, a programme that couldn’t have been designed in a far more damaging way for the home captain or for the gifted senior bowlers under his care.

Australia hammered India so they will bounce their way confidently into Birmingham.

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Apart from a couple of fading opening batsmen, they look to have every other base covered. They have the best all-round bowling attack in the world who won’t be fazed by the threat of Bazball.

England are now a one-trick pony tactically and it could rebound against these bowlers, so I hope our one class act Joe Root puts away the ramp shot against the likes of Pat Cummins and Scott Boland and plays sensibly, although another who has barely picked up a bat in a competitive environment for six months surely can’t be at his best.

His logic that he learnt more carrying drinks at the IPL than he would have done playing first-class cricket in England seems hollow, as well as a slight on the County Championship.

England have had one bit of good news with the absence through injury of slow left-arm bowler Jack Leach.

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England need an off-spinner against the many Australian left-handers and Moeen Ali’s presence gives England an extra batsman I suspect they will need.

England have rightly been lauded for the entertaining way they have set about Test cricket recently, and they should continue in the same manner as it remains their best chance of beating the newly crowned World Test champions.

But they should be prepared for the backlash if, as I fear, it goes horribly wrong in the next month and a half.

Some match-ups are more important than others and, although we can brush off the defeat in New Zeland in our last Test match and marvel instead at a great game, that won’t happen in an Ashes Series.

Beating Australia at cricket matters however it is achieved. If England come unstuck because of over-ambition those in charge won’t find a lot of sympathy no matter the entertainment levels.