Former England spinner Graeme Swann was critical of England’s senior players who have done “next to nothing” as Australia regained the Ashes in Perth on Monday.
Australia strolled to victory in the third test at the WACA, winning by an innings and 41 runs to take a unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match Ashes series, with England’s batting line-up again putting up meagre resistance as they were bowled out for 218 in their second innings.
While rookie Dawid Malan has made 302 runs in the series, former captain Alastair Cook has struggled with the bat in Australia, as has Moeen Ali, and Swann believes that England’s troubles are down to these underperforming senior players, and the absence of one key batsman in particular.
“England do have a settled side if Ben Stokes is around but when he’s not, this team came over very weak,” Swann told the BBC.
“The senior guys who you expect to stand up and outshine the rookies have done the exact opposite. Joe Root and Alastair Cook have done next to nothing. The shining lights have been Rocky (Mark) Stoneman and Dawid Malan.
“I‘m proud of the way some of the guys have played. Dawid Malan was sensational, James Vince was only dismissed by the best ball I’ve ever seen in a game. There are positives, I expected to be 3-0 down after three games once Stokes wasn’t coming.”
Stokes was omitted from England’s touring party following his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
He remains suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board pending the result of a police investigation.
Michael Vaughan also questioned the longevity of certain members of the England squad, with the former England opener believing the next Ashes series in England may come too soon for some.
“England have three legends of the game in Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson,” Vaughan added.
“It depends how they manage their retirements. It’s coming sooner rather than later. I do think they can all play a part in the series of 2019 but you don’t see many fairytales in sport.
“England have to manage the senior core of the side and make sure that if they are all to go together in 2019 they are playing well enough to be in the team.”