Former captain Michael Vaughan has hammered the England squad for low-key preparation which he blames for the first Test defeat in The Ashes.
The hosts drew criticism from all sides for their ‘Bazball’ decision to declare themselves late on day one at Edgbaston despite an established batsman at the crease in the form of Joe Root, who was unbeaten on 118.
It proved costly, with the Aussies securing a memorable two-wicket victory in the closing stages of matchday five.
Although that move was overruled, Vaughan said a more accurate line-up and better preparation would also have made a big difference.
Part of England’s warm-up for The Ashes involved playing a round of golf at the luxurious Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire, owned by Mumbai-based Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
Team members also took part in the Association of Cricket Professionals Golf Day at The Grove in Hertfordshire.
Michael Vaughan was unimpressed that the England cricket team chose golf over practice matches ahead of the Ashes
Vaughan believes a number of chances that unfolded could have changed the outcome of the Ashes’ first Test – and said England would have been sharper with better preparation.
England captain Ben Stokes is an avid golfer (pictured playing the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am at Wentworth Golf Club)
There were a number of chances missed by the England defenders, including when Ben Stokes dropped Nathan Lyon when he was down just two points on the final day.
Lyon would dig in with skipper Pat Cummins to win the test match.
Vaughan blamed those missed chances on the decision not to play in warm-up games.
“The reason they lost, I don’t think, was because of the statement, but I think it was because they lacked sharpness on the court,” Vaughan said. press company.
“They lost too many chances. You watch the no balls. Australia have played four without balls, England have played 24.
“England chose to train for the Ashes by playing golf for a week. I would have liked to see them play at least two days of cricket leading up to a big Ashes series.
“But they went for this relaxed approach. And it kind of showed on the pitch.
Crucial chance presents itself as former England captain Joe Root lands a hold that would have seen Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey head for the hangars
Stokes’ lost hold on day five was a heartbreak for England, with Nathan Lyon continuing to dig in and win the Test match with skipper Pat Cummins.
On the other hand, the Australians took a number of strong chances like this diving effort from Marnus Labuschagne to clear Ollie Robinson
The Australian side also scrapped the usual warm-up matches ahead of the Ashes series, despite playing in the World Test Championship against India at Lord’s a few days before the series started.
While this match was an ideal tune-up, former skipper Allan Border questioned the decision to scrap the usual warm-up matches against county sides.
“No matter how hard you work in the net, there’s no substitute for playing time,” Border said.
“I’m really surprised we’re allowing the Ashes tour to be so condensed with no cricket between games, but that’s the way it is.
“I get it, we have IPLs and T20s, I get it. The game has moved on. But I think there is an opportunity for us to go to England earlier and play a few games… just to smooth things over a bit.
“It doesn’t feel right to me not to play cricket leading up to an Ashes series. I just think it’s fraught with danger…there’s something gnawing at me saying it’s the wrong decision.
Ironically, the Australians also dabbled in golf before The Ashes, playing a round at Formby Golf Club in Liverpool.
The team shared a video of their day, with David Warner winning the longest drive competition on the first hole with a crushing shot from 304 yards (278 meters).
“It’s a team sport,” he joked.
“So I dedicate that to my other three teammates for not hitting him in the middle and giving me no pressure so I could really go for it.”
‘Thanks guys. I appreciate it.’