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TREVOR BAYLISS: Andrew Strauss is the PERFECT man to save English cricket

This is going to be an absolutely heartbreaking time for England. When you want to take part in a big series and then be blown away like they’ve been here in Australia, that’s really disappointing for everyone involved.

This is the third Ashes tour in a row where England have been completely beaten – I was involved in the middle one – – so there must be something intrinsically wrong.

Questions will be asked in England. Is the county league that spawns players able to jump to the Test level, especially outdoors? The answer is clearly ‘no’, so it’s a matter of doing something about it.

Andrew Strauss is the ideal man to save English cricket after the heartbreaking Ashes tour

Andrew Strauss is the ideal man to save English cricket after the heartbreaking Ashes tour

Straus (R) pictured here alongside Trevor Bayliss during the 2017-18 Ashes series

Straus (R) pictured here alongside Trevor Bayliss during the 2017-18 Ashes series

Straus (R) pictured here alongside Trevor Bayliss during the 2017-18 Ashes series

The need for change is so great that I can’t see England solve the problems overnight, or with a few minor tweaks here and there. Whatever changes are made to the system, it takes time to pay off.

Much of what England had wanted to do for this trip was right. Chris Silverwood, for example, wanted to come here with extra speed bowlers, but an injury cost him two players he wanted to use: Jofra Archer, a huge miss, and Olly Stone.

I wanted to do the same four years ago, but there was no Archer or Stone then and Mark Wood was a young guy who was injured anyway. Unfortunately there weren’t many others with a fast enough pace to choose from and that’s something to work on again now.

Wood has been great in Australia. He bowled very well without taking the wickets he earned earlier in the series. In Hobart, he showed that if you have extra pace, you can shake up any batter, as long as you have the ability to put the ball in the right place.

Australia always seems to have two or three bowlers providing speed and bounce, not just one, and always have the ruthlessness you need to show with the ball.

Strauss led England's revival in white-ball cricket and could do the same for the red-ball game

Strauss led England's revival in white-ball cricket and could do the same for the red-ball game

Strauss led England’s revival in white-ball cricket and could do the same for the red-ball game

But hitting was the big problem for England and I’m going back to that question of pace and positive attitude.

Yes, you need to have a good defense to succeed in Test cricket, but you need to be in the right frame of mind to seize every chance to score. It just seemed that we – sorry, England was, I must say – were in two minds about how to play.

There always seem to be thousands of words said and written in moments like these about what’s wrong and what needs to be done. But the time for talk is now over and England must do something. It’s time for action.

Doing anything may prove difficult, as there will be hurdles to overcome to ensure that everyone in the English game – administrators at the ECB and the provinces – is on the same page.

The commitment to change must be widespread, throughout the game. Let’s look at what happened to white ball cricket after the 2015 World Cup as an example of what can be achieved.

Strauss is intelligent, has an innate knowledge of the game and extensive experience

Strauss is intelligent, has an innate knowledge of the game and extensive experience

Strauss is intelligent, has an innate knowledge of the game and extensive experience

Something had to change and England’s commitment to improve after years of underperformance led to winning the 2019 World Cup and formidable 50 over and T20 international teams.

The architect of that change was, of course, Andrew Strauss as team director at the time. I think he would be the perfect man to do the same for England’s red ball game now, if his personal situation is such that he can devote time to it.

I have enjoyed working with Straussy. He is an intelligent man with an innate knowledge of the game and has extensive experience as a player, England captain and then an administrator.

England will have a hard time finding someone better than him to complete this task and get the team back on track in Test cricket.

England's troubles started before Chris Silverwood and Joe Root took their jobs

England's troubles started before Chris Silverwood and Joe Root took their jobs

England’s troubles started before Chris Silverwood and Joe Root took their jobs

When I was with England, Strauss had the ability after a meeting to perfectly summarize what we were thinking and what needed to be done. Everyone understood his message.

Clearly there are now calls for staff changes, but if England wants to go down that road they need to make sure whoever they bring in is a better option than the people in their places now.

I do understand that it is the coach’s fate to be in the line of fire at times like these – sometimes it’s justified, sometimes it’s not.

But I also think it would be hard for Silverwood or Joe Root to lose their jobs now that we all know the problems start long before they end with a squad.

England must tackle those problems at the root. The problems to be solved include playing too much cricket, too many players not showing the ambition to reach the highest level, preparing better wickets, playing first-class matches at the right time of the year, perhaps using a different ball and maybe even create a greater separation between the test side and the cue side. Otherwise, four years from now we will see the same story in Australia.

There are so many people who are passionate about the long form of the game in England that I am optimistic that change can come. Yes, it may take some time, but England is a country with a proud testing history and few are more proud than Andrew Strauss. I think he should take the lead to set things right.

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