Marcus Trescothick: England today much better than 2005 team

Much as it thrilled me to be part of a fantastic England team who won the Ashes in 2005, I have to say that the current side is better in most departments.

The batting unit is stronger because of the experience senior players have gained and the fact that Jonathan Trott has become such a rock in the key number three role, a position which always posed a bit of a problem for England during my time.

Trott takes so much pressure off the middle order and, with Matt Prior, currently the top wicketkeeper-batsman in the world, coming in at seven, I have no hesitation in saying our batting is more formidable than it was six years ago.

With all due respect to Ashley Giles, who did a great job over a number of years, I also feel that England are more potent in the spin department with Graeme Swann having developed into the best in the business.

Perhaps the only department in which the 2005 team had the edge was in seam bowling where we had a terrific quartet in Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff.

The current England side have got away with having only three front line seamers because Swann bowls a lot of overs in all types of conditions.

In Flintoff, we had a genuine all-rounder who took wickets. If we could now find someone capable of coming into the side and adding 15 overs of seam while not weakening the batting, I feel things would be pretty much perfect.

I have never played under Andrew Strauss as captain, but I know him very well and can see definite similarities between him and Michael Vaughan, who masterminded our Ashes success.

Both are basically good guys with very strong beliefs in how they approach the job. They deal fairly with people while adopting a no-nonsense attitude that spells out clearly what is required of each player.

One difference is that Vaughan was probably more aggressive when it came to declarations whereas Strauss tends to play things a bit safer.

The respective coaches have similar backgrounds in that both Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower come from Zimbabwe. Fletch was very conscientious and everything I hear about Flower suggests he has the same work ethic.

So, as a whole, I would say England are in an even better place than we were in 2005. Becoming the number one Test side in the world is a magnificent achievement that reflects well on all those involved.

The key now is to emulate the Australian side of recent years, who stayed top of the tree by winning series all over the world. That is what you have to do to be remembered as a truly great team.

I don’t see England having problems at home in the foreseeable future – except possibly against South Africa – because in all departments they are well suited to our conditions. But playing on the subcontinent, in particular, could be a different story.

Over there you need an extra spinner and it is even more advantageous to have the Flintoff-type all-rounder, who can take some of the pressure off the main pace bowlers.

I could see Monty Panesar filling the first of those roles and offering a left-arm option, while if Durham’s Ben Stokes works on his bowling he could be the one to push himself into the all-rounder spot. He is a work in progress, but can already bowl a heavy ball that comes through quicker than you expect.

The problem Stokes faces in breaking into a batting line-up that appears to have no weaknesses at present. The same applies to someone like Samit Patel if England view him as a viable extra spin option.

We may have to alter the balance of the team slightly in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, even if it means leaving out someone like Jimmy Anderson to get an extra spinner into the side.

That’s where the importance of having a good squad comes in, along with the man-management skills to convince any player omitted that it is merely a horses-for-courses move.

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3 Responses to Marcus Trescothick: England today much better than 2005 team

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  3. SGK says:

    Tresco, enjoyed your batting and miss it at international level. your last few lines is the most balanced and unbiased writing ive read since England took to No.1. While all othres have simply discounted the facts you’ve put together, its nice to note a strong thinker like you have outlined what it takes to win. Good luck to you for the rest of your season