Geoffrey Boycott says the way in which English cricket has been run lately amounted to a “shambles” ahead of this week’s first Test against New Zealand.
England crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage and then managed only a 1-1 Test series draw in the Caribbean against a West Indies side labelled “mediocre” by new England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves.
Meanwhile there was off-field upheaval too, with news of former England coach Peter Moores’s sacking becoming public knowledge before he had been told himself and the mixed messages from officialdom over the international future of still-exiled star batsman Kevin Pietersen.
“The last six months have been traumatic for England,” wrote Boycott in his column for Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday.
“Our cricket has been poor and the administration of our game a shambles,” the former England opener added.
Boycott said it had been a “monumental mistake” to recall Jonathan Trott for all three Tests in the Caribbean only for the batsman to subsequently announce his international retirement after a run of low scores and fresh struggles against the short ball.
The 74-year-old former England opener was also unimpressed with the balance of England captain Alastair Cook’s attack against the West Indies.
“Going into the Tests in the Caribbean with four seamers on sub-continental style slow, dry, turning pitches was unbelievably stupid,” he said.
“I am not saying this with the luxury of hindsight either – I said so at the time.
“If Cook had read the pitches better and not been so inflexible, England would have picked another spinner to winkle batsmen out and won all three Test matches.”
Boycott did praise James Anderson but added England had become over-reliant on their all-time leading Test wicket-taker.
“There is too much dependency on Anderson and that is not a recipe for success as we found out in the West Indies,” Boycott said.
“Other bowlers have to take some wickets. Anderson is the star of the show and without him our bowling looks ordinary.
“He is up there in the pantheon of great English fast-medium bowlers alongside Alec Bedser, Maurice Tate and George Lohmann.”