Former England batter Kevin Pietersen has described the team’s performances Down Under as a “shambles”, and offered some strange advice to those shellshocked stars who still have two Tests to play in this Ashes series.
Australia have already secured the series win after a trio of relatively comfortable victories in the first three Tests.
A major part of why England are now only playing for pride is their haplessness with the bat – only captain Joe Root has come away with any sort of credit for his performances at the crease so far.
But even he was miles off it as Australia ripped through their guests on the third morning of this third Test and bowled them out for 68, meaning they didn’t even need a second innings.
Pietersen, who himself has been part of two previous England sides to be whitewashed 5-0 in Australia, has refused to blame the players for the defeat.
Instead, the 41-year-old pointed the finger at “the system” and suggested the batters should not take part in any practice sessions at all ahead of the upcoming New Year Test.
“If you thought that this Ashes trip for the England players was going to be anything less than a shambles, you’ve missed the lead up and you didn’t watch the tour of India!” Pietersen wrote on Twitter.
“Lead up – quarantine and Covid off field issues a nightmare! India – batters can’t bat!
“And still NOT blaming the players. It’s the system! And, I’ve been on two 5-0 defeats and they’re horrendous for all!
“My advice – DO NOT GO TO THE NETS! Get away from cricket & turn up the day of the next game.”
Pietersen is not the only one to criticise “the system”, and head coach Chris Silverwood is, at the moment, taking the brunt of the fallout.
He insists, though, that the players are still responding to his coaching and that he still has the backing of the England dressing room.
“We had a good honest chat after the last game,” he said. “We just have to put performances together and start pushing back.
“It is disappointing for us all and the lads will be feeling that in the dressing room. The way we caught in the last innings was good as well and I think there are positives coming out of this.
“I’ve got to give our boys credit for the way they pushed back yesterday, but we have to find a way of scoring runs against this attack.”