England have lost the Ashes in humiliating fashion, getting beaten comfortably by Australia in the first three Tests

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Root accepts England need wholesale changes after Ashes defeat

Michael Atherton believes wholesale changes need to be made to the setup of county cricket in the wake of England ‘s Ashes humiliation.

Australia have already won the series with two Tests still left to play, comfortably beating England by nine wickets in the first Test, 275 runs in the second and an innings in the third.

England’s batting has regularly collapsed in the series, with Joe Root’s side managing a total of over 250 just once in six innings.

Speaking after defeat in the third Test, Root insisted his squad was made up of “the best 18 players from the county game” but acknowledged the state of first-class cricket in England is “not readying them well enough for Test cricket”.

And Atherton feels the County Championship needs to become “a shorter, more condensed, more high-quality competition”, highlighting the schedule and the spread of talent as the major problems which must be addressed.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “If your system is strong and competitive, all the talk about coaching is slightly peripheral because what you’ll have is a natural Darwinian process where the best players come to the top of the pile.

“The best players will take wickets and the best players will score runs if that system is strong and competitive.

“I just don’t think it’s strong and competitive enough right now for a lot of reasons. 18 teams, talent spread quite thin, number of matches played at tricky times of the season.

“A shorter, more condensed, more high-quality competition would, in the end, allow the best players to come through and those best players should then be able to make that step up to Test cricket more easily.

England have lost the Ashes in humiliating fashion


Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

“I’m not sure myself that coaching is the fundamental issue here. I think there are some odd theories knocking around, we saw some of them in the build-up to this game with England’s openers batting on one leg in a very visible net area.

“If you’re going to bat on one leg, do it in the indoor school away from prying eyes would be my advice, but probably the best advice would be not to bat on one leg.

“So I think there are some odd theories around, but in the end a good, strong competitive structure will bypass all that.”

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