Infotainment Factory: How Smith's Ashes quip 'embarrassed' England

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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

How Smith's Ashes quip 'embarrassed' England


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England great Geoff Boycott is raging over a Steve Smith quip that he says is "embarrassing" for the Ashes host.

Smith was buzzing after making twin centuries in the series opener at Edgbaston, his first Test after a playing ban.

He made a remark afterwards that was mostly expressing his joy at returning to Test cricket, yet also contained a slap for England.

"I love Test cricket and I love playing against England. It's a terrific place to play Ashes cricket and these last four days, it's felt like Christmas morning every morning coming to do this," Smith said.

Writing for The Telegraph, Boycott said that England should feel humiliated by that comment and needed to work out Smith at Lord's - where the Australian maestro hit 215 last Ashes tour.

"If England are to have any chance of winning at Lord's they need to find a way to get Steve Smith out. Smith is laughing at the England bowlers and captain Joe Root's tactics," Boycott wrote.

"He was quoted after Edgbaston saying "it's like Christmas every day batting against England". He is right, but a comment like that should be embarrassing for the England players and should really hurt them."

Boycott also suggested that England's bowlers needed to target the stumps more and stack the leg-side field restricting Smith's favourite scoring zone.

Writing for The Sun, John Etheridge suggested that the fate of Joe Root's England captaincy was tied to Smith's batting. Root has yet to win an Ashes Test as captain and Smith has smashed 973 runs at 139 in those matches.

"The stark reality is that Root will never be regarded as an outstanding captain unless he and his bowlers can dispatch Smith cheaply," Etheridge wrote.

"England Test skippers are judged mainly by their Ashes performances and Root's record so far reads: played six, lost five, drawn one.

"If Smith continues to pile on the runs, the feel-good memory of that World Cup triumph will ebb further away."

Writing for The Guardian, former England spinner Vic Marks said that Root needed an Ashes victory and would hope debutant paceman Jofra Archer could be the man to subdue Smith.

"The Australians will be piling the pressure on Root," Marks wrote. "He needs an Ashes victory soon.

"Perhaps the extra pace and the fresh, uncomplicated outlook of Archer might help here. Indeed, England would be content if their debutant took just two wickets in the match provided his victim was Smith on both occasions."

While World Cup star Archer was an obvious selection, England have one spot in their XI apparently undecided - which is causing consternation. No.4 batsman Joe Denly is apparently at risk of losing his place to all-rounder Sam Curran, which could push all-rounder Ben Stokes as high as No.4 in the batting order; leaving just No.3 Root, plus openers Jason Roy and Rory Burns as England's only specialist batsmen.

Writing for The Daily Mail, former England captain Nasser Hussain said that fielding such a piecemeal side would be an indictment.

"Call me a traditionalist, but when I look at one of the permutations England are considering for this second Test, I worry about the direction our red-ball cricket is heading," Hussain wrote.

"If England pick Sam Curran ahead of Joe Denly, the selectors are basically saying that they trust one of their all-rounders to score runs over one of their frontline batsmen. Maybe, in this instance, they are right. But it's an indictment of our Test team.

"They may still stick with Denly, of course, but if they don't they'll have Jos Buttler at No 5, a guy with five first-class hundreds from 154 innings, and Curran potentially as high as No 7. How many first-class hundreds has he got? That's right — none."

Writing for The Times, Steve James said that such uncertainty over the batting line-up was unconscionable.

"A team's No 4 batsman should not be arriving at a ground unsure of whether or not he is playing. It may well be that Joe Denly knows more than we do, but the distinct impression garnered from Lord's yesterday was that there was a strong chance that Sam Curran, the Surrey all-rounder, could play instead of the Kent batsman in the second Ashes Test starting today," James wrote.

"If anything sums up this England Test side, it is this. The thinking is clear to see, but it does not necessarily make it any easier to stomach.

"The joke is that England are at sixes and sevens, because all these players would ideally like to be batting in those positions — but is it now too much if one of them is being asked to bat as high as No.4?"

Win or lose, Root will be the face of the result for England at Lord's.

Writing for The Mirror, star all-rounder Stokes insisted that the captain had provided strong leadership heading into the second Test, telling his men to go hard at Australia.

"That is what Joe has been talking about this week. We do not take a backwards step against these guys and we stand firm together," Stokes wrote.

"The way Joe addressed the team at the start of this week was in a different way to how he normally does which shows how much this means to him and to all of us.

"We saw another side to him with the way he said what he said. He was forthright and more passionate with his words, which was quite refreshing and good to see."

England great Geoff Boycott is raging over a Steve Smith quip that he says is "embarrassing" for the Ashes host.

Smith was buzzing after making twin centuries in the series opener at Edgbaston, his first Test after a playing ban.

He made a remark afterwards that was mostly expressing his joy at returning to Test cricket, yet also contained a slap for England.

"I love Test cricket and I love playing against England. It's a terrific place to play Ashes cricket and these last four days, it's felt like Christmas morning every morning coming to do this," Smith said.

Writing for The Telegraph, Boycott said that England should feel humiliated by that comment and needed to work out Smith at Lord's - where the Australian maestro hit 215 last Ashes tour.

"If England are to have any chance of winning at Lord's they need to find a way to get Steve Smith out. Smith is laughing at the England bowlers and captain Joe Root's tactics," Boycott wrote.

"He was quoted after Edgbaston saying "it's like Christmas every day batting against England". He is right, but a comment like that should be embarrassing for the England players and should really hurt them."

Boycott also suggested that England's bowlers needed to target the stumps more and stack the leg-side field restricting Smith's favourite scoring zone.

Writing for The Sun, John Etheridge suggested that the fate of Joe Root's England captaincy was tied to Smith's batting. Root has yet to win an Ashes Test as captain and Smith has smashed 973 runs at 139 in those matches.

"The stark reality is that Root will never be regarded as an outstanding captain unless he and his bowlers can dispatch Smith cheaply," Etheridge wrote.

"England Test skippers are judged mainly by their Ashes performances and Root's record so far reads: played six, lost five, drawn one.

"If Smith continues to pile on the runs, the feel-good memory of that World Cup triumph will ebb further away."

Writing for The Guardian, former England spinner Vic Marks said that Root needed an Ashes victory and would hope debutant paceman Jofra Archer could be the man to subdue Smith.

"The Australians will be piling the pressure on Root," Marks wrote. "He needs an Ashes victory soon.

"Perhaps the extra pace and the fresh, uncomplicated outlook of Archer might help here. Indeed, England would be content if their debutant took just two wickets in the match provided his victim was Smith on both occasions."

While World Cup star Archer was an obvious selection, England have one spot in their XI apparently undecided - which is causing consternation. No.4 batsman Joe Denly is apparently at risk of losing his place to all-rounder Sam Curran, which could push all-rounder Ben Stokes as high as No.4 in the batting order; leaving just No.3 Root, plus openers Jason Roy and Rory Burns as England's only specialist batsmen.

Writing for The Daily Mail, former England captain Nasser Hussain said that fielding such a piecemeal side would be an indictment.

"Call me a traditionalist, but when I look at one of the permutations England are considering for this second Test, I worry about the direction our red-ball cricket is heading," Hussain wrote.

"If England pick Sam Curran ahead of Joe Denly, the selectors are basically saying that they trust one of their all-rounders to score runs over one of their frontline batsmen. Maybe, in this instance, they are right. But it's an indictment of our Test team.

"They may still stick with Denly, of course, but if they don't they'll have Jos Buttler at No 5, a guy with five first-class hundreds from 154 innings, and Curran potentially as high as No 7. How many first-class hundreds has he got? That's right — none."

Writing for The Times, Steve James said that such uncertainty over the batting line-up was unconscionable.

"A team's No 4 batsman should not be arriving at a ground unsure of whether or not he is playing. It may well be that Joe Denly knows more than we do, but the distinct impression garnered from Lord's yesterday was that there was a strong chance that Sam Curran, the Surrey all-rounder, could play instead of the Kent batsman in the second Ashes Test starting today," James wrote.

"If anything sums up this England Test side, it is this. The thinking is clear to see, but it does not necessarily make it any easier to stomach.

"The joke is that England are at sixes and sevens, because all these players would ideally like to be batting in those positions — but is it now too much if one of them is being asked to bat as high as No.4?"

Win or lose, Root will be the face of the result for England at Lord's.

Writing for The Mirror, star all-rounder Stokes insisted that the captain had provided strong leadership heading into the second Test, telling his men to go hard at Australia.

"That is what Joe has been talking about this week. We do not take a backwards step against these guys and we stand firm together," Stokes wrote.

"The way Joe addressed the team at the start of this week was in a different way to how he normally does which shows how much this means to him and to all of us.

"We saw another side to him with the way he said what he said. He was forthright and more passionate with his words, which was quite refreshing and good to see."

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