You know things are bad when the Barmy Army is taking matters into its own hands — but that’s how low England has sunk this summer.
The Barmy Army is sticking by its team but has called for changes to how cricket operates in England after another dismal Ashes campaign.
Pat Cummins’ troops are on their way to a series whitewash after belting the Poms by an innings and 14 runs in less than two-and-a-half days at the MCG to take an unassailable 3-0 lead.
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England’s post-mortem into what went wrong has well and truly begun — both with the Test team itself and also regarding the structural issues plaguing the game at domestic level in the UK — but there won’t be any quick fixes.
England’s famous fan group took to social media on Thursday with a classy message in support of the Test side, but indicated it will engage in dialogue with the ECB about the problems afflicting cricket at home.
“We in the Barmy Army are loyal and passionate Test cricket fans. We support the team through good times and bad but we are gutted and distraught that we have lost the Ashes so soon,” the Barmy Army said.
“However, as all the England fans in Australia have shown from Brisbane to Melbourne, we will never waver in our loyal support for the team.
“It’s clear there are fundamental and structural issues with the county game and its level of prioritisation is not working for the Test team. The lack of attention given to men’s red ball cricket is clearly evident in the disappointing performances of the Test team. We were shown a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the format we know and love when the 5th India Test was cancelled on the day of the game.
“What can we do as fans? We can make our voice heard. Rather than being disgruntled on social media, we want to be proactive and represent our members. As such, we’ll be listening and consolidating our members’ opinions and contacting the ECB with our thoughts.
“We will be partnering with the Cricket Supporters’ Association to combine our feedback to share with the ECB.
“No matter what, we remain unconditionally supportive of the England team. We’ve been amazed by people staying up all over the world hoping for that next wicket, next boundary and getting behind the team. We will certainly be right behind the lads for the next Test.”
The statement was well received by former England wicketkeeper Matt Prior and Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan.
“This is brilliant. Well done @TheBarmyArmy,” Prior wrote on Twitter while Vaughan replied: “Well done, a sensible message.”
England has failed to win a single Test in its past three tours Down Under and while the team’s batters — Joe Root aside — have been abysmal in the five-day format all year, David Warner said the bowlers have also struggled to adjust to bouncy Australian pitches.
“The last two times England’s been here they’ve been way short of their length,” Warner said after the MCG thrashing.
“In England that back of a length is still hitting the stumps. (But) if you bowl that length at the Gabba or Adelaide, you’re not really hitting the stumps.
“You have to be brave enough to pitch the ball up here. We feel as a batting unit when England pitch the ball up, we drive them down the ground … but you have to do that to create the chances, to create the bat-pad gap to create those nicks.”