Former England hitter David Lloyd said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” by the 17-man squad chosen for the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia.
England named a near-complete squad earlier this week, with fast pitcher Jofra Archer and versatile Ben Stokes the notable omissions. The two are injured, while Stokes also takes a break from the game due to mental health concerns.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Lloyd, who toured Australia in the 1970s and then coached England, expressed amazement at the composition of the squad.
READ MORE: NFL coach quits after racist emails leak to media
READ MORE: Australia risk losing Formula 1 race for good
READ MORE: Teammates react to Ben Simmons shock return after months of drama
“To say I was surprised when I saw the team England had chosen to go to Australia would be an understatement – I was absolutely stunned,” he said.
“They picked a squad of blockers, mid-players and short players. You don’t really have to be a student of the game to know how it ends in Australia. Good luck, guys.”
Former Aussie skipper Mark Taylor noted earlier this week that the England hitter is likely to be a problem, and Lloyd, an opener himself, explained he would have left out the two forerunners, Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed.
“You don’t win in Australia with top blockers like Haseeb Hameed or openers who don’t stand properly like Rory Burns,” he said.
“Burns’ first move – wherever the ball is thrown – is to push his right foot for extra cover. If that technique works in Australia, I’m a Dutchman.”
The bowling attack is again led by James Anderson, who recently turned 39, and Stuart Broad, who is 35 and missed much of the English summer with a calf injury.
“As for (coach) Chris Silverwood saying we’re going to bore them with line and length, I’m sorry, but you won’t,” Lloyd said.
“It takes fire and rhythm. Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson scared England.
“England have good bowlers and Ollie Robinson looks classy.
“But Stuart Broad is recovering from an injury and Jimmy Anderson has his last hurray.”
Lloyd says Saqib Mahmood may feel particularly saddened that he missed the opportunity.
“Your bowling attack needs rhythm and, because the Kookaburra ball gives you so little, a reverse swing,” he said.
“Mahmood has both, so what did England do? Left him out.”
England’s rotating attack is particularly slim, with cross-spinner Dom Bess and Jack Leach expected to provide a response to Nathan Lyon.
“You need a leggie – not a left arm spinner who only carries drinks and an off spinner who was abandoned in India.”
Lloyd was part of the England squad which was beaten 4-1 by Ian Chappell’s Australia team in 1974-75, and he fears this year’s tourists will suffer the same pain.
“I always used to laugh when Glenn McGrath came out like clockwork with his Ashes prediction of 5-0. But this time, I agree with him.”
For a daily dose of the best of the latest news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter byby clicking here!
AFL’s biggest business mistakes that backfired on the teams involved