Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ashes 2023: England’s decision to declare on 393/8 was wildly arrogant, says Brett Geeves

Former Australia fast bowler Brett Geeves has called England’s decision to declare on 393/8 on day one of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston as “wildly arrogant” and added that the hosts’ ultra-attacking approach can’t hold up in the highly-anticipated series.

England captain Ben Stokes’ decision to declare at 393/8, with Joe Root notching up 118 not out, on the first day of the Edgbaston Test in the Ashes has been called by a few experts as the main reason behind the hosts’ two-wicket loss.

“It sets them (England) up to fail and to me it kind of feels like ‘even if we lose we’re playing the best cricket and we have won anyway. That’s not how it works. Particularly against Australia in the Ashes.”

“In particular if England have this mindset of wild arrogance and that’s what that declaration was. It was wildly arrogant to think that (8/393) was enough in the first innings on a very flat wicket,” said Geeves to SEN Radio.

Geeves firmly believed that England’s surprise declaration played a part in Australia winning the match, with captain Pat Cummins being 44 not out in a chase of 281 on last day’s play. “And yes, absolutely, they (Australia) won the game on the back of the English’s ridiculously dumb declaration. There is no doubt that England played a part in their win.”

“They could have come back the next day and tried to bat for another 50 or 60 runs which would have batted Australia out of the game, only one team would have been able to win the game had they made 450 or 460 and that was England.”

“And it’s because of the arrogance surrounding their approach to the game. 8/393 declared, you don’t do that in Test match cricket. You don’t do that across a five-day game when Joe Root is 118 not out.”

Now 1-0 behind, England will be aiming to make a comeback in the second Ashes Test, starting at Lord’s from June 28. Geeves, who played one ODI and two T20Is apart from a long domestic career in first-class cricket, was unimpressed with England’s coach Brendon McCullum telling the players that he was proud of them despite suffering a loss in Edgbaston.

“There was (an) article that I was reading that quotes Brendon McCullum in terms of their loss, they’re in the changerooms and Brendon spoke first and he says; ‘Lads, I am immensely proud of the effort you put in. We have made the game what it was. We were so close to pulling off an unbelievable victory. We played all the cricket in the game. If it wasn’t for us the Australians wouldn’t have even had a chance to win’.”

“It is just a really disrespectful approach to the performances of Pat Cummins and the performance of the run chase and their ability to hold England to 276 in the best batting conditions of the game,” he concluded.

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