England captain Joe Root is pleading with his players to join his COVID-affected coaches, in a clear sign that visitors are scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas to turn around his miserable Ashes campaign.
The half-glass approach that was used after Gabba’s crush didn’t work, and neither did the reading of the riot act and ax swing leading up to Christmas. Now, they are urged to use the plight of their seemingly doomed coaches as a motivational factor to avoid another major defeat in Sydney.
As any football fan will know, the words “adversity” and “galvanize” rarely bode well for a sports team, and England is no exception.
With the urn missing, the best Root’s men can hope for is to avoid becoming the third Ashes tour team to be shutout in the past 15 years. When asked how this could be achieved, Root could offer no other solution than not to repeat its mistakes.
The spread of the virus through their camp has decimated their ranks of coaches. While training at the SCG on Monday, coach Chris Silverwood and three members of his staff were in a hotel room nearly 900 kilometers away in Melbourne.
Highlighting his understaffing, a padded Jonny Bairstow on Monday delivered pitches to his captain, who returned the favor. This job is usually done by hitting coach Graham Thorpe, who was busy serving a neighboring net. Not even the most pessimistic of English cricket fans could have foreseen such a scenario within days of a fourth dead test.
Every now and then, the fresh voice that comes from a coach firing can spark a mini revival. Few expect Silverwood’s absence here to have the same effect, even if he will become the scapegoat for his failure in this series.
“With the number of coaches we have lacked, it has made things disjointed and challenging, but it is an opportunity to come together and work together,” said Root.
“We humans work together and help each other, and we try to prepare as best we can and withstand a bit of adversity, and we need to use that in a positive way when we go out into the field.