Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes that the decline in the Test team's fortune happened after they won the first Test against India in Chennai earlier this year. He added that post the 227-run win in Chennai, England started to rest and rotate players for the rest of the series, which wasn't great in the build up to the Ashes, where Joe Root and Co. are now trailing 2-0.
England's rotation policy became a very heated topic in the cricketing world when they played the four-match Test series against India in February and March minus many of their main squad members, a decision slammed by various former players. Eventually, England lost the series 1-2 to crash out of the inaugural World Test Championship final race.
"The decline started in India after England won in Chennai. England opted to put T20 cricket ahead of Test cricket when they started resting players and rotating them for the rest of that series. That moment sent a message to me that they were not focusing on the Test team. The T20 team did not need any more love. Test cricket has been the format over the last few years that has always needed more attention," wrote Vaughan in his column for The Telegraph on Wednesday.
Vaughan was highly unimpressed with England allowing its players to miss the two-match Test series at home against New Zealand in order to feature in the first half of IPL 2021.
"Then it got worse in the summer when players were allowed to put the IPL ahead of a Test series against New Zealand. Yes I know that series was not part of the future tours program but, wow, England players were told they could play in the IPL when there was a Test match going on at Lord's. It was an odd way to build towards the Ashes," Vaughan said.
Vaughan further called upon the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to start using Kookaburra balls instead of the traditional Dukes ball in the County Championship. "I have said it before many, many times but until we change the Duke ball to the Kookaburra in County Championship cricket and force batsmen to bat longer, and bowlers to work harder for their wickets, we will be in this situation again in four years' time."
The 47-year-old concluded by saying that England have to be honest in their assessment of performances at home.
"We also have to be honest about our home performances. In 2019 it was 2-2 but Australia battered us really. It took the greatest Test innings of all time by Stokes to get England back in the series. It can't be easy living in bubbles but the reality is we need to look at our system and say it is time to panic for the England team," he said.