England were absolutely demolished in one of the worst Ashes performances by a visiting side and now some are suggesting the team’s culture is to blame with revelations of ‘fat shaming’ and drinking during the tour.
Coach Chris Silverwood will have a lot to reflect on in the coming weeks and in tandem with captain Joe Root the pair have to work out a way forward.
A culture shift is needed within the “cosy” set-up England with reports revealing an internal shambles from the beginning of the Ashes to the end.
Among the most startling of revelations is that a player reportedly rejected participating in a standard fitness test, and accused management of fat shaming.
Catch every moment of The Ashes live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.
“One player refused to take part in the skin-fold test – a gauge of body fat – and, when pressed, accused England of trying to fat shame him. The test was never carried out,” The Telegraph’s Nick Hoult wrote.
“Fitness levels clearly dipped for some players, who started the tour in good shape but appeared to let that side drift as the tour went on.”
Ollie Robinson, arguably England’s most reliable bowler this series is one such player who has questions raised surrounding his fitness.
The seamer took 11 wickets in four games at an average of 25.54 but at times he went down with various injuries which hampered his Ashes tour.
AUSSIE ‘23 ASHES XI: Three brutal axings
WARNE AND VAUGHAN’S ASHES XI: A ‘toss of the coin’ debate
CUMMINS’ CLASSY KHAWAJA ACT: ‘The boys have my back’
His fitness became a major talking point during the series given he was a clear threat to the Australians, but too often went missing due to fitness concerns.
On the morning of the Hobart Test, he declared himself fit to play and James Anderson was rested. By day one’s second session, he was already sitting out due to a back spasm.
According to The Telegraph, Robinson failed to make his fitness an absolute priority, and even played golf despite the potential to aggravate an injury.
“When England had the chance for a day off in Hobart, Robinson went and played golf even though he was troubled by a shoulder problem that threatened his chances of playing, with Craig Overton preparing to play in his place,” Hoult wrote.
Michael Vaughan mirrored Hoult’s sentiment, suggesting a way forward for the pace bowler, claiming he is “probably the most skilful” bowler that has played for England for a lengthy period.
But Vaughan believes Robinson has performed better than the veteran pairing of Broad and Anderson in their first nine Tests, but must get his body right.
Fitness is a key element of any fast-bowling cartel and a suggested way forward would be for Robinson to take time away from the game and focus purely on his body.
Watch every game of the KFC Big Bash League Live & On-Demand on Kayo or catch up for FREE with minis on Kayo Freebies. Join Kayo Now >
“Ultimately, I think they told him this a year ago and he has not done it. You can only take a horse to water. If he does not listen, drop him,” Vaughan wrote for The Telegraph.
Silverwood’s management style was also an issue while a drinking culture reportedly sparked concerns from management.
Drinking is not an unusual thing from touring sides and is also a great way for the team to bond in some cases, but too much of it severely affects preparation and fitness.
Hoult reported that an old method will almost certainly be implemented going forward in the squad once Covid calms down, the midnight curfew introduced by Andrew Strauss.
Vaughan believes the cultural issues stem from players having too much power in the modern game.
The England Test great has claimed that the “element of having to prove every day you deserve to be there” is leaving the England set-up and players are now “comfortable” in the national system.
Play Australia’s best fantasy cricket game – KFC SuperCoach BBL. Sign up now at supercoach.com.au >
“Coaches and administrators have to try and grab back some of the power. I have heard stories on this Ashes tour of England players refusing to do things they have been asked by the management. That cannot be right,” Vaughan wrote.
“Players have to be told in no uncertain terms: “This is what it takes to be an England player.” It is non-negotiable. Not the other way around.
“Players have great opportunities now with franchise leagues around the world but the best contract of the lot is the England central contract.”
Vaughan believes that the modern game has presented players with too many options, meaning they believe they can do what they like because there is money to be made elsewhere.
This mindset needs to be stopped immediately if England was to progress in the future, putting more emphasis on management having “power”.
In terms of players being too comfortable, Vaughan believes Ollie Pope is a prime example.
The energetic batsmen has massive wraps on him at only 24-years of age, but failed to fire in Australia in six innings, scoring a measly 67 runs at an average of 11.16.
Get all the latest cricket news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!!
Pope clearly is a talented player, but struggles to leave the ball, a simple defect in a Test batsmen’s mindset and one that he should be able to fix himself.
With the amount of coaches surrounding the team surely someone can assist the young man to be the best player he can be and not to panic while at the crease.
In country cricket for Surrey he thrives, but Vaughan has suggested maybe England need to be tougher on their contracted players.