The English cricket team are going through a very bad time. The most recent overnight surrender points to a lack of self-belief. Two years ago, we celebrated victory in an epic Ashes confrontation. Today we wonder where it has all gone. The BBC commentary team were clear in their assessment of the top order batters’ performance: they got out to poor shot selection, rather than to the Aussie bowlers.
You can deploy all the usual excuses: it’s the captain; it’s the coach; it’s the loss of some key players; it’s the poor preparation; it’s allowing WAGs to be around, undermining the team’s focus etc. However, they’re good players, so what’s gone wrong?
Clearly there is an issue of leadership. Vaughan may not have Flintoff’s all round ability as a player, but he is certainly a better leader and motivator.
There is at the same time an obvious crisis of confidence. At the very top of most team sports, even allowing for the odd brilliant individual, the overall difference in ability is pretty marginal. What becomes clear is that confidence is a vital factor. And confidence is a by-product of the right kind of leadership.
I have no doubt that Australia are an outstanding cricket team. However, England are not as bad as their recent results might suggest. “Another day, another play.” With Vaughan back (hopefully) and some other key players returning from injury, I think England will have a decent Summer.
Lack of leadership and lack of confidence are not restricted to the cricket pitch. Both play a part in the decline of many organisations. Makes you (and me) think, doesn’t it?