Ashes blame game begins with English press

LIAM FITZGIBBON
Last updated 07:57 18/12/2013
Alastair Cook
Getty Images
ALASTAIR COOK: "Sport is not about trying at all - it's about delivering. We know we tried as hard as we could and we haven't delivered."

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The fallout from a demoralising Ashes defeat has begun in England, with poor preparation, selection and leadership being blamed for the nation's failure to retain the urn.

A third successive test defeat which ensured Australia a series victory was labelled as "depressing" and hard to watch by English UK media on Tuesday and fingers are being pointed far and wide.

"It was just demoralising to watch and England seemed to be powerless to intervene," The Daily Telegraph wrote.

Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott was particularly critical of the coaching staff saying while Australia executed their plans well the tourists "cocked it up big time."

"The planning and the prep of the team - it's all gone haywire. In all areas they have been better than us," Boycott told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The Guardian also blamed the performance on issues with preparation and selection, along with a timid approach by Alastair Cook's men.

"England tiptoed into the series. Australia, under the uncomplicated guidance of Darren Lehmann, tore into it," it said.

Former captain Andrew Strauss questioned Cook's leadership and said he had to stop treating his teammates as close friends.

"Long-term, this may be the making of Alastair Cook because it gives him the opportunity to stand up there to the rest of the team and say: 'This isn't good enough, you need to do things my way from now.'," Strauss said.

"It would allow him to stand above and a bit away from some of those players who are very good friends of his.

"His style of captaincy is very much leading by example with the bat. We have got to the stage now where he needs to move further than that."

The Daily Mirror's Oliver Holt called for veteran batsman Kevin Pietersen to be axed.

"He is setting a tone. Just not the right kind of tone," Holt wrote.

"It is sad to say it but it has got to the point where it feels he is a luxury England can no longer afford."

The criticism followed stinging comments from former captain Ian Botham on Monday claiming the England side lacked passion.

"I don't see any of the 'over my dead body' attitude, it drives me mad and I'm sure lots of the supporters too," Botham said.

It was not all doom and gloom on Tuesday however, with Ben Stokes' maiden century considered a positive sign for the future.

"After Stokes's ton, at least England know the future's bright, the future's orange," the Daily Mail said.

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