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“England went for three big men who we never really saw”
Former England left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom has announced that the national team paid the ultimate price for not picking pace bowler Graham Onions for the recently concluded Ashes series.
Onions has been one of the top bowlers in England’s county circuit for numerous years, but the national selectors continue to snub him.
“Andy Flower said it could be the end of an era – and I would say so for one or two players,” Sidebottom told Sky Sports. “From the first Test, England got blown away – whether it be from the stick they got from beyond the boundary or from the Aussie players – and they never recovered from that.
“Australia out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded England – but that’s the way it goes. England went into the series in good form and on the back of an Ashes series win – I was as shocked as anyone to see a 5-0 whitewash. It’s very disappointing.
“Australia have been through a transitional period over the last two or three years and are now in a really good place with solid foundations – I think England need to bring some young lads in and see how they go.
“The thing that disappointed me was that you had Graham Onions, who’s been a really good county bowlers for the last few years and gets the ball to pitch up and move around – and England went for three big men who we never really saw.
“Only the England coaching know the reasons why but for me it was disappointing – Mitchell Johnson with the pace that he was bowling, Siddle and Harris, the way they pitched the ball up and probed away at the England batsmen – they were all immense.
“I felt sorry for the England bowlers because if you don’t get a score over 200-250 runs on the board you’re always going to be running uphill and it’s a tough ask for any Test team.
“I’d expect England to come back stronger – they’ve got some fantastic players in that team – proven players. It was just maybe a tour too much and they were all out of form at the same time.
“The Aussies put them on the back foot from the first Test and they never recovered – but a few of the players now have a bit of time off to reflect, improve on their game and get England back to number one.”
Sidebottom added that he wasn’t surprised by all-rounder Ben Stokes’ success in the Ashes and even hinted that he could go on to become the next Andrew Flintoff.
“I wasn’t surprised, he’s a serious player,” Sidebottom said. “He’s a strong character and maybe what England have been missing since ‘Freddie’ Flintoff retired – someone who can bowl with good pace and who comes in at number six and plays his shots to put pressure back on the opposition.”