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“It’s a Backroom Team Made Up Of Cheerleaders”: Michael Vaughan Rips Apart Ben Stokes And Co

Former skipper Michael Vaughan fears not all England players have fully adapted to the existing team culture and feels the backroom staff is “made up of cheerleaders”. Vaughan suggested England must carry out an honest review of their 1-4 mauling in India by taking a leaf out of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s book to breed an environment of ruthlessness. India completed a magnificent series triumph with an innings and 64-run victory inside three days in the fifth and final Test here on Saturday.

“After a humbling series defeat in India, I strongly believe that a dose of honesty is the most important thing for this England team right now,” Vaughan wrote in his column for Daily Telegraph.

Vaughan, who led the Test team from 2003-08, added, “I don’t believe they need to rip everything up. They are better playing this way than they would be otherwise.

“I respect what they are trying to do, and get up early every day to watch them because they have me on the edge of my seat and I know something is going to happen.

“The great frustration is that they have the talent to be really competitive all over the world but they have blown two big series and in this case it was because their batting failed miserably.” Accusing the team management of going too soft on players, Vaughan said he understands that there is a pervading sense of positivity, fun and laughter in the camp but that may not always bring the desired results.

“Every interview you hear the same stuff, about excitement, opportunity and fun, that everyone is having the time of their life.

“I have been around many of them in the last couple of years and their language can be inspiring. I admire some of it, but I can be a bit of an old cynic, and I worry that they are speaking a language that not all of them truly believe, which is dangerous.

“Certain players will believe it, but not everyone. We can’t all think the same.” He added, “Victories are what keep the fun bus on the road, not endlessly talking about how much fun you are having.

“The truth is that this can’t always be fun, because it’s so hard. Positivity is good, and inspiring, but honesty is also required.” Vaughan said those running the team must not shy away from taking tough calls and for that, they don’t need to look beyond Guardiola.

“The team message is never to doubt anything, never admit they were wrong or they could have done things differently. Everything is very cosy. Everyone is mates: players, coaches, backroom staff. That does not breed an environment of ruthlessness.

“I know I bang on about how brilliant Pep Guardiola is, but you don’t hear about him being mates with Manchester City players. He’s their boss and he doesn’t always do what his players want him to.” “He makes ruthless decisions about selection and training regimes.” Vaughan was least amused with the English players spending time in Abu Dhabi and playing golf in Bengaluru when there were long breaks between Tests.

“England’s management give the players just about everything that they want, like a break in Abu Dhabi with no cricket kit and a golf trip to Bangalore in the middle of the tour.

“I am not one for old-school preparation, with three first-class matches at the start of a tour. Those days are gone, and it’s not needed. But surely with two long breaks, you need to get some cricket into the outside of the team, so they are ready if required, and to keep those in the XI on their toes.

“It also might help players in the team find form. By doing nothing, you get yourself into a Catch 22.” He added, “I do worry it’s a backroom team made up of cheerleaders. That’s based on what I hear in public, and maybe it’s different in the changing room, but players need challenging and questioning at times.”

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