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County Championship 2022

Mickey Arthur: England’s Test woes are ‘not the county system’s fault’

Mickey Arthur
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Derbyshire head coach Mickey Arthur has said that county system should not be blamed for England’s Test performances.

In their last 17 Tests, England have won one, drawn five, and lost 11 games. They were beaten 4-0 by Australia in the Ashes, lost the Richards-Botham Trophy in West Indies, and are without a win in five consecutive series. These results have raised a number of questions around England’s first-class structure, with former England batter Mark Butcher labelling the current schedule “horrendous”.

Arthur, formerly a head coach at several international sides, has now jumped into the debate..

“It’s not the county system’s fault England have only won one Test in the last 17,” he told the Daily Mail. “We weren’t talking about the system when England won the World Cup and became the best white-ball team in the world.”

He then went on to discuss why reducing the number of counties would be a bad idea. A number of prominent voices in English cricket, including Kevin Pietersen, and Jonathan Agnew, have talked about reducing the number of teams in England’s first-class setup.

“I hear they are thinking about reducing the number of counties? That would be short-sighted,” Arthur said. “England are not losing because Derbyshire are in the County Championship. And if they are looking to cull counties I can tell you we won’t be one of them.”

Arthur went on to discuss England’s issues in detail, which included the need for their new coach to be a “real leader” and addressing technical issues with their batting.

“England need a real leader as their next coach. The tail might have been wagging the dog for a little bit too long. They need a guy who can lead that dressing room with the captain.

“I’ve looked at it very closely and, without wanting to have a go at anybody, technically the England batters are not what they should be. You look at Joe Root and Ben Stokes but there are not a huge amount of other international batters available to England.

“Now I don’t think that’s a problem with the county system. I think it’s down to coaching and you have to look at their techniques as they come through. Maybe English batters need to be coached a bit better at an earlier stage of their career.”

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