Former England spinner Monty Panesar believes Chris Silverwood could face being replaced as coach if he does not get his decision-making right ahead of the third Ashes test against Australia starting on Sunday.
England have been comprehensively outplayed by Australia in the first two matches, suffering heavy defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide and unless things change quickly the series will more than likely be lost in Melbourne.
Captain Joe Root and Silverwood have come under scrutiny for their team selections, including leaving bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad out of the opening match in Brisbane.
Former skipper Michael Atherton then branded the decision to pick five seamers and no spinners and leave paceman Mark Wood out of the Adelaide test as “lacking cricketing sense”.
Panesar said England have to get their team selection right in Melbourne.
“It’s an important test match for both Joe Root and Chris Silverwood,” Panesar said. “Root’s performances in the next three Test matches are going to be vital, and Silverwood himself has said that he’s accountable for making decisions and takes ownership, so it puts his position under pressure if they continue to get these decisions wrong.
“It’s also about the nature of these losses. The defeats that they have suffered have been very heavy.”
Panesar said the key in Melbourne will be to get runs on the board and not rely solely on Root.
“They have to get their decisions right in terms of team selection and in terms of attitude too,” he said in his William Hill blog. “And the key is going to be runs, if they don’t get runs on the board then they will lose this test as well.
“They need to ask themselves how they can get to 350, 400 and with who. There’s a lot of onus on Root, who’s scored over 30% of England’s runs this year, but he’s a lone soldier trying to get all of these runs for England and he needs help.”
Panesar thinks the England top order must be changed with Rory Burns making way after four failures.
“I’m not sure if Rory Burns has the technique to adjust to these Australian pitches, whereas Zak Crawley has the attacking approach, which paired with the defensive style of Haseeb Hameed, would work really well,” Panesar said.
“These are the decisions that have to be made and if Chris Silverwood gets it wrong for a third time, then I think people will start questioning whether he’s the right man to lead England as head coach.”