One-nil down in an ill-tempered Ashes series, a leading batsman returns home suffering from a stress-related illness, the team ridiculed in the toxic Australian media. Great. These are ideal conditions for the England cricket team to demonstrate its much-vaunted – not least from the mouths of the players themselves – mental toughness.
Several England players made much of their winning mindset in the summer – when they were winning. That’s easy. The environment now is ideal to show what they are made of. It is in these adverse environments that team psychologists earn their keep. What more motivation do the players need? For goodness sake, let’s not pretend there is any mutual respect there. Now get on with rubbing the Aussies’ noses in it. Go one better than three years ago: 4-1 to England. They have to believe it.