Former bowler Monty Panesar has told us that he believes Joe Root and Chris Silverwood could face being replaced as England captain and coach after the Ashes if they don’t start getting their decision-making right ahead of their Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne.

England have experienced a crushing Ashes series so far, having lost the first two Tests in disappointing fashion ahead of Sunday’s third Test.

“It’s an important Test match for both Joe Root and Chris Silverwood. If they don’t get the decisions right here then they [the ECB] could think of replacing them after the Ashes,” Panesar told us. “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.”

While the odds are stacked against England, Panesar hopes it’s not too late to turn things around for the tourists.

“I think the mindset has to be that these [first two Tests] were two warm-up games, and the first Test starts in Melbourne,” he said. “Unfortunately, the scoreline is 2-0 but in the players’ minds they have to think that this is a three-Test match series, and this is where it starts. They have to get their decisions right in terms of team selection and in terms of attitude too. 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. This is how they need to approach this Test, 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. We may even see Jonny Bairstow come in, who’s a Yorkshire team-mate of Root, at the expense of Ollie Pope. Runs are going to be vital. If England can get some runs in this Test then they have a chance of winning.”

On the matter of decision-making, Panesar went on to say that it was crucial for England to get their team selection right on this occasion.

“The selection has to be right, these basic things they have to get right,” he said. “England do have the team. I think Stuart Broad should have played in Brisbane and been rested for Adelaide, and Dom Bess should have played in Adelaide. He’s a bit more of a fiery character and given the left-handers at the top of the [Australian] order it would have been a bit more of an attacking option. Melbourne is going to be interesting and what decisions they make. They have to play a fast bowler and I think Mark Wood will play, I think Stuart Broad will be rested and they need to bring in a spinner of course.

“Another key decision will be based at the top of the order. 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. 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.”

Panesar also added that players should not shy away from personal responsibility ahead of the third Test.

He said: “In particular, someone like Jack Leach, he should grab Ben Stokes and have a net with him and get Stokes to go after him so he can work out his gameplan for when the Australia batsmen go after him, which is clearly their plan.

“I used to do that all the time with Kevin Pietersen. Whenever I felt that I was going to be under pressure, especially in Australia, I’d tell Kevin to try and hit me as far as he can and it helped me when I was bowling to the Australian batters as I’d know what to do because I’d been doing it against a great player like Kevin Pietersen. I think this is what Jack Leach needs to do [with Stokes] if he is going to be successful in Australia.”

Panesar added: “I think collectively this England team can score runs but they’ve just got to believe their basic skills are good enough to do it, and let’s hope that Chris Silverwood and Joe Root pick the right team for the Melbourne Test.

“I think that, in this [remaining] three Test series, if England pick a front-line spinner, either Jack Leach or Dom Bess, a fast bowler, probably Mark Wood, and at the top of the order, perhaps Zak Crawley, then if they pick that sort of team and get some runs on the board, England will win this [remaining] three Test series.”

Panesar continued on selection, adding: “There is a lot of fight in these cricketers, and they’re showing that but it’s the selection that’s the issue. It all seems to be bits and pieces; you only need to look at Ollie Robinson bowling off-spin. They need a few players who are strong in their own specialist skill, good strong opening batsmen and a frontline spinner, and they just don’t have that. It’s their attitude towards it as well that’s problematic. If they really thought Jack Leach was going to be their guy during the Ashes then why didn’t they play him against New Zealand at the start of the year?”

On England’s spin woes, Panesar went on to add: “I’m afraid he [Jack Leach] may have to move on from Somerset if he wants to resurrect his Test career, I just don’t think England believe he can perform a role in conditions that aren’t helpful. If they bring in Jack Leach [for the third Test] what does his gameplan look like, how is he going to get the left handers or even contain them? I think that needs to come from him and we need those reassurances from him that he can do a job for his country in Australia.

“They may even look at Dom Bess, they may just think it’s a better option to have someone spin the ball away. He can also bat and with the top order not being so strong they may just look to fill that gap like they did with Chris Woakes. I just think they need to play a spinner whichever one it is, because you can’t be filling in gaps with the likes of Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, and Dawid Malan.”

Looking at the MCG Test, Panesar added: “The Boxing Day Test is like the FA Cup final in England, it’s the highlight of the Australian calendar. It’s a great feeling and I remember in my first Boxing Day Test getting Andrew Symonds plum LBW and Rudi Koertzen didn’t give it out, he [Symonds] went on to get 150. That’s the key in Australia, if you don’t get early wickets or good decisions its hard to get these Australian batters out. It feels like a coliseum and you’re a gladiator with 100,000 people watching you.”

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