Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said that Joe Root and his team need to stop being nice. He added that Root and head coach Chris Silverwood need to take a leaf out of Virat Kohli's warrior attitude.
"Virat Kohli has been a warrior captain going into battle and saying to his players: 'Follow me. Believe in me. I'm up for the challenge.' Joe Root and the coach Chris Silverwood have to do the same. No more platitudes, no more being nice," wrote Boycott in his column for The Telegraph on Wednesday.
Boycott was critical of England's batting, saying they cannot keep waiting for Root to rescue them with a big knock. "A few of the England batsmen need to be told straight that when they get in, make hundreds. When the going gets tough, show some bottle. Something has to change. They cannot keep waiting for one spectacular innings from Joe to win the match."
"They folded in the second innings, losing four wickets for six runs in 36 balls. Where was the steel? Where was the backbone? It is not about technique or how pretty you look. You have to be tough and fight it out in Test cricket and England don't seem able to do it," added Boycott.
Boycott talked about players who weren't much talented but played with big hearts. "I played with some cricketers who did not have the talent of these batsmen but they had big hearts. David Steele, Peter Willey and Basil D'Oliveira were tough men and good cricketers under pressure. Some people handle the pressure, others crumble. And we are crumbling now."
The 80-year-old believes that Australian pacers will be studying every move of England's batsmen ahead of the Ashes at the end of the year. "The Australians will have watched the footage from the Oval. Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will be queuing up to bowl at us."
Boycott concluded by saying that England's batsmen need to have a re-look at their ways of handing pressure in crunch situations and try to stand up instead of collapsing under it.
"The England batsmen need to stand in front of a mirror and be honest with themselves. Ask what is going through their mind in tight situations? Whatever it is, change it because it is not working. Everybody has nerves, expectations and heightened emotions when batting but we have to conquer them and play well. Our guys just collapse under pressure."
"You have to ask yourself, what is pressure? As Keith Miller famously said: "Pressure is when you have a Messerschmitt up your arse going to blow you to kingdom come."
He was saying that pressure when you are batting is not the same as when your life is on the line and you could lose it in a second. You have to handle it. Our guys are just not doing that. Looking good, being pleasing on the eye and a nice lad doesn't help the team in tight spots. Give me tough over good every time."