ODI series: We are all worried about our jobs, says England bowling coach David Saker
Saker is among those whose position has been reported to be under threat
When the wreckage of this tour is fully surveyed it will be fascinating to see who survives. As each day passes, with the run of losses steadfastly refusing to end, it seems England may start their brave new era with most of the crew intact.
They are aware that the mood at home is unforgiving at present and that sacking them all is the most lenient solution offered by some excitable observers. Nobody is making excuses, they know they have mucked things up in spectacular style. But they are also aware that such draconian exercises never work and that a period of calm reflection is needed before anything is done.
"I'll be the first to say that anyone on this tour should be worried about their job," said David Saker, the team's bowling coach. "We haven't performed well enough and we're in the business of winning games of cricket. This has been a poor performance from everyone involved."
Saker is among those whose position has been reported to be under threat, though Paul Downton, the new managing director of England cricket who does not start his job until 3 February, has said nothing yet and is decidedly not the sort of man to adopt a knee-jerk approach. So far, England have lost all eight international matches on this trip and face going down in a ninth, the fourth of five one-day internationals, at the Waca on Friday.
Few outside the camp give a hoot for their chances of stopping the marauding, if deliberately weakened, Australia team. Most of the England players who were here for the disastrous Ashes leg of the tour are doubtless craving to go home by now.
Whatever happens in the next two matches, it should not be overlooked that this series is in reality an early piece of reconnoitring for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.
For all Saker's candour, his position should be safe. By his own admission it has been a grim few months and his failure to turn round the fortunes of the fast bowler Steve Finn, on whom so many initial hopes were pinned, has hit him hard. But it should not be forgotten that Saker, like others, knew some good times until this barren winter.
"I've had pretty much a fairy-tale run until this tour and it has been a reality check for me and something everyone in our group has to think about," he said. "How can we move this group forward? I'm determined that when we face these guys again in 2015 and for the World Cup we'll be in a better place and make sure that we put up a good fight.
"I'm sure they will review everyone's position and if they see fit to change me, well that is their position, but I'm very much committed to trying to change things around."
Speculation continues to be rife about the future of Alastair Cook. It has suddenly become fashionable to promote the cause of Eoin Morgan as the future one-day captain with Cook concentrating on the Test leadership. This will not happen, Cook does not want it to happen and nor should it.
Cook is far from a perfect captain in either the short or long forms of the game but he has made huge progress and crucially has the respect of his team. What he must do above all else is score some runs otherwise gradually but assuredly he will lose it. His readiness to take England forward, to be ruthless and to be his own man should not be underestimated.
Fourth ODI details
Australia (from): MJ Clarke (capt), DA Warner, AJ Finch, SE Marsh, GJ Bailey, GJ Maxwell, BJ Haddin (wkt), JP Faulkner, NM Coulter-Nile, CJ McKay, XJ Doherty, MG Johnson, JL Pattinson, DT Christian.
England (from): AN Cook (capt), GS Ballance, IR Bell, RS Bopara, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, DR Briggs, JC Buttler (wkt), MA Carberry, CJ Jordan, EJG Morgan, WB Rankin, JE Root, BA Stokes, JC Tredwell, CR Woakes.
Umpires H D P K Dharmasena (SL) & J D Ward (Aus)
TV Sky Sports 2, from 3am
Weather forecast Warm and sunny. Maximum temp: 33C
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