England coach Graham Thorpe insists Ireland collapse no cause for panic as Ashes approach


GRAHAM THORPE said there is no need to hit the panic button a week away from the start of the Ashes despite England being rolled over for 85 by an Ireland side led by journeyman Tim Murtagh.

England’s batting coach described a disappointing performance in which Murtagh took 5-13 as the “jolt” some players might need to shake off World Cup fatigue.

But after admitting some players were struggling having played in the Final before heading straight towards the Ashes, he insisted he was confident they could bounce back before Edgbaston.

“There’s no real excuses for being bowled out for 85 against Ireland but for the guys who have been playing in the World Cup it’s probably been a challenging mental examination,” Thorpe said.

“We have to keep the environment pretty calm and focused though. Not go into panic mode.

“This has happened. We’d rather it didn’t but it has. And sometimes it can be a little jolt as well.

“I’m sure some of the lads would have liked to stay up on cloud nine for longer but this is the nature of our sport and the nature of our schedule we have this summer so we accept it.”

Five members of England’s World Cup winning squad played on Wednesday, just 10 days after lifting the trophy at Lord’s against New Zealand with Root, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Jason Roy and Moeen Ali all flopping.

Aside from the Test captain Root, Thorpe admitted they were given the choice of playing or not.

“There can’t be many sports where you win a World Cup then are playing again a week later but that is the nature of this summer,” said Thorpe.

“In some respects it will refocus minds as well. We hope that, going forward, this is a little bump in the road and we respond over the next few days in this Test and put a score on the board that challenges Ireland in their second innings.”

Murtagh was the star on a day when Ireland finished with a lead of 122 after their innings finished at 207 all out.

And he insisted Ireland were able to capitalise not only on tiredness but some pre-Ashes anxiety amongst England’s batsmen.

“We possibly caught them napping a bit,” he said. “I said before the game we had to use that to our advantage given there are guys in their dressing room trying to get in that first Ashes Test next week.

“We knew we could do a bit of damage in that first session with possibly three or four wickets but we didn’t think it would go that well.

“If you had offered us a 120 lead at the start of the day we would have snapped your hand off.”

England’s Ashes campaign starts next Thursday when they take on old rivals Australia in Birmingham.


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