Cricket Expert & Columnist
Aus v Eng 2nd T20: England must stop pigeon-holing players and think on their feet
Terrible tourists are too obsessed with stats and have lost their feel for the game...
Last Updated: 31/01/14 2:40pm
The tourists slumped to 63-5 after being put in and mustered just 130-9 in the second Twenty20 international - a total Australia surpassed in 14.5 overs for the loss of just two wickets.
The defeat means that England have lost all three series in their tour of Australia following the 5-0 Ashes rout and 4-1 ODI debacle and former skipper Hussain admitted: "This tour has been an absolute disaster from start to finish.
"Anyone can lose two Twenty20 games but to lose like that was ridiculous. On paper England have a pretty good Twenty20 side; most people at home will say 'maybe Ben Stokes should play instead of someone' but it's a pretty good side.
"To go out there and bat and get 130 on a flat pitch is poor. Australia's most experienced bowler was Glenn Maxwell, who has bowled in 13 games.
"We are not talking about the greatest bowling line-up ever and England scored 130 on a flat pitch. George Bailey described them as a 'scary batting line-up. That wasn't scary - that was dreadful."
England, who chose to bat first, lost their way in desperate fashion after Michael Lumb and Alex Hales had posted 24 for the first wicket in 3.2 overs.
Six wickets subsequently fell for 63 runs as Australia, who won the opening match of the series by 13 runs in Hobart on Wednesday, tightened their grip as Josh Hazlewood returned 4-30.
The dire display proved, in Hussain's view, that England's game-plan is too inflexible and that the team as a whole is too over-reliant on statistics.
"I feel that England have lost the feel, the touch for this game on this tour," he reflected. "Stuart Broad was talking about England averaging 180. There seem to be a lot of stats, stats, stats thrown at you. How about just having a bit of gut feel for the game?
"If you're out there and it's a little bit slower than you expected, talk to your partner and say 'this is not Hobart, it's not a 220 pitch - it's a 180 pitch and people keep getting out. Instead of trying to get 60 in the first six, let's be 45-1'.
"But England are not thinking on their feet and the same thing happened when they were bowling. When Bresnan bowled two good overs bowling back of a length, the lad at the other end, Jade Dernbach, was bowling all sorts of variations instead of having a feel that it wasn't the right thing to do.
"It's all pigeon-holed. They're saying to the top three 'you go out there and thrash it, Joe Root will bat at four because Eoin Morgan isn't moving whatever happens because he's our finisher. Dernbach will bowl slower balls and variations whatever's happening'.
"These guys are playing for their country; you've got to read conditions and think 'today I'm going to be slightly different'."
England made one change to the side that lost on Wednesday, recalling spinner James Tredwell at the expense of Danny Briggs, a move that left Ben Stokes on 12th man duties.
Durham all-rounder Stokes has emerged as one of the few highlights of the tour after scoring his maiden Test century at the WACA and steering England to a 57-run victory in the fourth ODI by striking 70 and taking 4-38 and Hussain feels that the tourists are missing a trick by keeping him on the sidelines.
"I wouldn't build Ben Stokes up too much," he cautioned. "He's playing well but I wouldn't make him out to be the next Ian Botham or Andrew Flintoff.
"He's had a couple of good games in Perth and he's bowled and batted well in periods. England haven't lost this series because Stokes isn't in it. You suddenly become a better player when you are out of the side.
"You have to have some sort of consistency of selection. Two games ago Joe Root smashed 90 off 49 deliveries against Australia so it's very difficult to leave him out two games later.
"On a pitch where spin was an option, Root did give them that option. If Stokes was going to play, he should have played before the first game otherwise you are just going around in circles like the old days.
"I don't understand the Danny Briggs situation either. He plays one game and gets smashed on a flat deck in Hobart. Here there are bigger boundaries and the ball is sticking in the pitch and England go to Tredwell. There have been some odd selections and Stokes should have played."
Watch the third and final Twenty20 international between Australia and England live on Sky Sports 2 from 8am.