England's assistant coach Graham Thorpe has challenged the England players to show more fight after their series loss against New Zealand. Thorpe and skipper Joe Root are hopeful that the team will bounce back against South Africa and will develop strong resilience to win back the Ashes in 2021-22.
The England team failed to win the second Test as New Zealand won the series 1-0 owing to an innings defeat of England in the first Test at Mount Maunganui. Assistant Coach Graham Thorpe expects the players to learn from this loss and harden up and take inspiration from the fight that New Zealand showed in the first Test.
Thorpe wants the side to develop a similar fight if they want to achieve Head Coach Chris Silverwood's main objective of winning back the Ashes in 2021-22. England will now be heading to South Africa for a four-match Test series with the first Test to begin on Boxing Day at Centurion.
"We've got to keep developing our players, no doubt about that. They have to ask themselves when they come away from a trip like this: where can I get better?" Thorpe told The Guardian.
England's batting line-up has undergone huge shuffling, something that we saw during the Ashes too and their inability to post big first inning scores is what in the end cost them the Urn as Australia retained the Ashes in England for the first time in 18 years.
"Because the big picture is that down the line, in a couple of years' time, we'll need resilient cricketers going to Australia. If we are going to keep trying to go up that Test ladder and really compete abroad then we have to keep challenging the players along the way.," he further added.
Skipper Joe Root, who is often criticized for not being able to convert his 50+ scores into big hundreds, scored a brilliant double hundred in the second Test against New Zealand and showed the kind of fight that Thorpe expects out of each England player.
"It’s great to see Root back and scoring some runs and how he is in the dressing room as well – that’s great for his confidence. But he was already held in very high esteem, so he’s just confirmed that and also that he’s a world-class player," Thorpe asserted.
Thorpe will be hopeful of the England team performing well in overseas conditions if they want to do well in Australia and he will be assisted by New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel as a spin bowling consultant for the tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka.