Veteran paceman James Anderson wants England to reconsider their priorities, arguing the red-ball game has been neglected.
Only one person in history has played more than Anderson’s 168 Tests – Indian great Sachin Tendulkar – and he has almost 20 years of experience in the international arena.
The 39-year-old has been stung by England’s Ashes capitulation, with the urn surrendered after just 12 days of action and three resounding losses, and is clear the players themselves must shoulder the blame.
But he also believes England’s current priorities are wrong.
English cricket overhauled its outdated relationship with the limited-over game in the aftermath of a dire showing at the 2015 World Cup.
They won the same tournament four years later and are world No.1 in Twenty20 cricket.
But Joe Root’s Test team has entered a period of decline that has yielded a record nine losses this year and a grossly uncompetitive performance on the marquee tour of Australia.
“It’s hard when you’re in it, to start dissecting everything. We don’t want to start thinking about the whole domestic structure and whatever else,” he said.
“But what I will say is, I would just like to think that maybe the balance between red and white-ball cricket is there, going forward.
“There has been a huge (change of) direction with white-ball cricket, a big push with that since 2015. I think that, at the minute, it’s tipped slightly towards white ball and it has done for the last few years.
“If you look at our performances in Test cricket over the last few years, they’ve been pretty inconsistent. So, from that point of view we can hopefully just redress that balance a little bit.”
Anderson and his teammates still have two more Test matches in the series.
The mood at nets practice has been sombre for the past 48 hours – two days that should have involved the concluding acts of a Boxing Day Test that did not even reach the halfway mark.
“It’s not been my favourite tour, for sure,” said Anderson. “The lads are pretty flat at the minute if I’m being brutally honest,” he said.
“We’re 3-0 down in an Ashes series after some pretty poor performances so it’s hard to not be flat. From that point of view it’s not been fun.”
Four years ago Anderson set himself the challenge of one more crack at Australia in their back yard after a wounding 4-0 defeat and he will leave for the final time with the same bitter taste.
“Obviously I didn’t want that to be my last memory of Australia so I came back and this is going to be it,” he said.