Talking Sport: What will follow England’s winter of discontent?

Alastair Cook and Graeme Swann played central roles in England's winter to forget
Alastair Cook and Graeme Swann played central roles in England's winter to forget

As I’m sure many other England cricket fans have, I’ve spent copious hours this winter engulfed under my duvet spending the small hours of the morning watching the team capitulate, writes Charlie La Foret.

As if the 12-1 hammering across all three formats by a rampant Australia wasn’t embarrassing enough, the fallout is dragging on longer than the tour itself. With Kevin Pietersen now axed, and Greame Swann retired, where do England go from here?

Youth - that has to be the buzzword. The England team must now rebuild itself with an excting blend of youth and experience, redefining themselves with a more attacking brand of cricket.

This transformation will be overseen by Alastair Cook and a new coach - but who may that be?

The frontrunner certainly appears to be Ashley Giles, who, if he is successful, will unify the Test match and limited-overs job. Whoever gets the job must be bold in turning the fortunes around in the same way that the Strauss/Flower partnership did five years ago, but with fresh ideas, fresh methods and fresh success.

You get the feeling England are crying out for fresh, young players to make a big impact on the international scene. New players have been introduced but with limited success - the likes of Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan and Gary Ballance will be looking to nail down a Test spot. Others, like Joe Root, Ian Bell and Cook look to rediscover the form that earned them Ashes success last summer.

Having said that, there is a real opportunity for England to right a few wrongs this summer. They take on Sri Lanka first before entertaining India in a five-match series.

Both sub-continental sides sometimes look ineffective in our conditions, and although India will provide a strong test of England’s capabilities, we still go in as favourties, I think.

Perhaps we should be more positive about England’s immediate future - after all international cricket as a whole is going through transition. Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis and Greame Smith have all retired within the past six months and now there is a chance for the next generation of superstars. Let’s hope that it’s England’s young stars that come to the fore, not just those of India or Australia.

My Test starting XI for the summer is: Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Scott Borthwick, Chris Jordan, Stuart Broad and James Anderson.

* Do you agree or disagree with Charlie? Who should be England’s head coach - and who should be called into the team? Email sport@chiobserver.co.uk or tweet @charlielaforet7