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England is not competing in the current Ashes, because England is “not playing”. The performances of its key stars, namely Alastair Cook, Joe Root, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Moeen Ali, can best be described by the reflexes of a deer caught in headlights.
Before their stumble in the away London derby game against West Ham, Chelsea had won six and drawn one of their previous seven matches, including the Alvaro Morata header-inspired 1-0 home victory over Manchester United.
If the victory at Wembley is anything go by, we can be sure that Chelsea are the champions of England not because of ideal circumstances of the previous season. They are champions because they can fight to win despite everything. And that’s why Antonio Conte’s Chelsea remains the team to beat.
For the second consecutive game, Chelsea lost points due to a disjoint performance by an ill-equipped defence. That that would be the opening line about a Chelsea performance even in the new season reveals how little has changed in that department for the team
In the ever-changing global order, and amid diminishing global power, the UK - especially the post-Brexit UK - could do well to more such friends. Luckily, there is one significant one in the east - India, the jewel in the crown of the erstwhile British Raj.
England will have to fight fire with fire when it comes to expressing it on the field. Get into the Ashes mindset and give it back to the opponent. Most English players would be able to do more push-ups than their Pakistani counterparts. Let it show in the middle.