Perfect planning prevents poor performance.
But life is what happens when you’re making other plans and, in England’s case, only one home Test win this summer represents their worst return since 1999.
Rightly or wrongly, English Test cricket is built around the Ashes. Legacies are made by success against Australia, reputations tarnished by failure.
For the entirety of 2021, England have told us they have been looking to peak for their two headline assignments at the end of the year. The Ashes for Joe Root’s red-ball team, the T20 World Cup for the white-ballers.