HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16: Joe Root of England walks off after being bowled out by Scott Boland of Australia during day three of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena on January 16, 2022 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

Former England all-rounder and current assistant coach Paul Collingwood has stated that despite being battered 4-0 across the course of the recent Ashes series, Joe Root's tourists deserve praise and not ridicule.

Speaking to The GuardianCollingwood claimed that the travelling English party never stood a chance on Australian soil this summer due to being cooped within bio-security bubbles for the past two-years.

“Going into the Ashes series off the back of a tough, tough bubble in Dubai I think was a step too far," he began.

"I sympathise 100% with Spoons [Chris Silverwood]. He has been criticised for rest and rotation. You understand when you are inside the bubbles that you have to get people out of there.

"He is one person who has really looked after his players and management. Him more than anyone else has been in those bubbles and tried to fight it through. I have 100% sympathy with Spoons, but I don’t think people really understand it unless they’ve been there.”

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While the hosts were a match for the English at every turn between Brisbane and Hobart, the ex-Test batsman claimed that even if the likes of Hobbs, Hammond and Hutton had been afforded a chance to take guard against the Australian attack, the results would have stayed the same.

“I reckon if you had given us the best England cricketers from the last 100 years and put them in the same environment that those boys have lived in over the past two years with the preparation that we had going into this Ashes, even then they wouldn’t have had a chance," Collingwood said.

Despite Collingwood faulting Joe Root and his men across the arduous series, the 45-year stressed that those in blue caps warranted more respect than they had been granted since their capitulation in Tasmania earlier this month.

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“Yes, we made mistakes, 100% we made selection mistakes, we made toss mistakes, but the fact we actually turned up and agreed a five-match Ashes series, the guys should be given medals for that,” he said.

“It would’ve been much better if we’d done two matches and then three next year. That would’ve been a great compromise. But no, Australia were not bothered that they were going to receive an England team who were mentally fatigued, they just wanted to get the product out there. They just wanted the Ashes. We were sitting ducks.”

The Durham man went on to suggest that those asked to travel directly from the T20 World Cup in the subcontinent to another bubble in Australian conditions were never given an opportunity to shine.

“It’s the equivalent of the England football team being asked to go to a World Cup, then from that bubble into the Euros. Would you expect a performance from that scenario? It’s ludicrous," he continued.

While Test cricket tourists have become accustomed to the life of living from suitcases for much of their careers, Collingwood raised the notion that the true wear and tear of doing so within hubs, bubbles and under bio-security laws was still yet to be known.

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“You can’t even explain what it’s like until you experience it,” he said.

“In 2020, we went into the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford, and they don’t bring back nice memories. I’ve been scarred by what we had to go through in those places. You are living in the ground. You wake up, look out the window and there is the pitch. You cannot get away from it, can’t get out … If you’re a batsman, imagine if you nick off. All you want to do is get away, see the family, see friends that don’t talk about cricket. But you just can’t get away from it.

“We kept cricket going for those two years. We had to do it for financial reasons. Players have had to sacrifice things, as have their families. You don’t see families when you are in the bubbles, or if they do come in it’s an awful environment for them to be in. It’s going to be impossible to measure the effect that had."

Still, the stand-in steward for England's T20 squad currently stationed in the Caribbean held hopes that days under lock and key were nearing their end.

“Hopefully bubbles are starting to move out of cricket now because we have to protect the mental health of the players and management," Collingwood expressed.

"What I have seen over the last two years is that we’ve kept the show on the road, and we saved a lot of jobs doing that. The Ashes was one step too far.”

After leaving Australia with nothing much to show for their efforts, England's next red-ball fixture will take place against the West Indies in Antigua on March 9.