I'm not too despondent.
The big step backwards is the retirement of McCullum - so we need to build up Nicholls or another to replace him at No. 5. Brendon's retirement has been exacerbated by the long term injuries to Anderson and Neesham, who ordinarily would bat at 6 and provide the 4th seamer - which allows BJ to bat at 7 and Santner at 8.
Most promising thing about the South Africa "series" was seeing Boult bowling balls on the fringe of 140kmh. Last year against the Aussies he was struggling to get above 130. Now, I know that speed guns around the world vary significantly, but the Aussie ones are usually about the most generous.
England are definitely on the improve - but, what last year's CWC debacle shows is that they have to get their selection spot on to compete at international level. They can't just whistle up a bunch of guys who have done well in county cricket in the same way we can't solve our problems by just picking Colin Munro.
That's good to hear.
I didn't actually watch any of this series (I like my off-seasons).
I was going to say the biggest factor in our decline is Southee and Boult being shit for about 18 months now. We'd already started to decline in Baz's last year. But encouraging if Boult can get 'it' back.
I'm expecting us to decline a bit anyway off a historic high, so that's no tragedy. Happened about 2 years earlier and more rapidly than I would have hoped/expected.