England’s woeful performance in today’s One Day International against India comes as little surprise to many England fans, after a string of bad performances against a distinctly average Indian team. Among some things that they have done right, such as arranging a long sequence of ODIs in the build-up to the 2015 World Cup, selecting Moeen Ali and experimenting with a variety of bowling options, these seem to have been outweighed by the vast number of mistakes they have made along the way.
Lack of experimentation with the batting line-up – England have, in three ODIs, only used seven batsmen in the top six positions, out of a possible 18. Yes, it’s unrealistic to suggest revamping the entire list each game, but I would have liked to see some other players get a go – Jason Roy, Sam Billings, James Taylor and Ravi Bopara all have strong claims, having performed to a great standard in List A cricket so far, Sam Billings with especially good stats this season.
Captaincy issues – Alastair Cook may have proven his doubters (temporarily) wrong with a long overdue strong series against India as Test Match captain of England. His performances both as a batsman and captain in One Day Internationals, however, is far below the standard that England fans quite rightly expect, with all of his last four ODI series lost and only one win in seven. This tweet by Michael Vaughan summarises the England supporters view on his captaincy.
Outdated style executed badly – England’s mentality with the bat, it seems, is to play themselves in at a strike rate of 50, and then accelerate after scoring 30 or so runs, to score at a run-a-ball pace from then on. This sounds good(ish) but the problem is the second half of that strategy. So many of the England batsmen (Cook, Bell, Root, Ballance, Morgan, etc.) have done the first part right, and then got out. There’s no use in playing slowly if you can’t then capitalise on having played yourself in.
If the England Selectors are reading this (which I highly doubt, but it’s worth a try), I’ll recommend a team for your last ODI against India. Here goes:
This need not be the team for the World Cup, or even the upcoming series in Sri Lanka, but you can never know until you’ve tried it.