I Don’t Mean To Startle You Boys, But There’s A World Cup Next Year: England And The Latest One-Day Debacle

Posted on January 19, 2014

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This tour has gone past diabolical now. England find themselves 3-0 down in the ODI series, staring another whitewash in the face. I wouldn’t say it’s likely, rather it’s inevitable. Sure, messrs. Clarke, Warner and Haddin will be missing from the next couple of games, but those coming into the side will be entering a dressing room full of confidence, and will be encouraged to play their natural games. Heck, that doesn’t even matter, look who is likely to replace the three; Steven Smith will come in for Clarke, the keepers spot will surely go to Matty Wade and there are a plethora of players in Aussie cricket at the moment waiting to make the move into the ODI side. As for England? They have been staring at the abyss for so long that their survival trail of biscuits is distant memory.

Captain Cook is now talking of stepping down as ODI captain. His place in the side has always been questioned, as he’s never convinced as a one-day player. Who to replace him? Stuart Broad currently captains the Twenty20 side, but he doesn’t convince as a leader. The obvious choice would be Eoin Morgan. He’s a staple in the side, a modern thinker and without doubt the side’s best ODI batsman at the moment. They have one year to build towards the next World Cup, and that must begin now. Clear thinking, a clear spine and a clear agenda are a must, otherwise the campaign in Australia next year is going to be a total bust. There are 16 ODIs between now and the World Cup. Looking at the squad that is out in Australia at the moment, who should stick and who should go? Who were the standout performers in domestic limited-overs in 2013 who may push forward in 2014?

Peter Trego of Somerset topped the run list in the Yorkshire Bank 40 last year, with 745 runs at 82.77. He’s a smash-mouth type player, very in-your-face, with the sort of brash confidence that this side might require. He’s also a more than handy bowler, and is dynamic enough to force his way into the squad. James Taylor and Samit Patel had good years for Nottinghamshire last year, and should be knocking on the door at the very least. Patel in particular has performed well at the top level previously. James Taylor is one of the best batsmen going around domestic cricket at the moment, and deserves more than the arbitrary single cap he has so far.¬†There are more names, but they are names that get matched to T20 more and more these days. Alex Hales is the number one T20 batsman in the world at the moment, Luke Wright is as destructive as they come. Michael Lumb is another.

As for the bowling side, England have had a tendency to pick players more on potential than current ability recently. Steven Finn is suffering for this now, and Chris Jordan and Boyd Rankin look out of their depth. Still, there are no standout candidates, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see Jimmy Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad forming the pace attack in Australia next year. The spin cupboard is particularly bare. No domestic spinner stood out in domestic limited-overs last year. You can argue for Jimmy Tredwell, but he’s unlikely to win you games. Monty Panesar? A liability in the field. Kerrigan, Borthwick, Briggs, it’s all potential potential potential. It’s all the more reason for Samit Patel to be in the side, as a player who can act as a fifth bowler very well. Danny Briggs seems like the most likely though.

The make up of the side next year is impossible to predict. It’s a year away, anything can happen in that time. This time last year, who would have said Ben Stokes would be one of the first names on the test match team-sheet. If I was a betting man though, this would be my XI that line up against Australia next year:

Alex Hales, Peter Trego, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan (capt), Samit Patel, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn.

Maybe there’s not enough dibbly dobbly in there. Either way, changes need to be made.

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