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Satisfying series victory for England

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Alison Mitchell | 15:51 UK time, Friday, 5 March 2010

3-0, job done.

It was the least England expected against a Bangladesh side who showed flashes of promise but proved they still have plenty to learn. It was a satisfying result for Alastair Cook in what is still a banana-skin of a series, and the way he pounced upon a commemorative stump at the end of the final game in Chittagong showed just how much pride he took in securing a series whitewash, in his first serious outing as England captain.

On the evidence of the last game, Cook must know that Craig Kieswetter is Andrew Strauss' opening partner-in-waiting when Strauss returns to take over the captaincy. I remember a day in Taunton back in 2006 when I was chatting to the Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose. He spoke in gushing terms about a wicketkeeper/batsman he had in the second XI at the time. Kieswetter, then 18, was finishing his education at Millfield School, was a hard hitter of the ball, Rose said, and a handy gloveman too. Brian had a knowing glint in his eye, and now the wider public can see why.

Sterner tests than Bangladesh will come, that's for sure, but for now, it's exciting to think what lies ahead for the 22-year-old, and Somerset fans will surely have to get used to life with a little less Kieswetter.

Plenty has been written about Eoin Morgan, since he completed victory in the second one-day international with an astonishing unbeaten century. In the likeable Irishman, England have found a batsman with a cool head, an outrageous stroke player and, most importantly, a middle-order finisher who can calculate and pace his innings.

The cricket world got a glimpse of what he could do during an audacious half century against South Africa at the Champions Trophy in September, and his display in Dhaka confirmed his precocious talent. He will now pit himself against some of the world's top players at the IPL, and England will benefit from him honing his skills in the game's shortest format when it comes to the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in May.

It was another disappointing series for Kevin Pietersen, who made scores of one, 18 and 22. We should wait until the Test series is over before too many judgements are made, but he will know only too well that the pressure is on like never before. He was returned to action (rather hurriedly it must be said) in the early part of the South Africa tour, and he is yet to return to the standards he has set throughout his career.

Alastair Cook celebrates England's win
Alastair Cook celebrates England's win in Chittagong

While England continue to win, his poor scores can be carried. England need a firing KP by the time Pakistan visit in the summer. Having him back to something like his best at the World T20, before paternity kicks in, would help too.

Without Ryan Sidebottom or Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan carried himself and the attack highly competently in the final game of the series. His career-best 4-28 ensured he finished as England's leading wicket taker with eight from three matches. Elsewhere, fellow Yorkshireman Ajmal Shahzad showed himself to have good pace and Graeme Swann had another consistent series, reaping rewards with his attacking brand of off-spin (7 wickets at 17.42).

What the side needs now, and which was stated in no uncertain terms by coach Andy Flower after the Chittagong game, is a spinner to complement Swann and crucially, add variety. Flower identified a left-arm spinner, also an all-rounder. Samit Patel, he was asked? The Nottinghamshire all-rounder was dropped from the England team in March last year amid public criticism of his poor (or lack of) fitness ethic. He's been out in Adelaide this winter training at the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy, and if ever a call to arms was put out by an England coach, this was it.

Patel will have a lot to prove to a number of people within the England camp if he's to get his chance again. But whilst his fitness has been a problem, his talent never has been. Adil Rashid, for all the variety that leg-spin can bring, is clearly not the ticket England are looking for, after his couple of winters carrying the drinks.

Looking at the series from Bangladesh's point of view, Tamim Iqbal's century in the opening ODI will be remembered for quite some time. It has long been a trait of Bangladesh batsmen to go for their shots early, often resulting in a collapse or inability to see out the overs. OK, Bangladesh were ultimately bowled out in that innings but Tamim's onslaught was one of sheer guts and flair. It was breathtaking, and he carried the innings to a respectable total. More Bangladesh batsmen need the ability to concentrate for longer periods, and this will be their biggest challenge come the Tests.

The army of spin bowlers at Bangladesh's disposal will always be their weapon on slow subcontinent pitches, but the country is yet to hunt out a real aggressor to come in behind the experienced Mashrafe Mortaza, who missed the ODIs for personal reasons, and who has been suffering fitness problems for some time now.

Ultimately, international cricket is a slow learning curve, especially for young players. And Bangladesh continue to learn.

So England have negotiated the one-dayers. Next up are the two Tests, and whilst Sidebottom has been sent home injured, the news on Broad and Graham Onions seems more positive ahead of the first Test, which starts next Friday. For Cook, this is where his captaincy will be most thoroughly judged. Two-nil? Again, the least England will expect.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Nice summary Ali
    Even with pressure on KP, he'll have to go a long time with low scores before the selectors would dare to drop him.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, that's one banana skin dealt with.

    My only concern are the bowlers - seems we're running out of them by the look of things. Hopefully Broad & Onions will be fit in time for the tests or we might be in trouble with those Bangladeshi batters.............

  • Comment number 3.

    Sorry Alison but to say that "Cook must know that Craig Kieswetter is Andrew Strauss' opening partner-in-waiting when Strauss returns to take over the captaincy" is nonsense. CK has made a few international one day runs against lowly butterfingered Bangladesh and that's it. If CK shows that he can play test cricket against major teams perhaps in a few years he will eventually be Cook's long term opening partner and the replacement for Trescothick that England have been looking for. You can't have a side made up purely of aggresive strokeplayers. You need players like Cook and Collingwood who can bat long when the going gets tough.

  • Comment number 4.

    as riflefish says, to say cook "must know" that hes gona be dropped for CK is twaddle. cook batted very well this series, paced himself well and scored consistanly, note he was also the captain and is clearly being grromed to suceed strauss as captain in both tests and ODI's, otherwise colly would have been captain on this tour, so please explain why you expect him to be dropped in favour of an man who has played 3 matches and flopped in two against struggling opposition.

  • Comment number 5.

    Re: #3 Riflefish

    Did you even read the entire blog? We are talking about ODIs here. Cook is in the ODI team only as a substitute for Strauss and, more importantly, to get some experience in captaining the side.

    "You can't have a side made up purely of aggresive strokeplayers."

    England have long had a problem with utilizing fielding restrictions during the first 15 overs. Kieswetter is exactly what we need.

  • Comment number 6.

    If anything, Cook's position is now stronger than it was at the start of the tour. He's shown some new elements to his batting whilst simultaneously handling the captaincy. Bringing Strauss back in is not a formality and this can only be good for English cricket. Strauss and Kieswetter opening or Cook and Kieswetter... personally I'd keep with the two young guys and bring Strauss in at 3. There's nobody in the England camp who would be better suited for three right now. If the pitch is doing a lot and we lose an early wicket, Strauss can counter that. If someone falls earlier and there are still runs to be plundered, Strauss has shown plenty of ODI attacking intent in the last year. Throw in KP at 4, Collingwood at 5, Morgan at 6, and then the like of Prior, Swann, Broad, Bresnan... goodness! Suddenly we look like we have a long batting line up!

    So far, the real losers have been Denly, Bopara, and Trott. Denly's right back in the pecking order at the top of the innings, it's hard to see Bopara coming close to the squad in the near future, and I think there's now questions over Trott given the way he batted in the second half of the SA Test series. Ian Bell is also now in the queue for the ODI squad so we have four decent players in reserve should we need them.

    Many questioned Matt Prior's role, and I actually like having him down the order. Letting Kieswetter play as a batsman only is a good move. It allows him to focus on one discipline at a time. With Davies around as well, I'm very happy with how the batting and keeping situation is looking right now.

    The bowling is a different matter. Unlike Alison, I don't think there's a good option for a batsman who bowls part time spin. I do like Samit Patel but there's nobody he could come in to replace in the batting front. If a first choice bowling lineup has Anderson, Broad, Bresnan, and Swann operating, with Collingwood and KP as our other options, I don't see too much wrong with that.

    Cook
    Kieswetter
    Strauss
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Morgan
    Prior
    Broad
    Swann
    Bresnan
    Anderson

    That batting line-up contains 9 players with first class centuries to their name. The two that don't are Anderson (can still hold a bat as we all know) and Broad, who has five Test half centuries to his name and can bat under pressure as we saw against India in ODI cricket. When was the last time we had such a strong looking ODI side on paper with the bat? There's power in there, there's the ability to nurdle, there's some improvisational play on display, people who can grind it out, and strength in depth. If we can play to our potential, this side could go a long way.

  • Comment number 7.

    In reply to Riflefish,#3, nobody, least of all Kieswetter, expected him to be where he is just now. As a ciderman, I have been following his progress at Somerset for a few years. Two or three years ago, he seemed he might be the answer, at some time in the future, to the grievous wicketkeeper/batsman problem that England was experiencing. (I knew he would be qualified to play for England this year). Then along came Matt Prior, who is doing a very good job in that role, so Kieswetter would have to do something very special to get into contention for that job. Quite out of the blue, Kieswetter is called up as a specialist one-day batsman, moreover an opening batsman,not as a wk/bm.
    Craig Kieswetter is still a very young man. I have no doubt that, before long, he will prove himself able to take over the wk/bm role for England in all forms of the game. He's already shown some impressive form: we just have to see what he can do with the gloves.

  • Comment number 8.

    Whatever England do between now and the ashes the Test opposition are average at best (Pakistan & Bangladesh x 2). OK you can only beat what is put in front of you but it will not significantly develop the squad.

    But it might rebuild KP's confidence and give Trott a chance to rebuild after a lull in form.

    Have back-up to Anderson, Broad and Swann is key. While we now have cover and competition in the keeping dept.

  • Comment number 9.

    To be honest if Kieswetter is strauss's opening partner in waiting then Cook should still be in the team for Prior and let Criag wear the gloves. His batting is far superior in my opinion and his glovework is perhaps not quite as good as Priors but it is only recently that Prior's glovework has improved same will happen with Kieswetter who isn't that far behind Prior for glovework either.

  • Comment number 10.

    then again Cook could always replace Wright as we have Morgan to provide the fireworks down the order with potentially Prior, Bresnan, Swann, Broad to add to that aswell.

  • Comment number 11.

    A little bit of patriotism is a good thing, particularly in sports. But a compulsive jingoism is tiresome. To say glibly as Allison does that a 2-0 result for England is a minimum expectations for the two test games is based more on hot air than anything else. England right now is a poor shadow of what it once was, and its young players are visibly uncomfortable against spinners of the Indian subcontinental variety. This BD team, despite its unfortunate repeated mistakes, ain't the youngling of past decades. Its got several players who, if they click, can take apart(and have)bowling sides much tougher than England. So, praying that these young boys continue to make mistakes is your best bet, England. If they don't, you have little to save you.

  • Comment number 12.

    I would have thought that England fans would, if not exactly be jumping up and down with glee, at least be quietly optimistic.

    With the exception of the catastrophic series against Australia where you can at least suggest that the team relaxed after winning the Test series, results have been quietly promising:

    2008 - Beat South Africa 4-0
    2008/09 - Lost to India 5-0
    2008/09 - Beat West Indies 2-3
    2009 - Beat West Indies 2-0
    2009 - Beat Ireland 1-0
    2009 - Lost to Australia 1-6
    2009/10 - Beat South Africa 1-2
    2009/10 - Beat Bangladesh 0-3

    We've had two awful series, although no one expected us to do anything other than struggle in India and won everything else, including unexpected wins in the Caribbean and against South Africa. The side had a decent Champions Trophy, without ever looking like winners. By my reckoning, despite the two heavy defeats to India and Australia we have a 13-14 record in the last 18 months (not so bad when 11 of the defeats came in just 2 of the 8 series).

    The side is still inconsistent, with form varying from the sublime to the ridiculous, but things seem to be coming together. Wright and Morgan are showing themselves to be formidable finishers: once again, it was a Luke Wright bombardment that changed the game from being a close one to being an easy win. Ben Dirs has publically criticised Luke Wright's batting average as not being good enough but, when you come in with 13 balls to face and quick runs needed, how the hell are you expected to build an innings?? The role of the England 6/7 is either to come in in a desperate crisis and save what you can, or to come in for a quick blast, scoring with a strike rate of at least 150-200; batting average is irrelevant. Eoin Morgan gets the headlines and deservedly, because he has produced some superb innings, but the combination of the two has, on accasions, been devasting, giving real momentum over the last 10 overs. With Paul Collingwood playing better than ever and a capable tail, England don't lack bite if they get a decent start.

    One slight worry for me is Matt Prior's batting. As his glovework has improved his batting seems to have become less consistent: maybe Carl Kieswetter's introduction was intended to give him something to think about? Certainly the signs are that he is reacting postively.

    The Bangladesh series has been useful because:

    a.) Some of our favourite England critics were firmly expecting us to lose yet, despite everything, we got out of some difficult positions and won whereas some England sides of recent vintage would simply have folded.

    b.) We've had a look at a couple of new boys and generally liked what we saw.

    c.) Andrew Strauss and Jimmy Anderson have been rested without the heavens falling.

    d.) We have survived the loss and unavailability of Flintoff, Anderson, Broad, Sidebottom and Anderson, i.e. our entire first choice pace attack and one of the reserves.

    e.) Tim Bresnan has stepped up when needed and done the job asked of him. He may not scare the Australians, but he was too much for the Bangladeshis.

  • Comment number 13.

    Habib, just out of curiosity, when Bangladesh have a Test record of P50, W0, D2, L48 against the top 7 Test sides and in the two draws more than a combined total of 5 days play was lost to rain, where do you get your jingoism? England are unbeaten in their last 3 Test series, two of them against the sides that were, at the time, ranked 1 by the ICC. Not so shabby, I would have thought.

  • Comment number 14.

    Samit Patel, Darren Lehman and improved fitness in the same article!

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't see why Cook should be dropped from the ODI side, he's done what many people wanted him to do and gone back to country cricket and learnt to play a bit more aggressively. He had a couple of very good T20 knocks last year and isn't the same cricketer who seemed to have an aversion to hitting the ball through the air.

    What I like most about this England side is that it seems to be quite streetwise, able to reorganise itself if their plans aren't going well (helped by Collingwood and Wright as all-rounders). The only player that irritates me is Sidebottom, I don't think his ire at fellow players is productive and doesn't contribute enough as an out-and-out bowler (assuming it's a batsman's pitch, as most are nowadays).

  • Comment number 16.

    If Samit Patel can't shed the pounds and Monty can't rediscover his zip, if they don't like the cut of Tredwell's jib and Ian Blackwell is no longer in contention... then surely the slow left-armer they need to bring back is Michael Yardy. A much improved batsman than when he first played ODIs, he is a wonderfully economical bowler who in tandem with Swann can create lots of pressure.

  • Comment number 17.

    on the spinner debate why oh why was Rashid dropped and not in the squad? his first chance to bowl on a spinners wicket and he gets the cold shoulder from the selectors.My friend is of the belief that he had a disagrement with strauss and peter moores,hence dropped.
    but i rekon fully fit the fist XI:
    Cook
    Prior/Kieswetter(fully dependant on Kieswetter devloping as his fans say he will)
    Strauss
    Pietersen
    Collingwood
    Morgan
    wright
    Broad
    flintoff
    Swann
    Anderson

  • Comment number 18.

    16. At 10:33am on 06 Mar 2010, Oliver Brett - BBC Sport wrote:

    "If Samit Patel can't shed the pounds and Monty can't rediscover his zip, if they don't like the cut of Tredwell's jib and Ian Blackwell is no longer in contention... then surely the slow left-armer they need to bring back is Michael Yardy. A much improved batsman than when he first played ODIs, he is a wonderfully economical bowler who in tandem with Swann can create lots of pressure."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Yardy's stats last season in the Pro 40 read: 116 runs at 16.57 with the bat, 3 wickets with the ball at an average of 72 and an economy rate of 6 exactly. Hardly 'Pick me' figures. I agree that his batting in the CC has improved but who in the England side do you drop to bring him in? He's not going to displace anyone in the top 5. Realistically, Yardy and Wright would be fighting for the same spot.

    The recent SA-India ODI series shows that batting is king in India. Really your bowlers aren't that important, as even the best will disappear for a lot of runs, as South Africa did. Any side that wants to be successful in India needs to be batsman heavy. With that in mind, I have no problem using Collingwood and KP and the fifth bowler. Pack the batting, have Prior at 7 with Kieswetter opening, have three main bowlers in Anderson, Broad, and Swann, and then you've got one to pick from Bresnan, Wright, and perhaps someone like Yardy.

    Personally I wouldn't have Yardy anywhere near the side. Two younger names come immediately to mind: Dawid Malan and Liam Dawson. Both have a lot of ability and big 2010 seasons will put them right in the frame. In Malan's case, it's pertinent to point out that he outperformed Eoin Morgan with the bat in the CC and Pro 40 last season in terms of average and total runs scored.

  • Comment number 19.

    I can't understand why Rashid has not been given a go. IF ever there was a young leg spinner who could turn the ball and bat then this guy is it.

    My other question would be this - if Kieswetter is going to be the next big thing and open in the one-day team (I feel slightly for Steven Davies who was the one-day domestic batsman of the year last year and is a superior gloveman too) then why play Prior?

  • Comment number 20.

    good grief, Andy. Were Yardy's stats really that bad?


    By the way, I notice most people seem to be forgetting about Flintoff (perhaps justifiably). However, he may take his bat back to Dubai if he is asked to bat at nine, Chris (17)

  • Comment number 21.

    IlCucchiaio:

    I have no problem with Kieswetter and Prior playing in the same side. Kieswetter has a lot of pressure on him with the batting reputation he has and is beginning to make. Giving him the gloves means he'd have to excel in both disciplines. By allowing Prior to keep wicket, Kieswetter only has to focus on the batting side of things, giving him a slightly easier entry to international cricket. I suspect England might try bring Kieswetter slowly in as a keeper, perhaps asking him to open and keep wicket in the odd T20 game, as well as swapping Prior with Davies.

    Under Moores, we had a schizo keeping policy. Under Flower, it seems we have our men. I do feel for James Foster a great deal but it does now look like it's a Prior-Kieswetter-Davies world out there now with the gloves for England.

    Oliver:

    Yardy's stats in the T20 were better. With the ball he had 13 wickets in 13 games at around 19, with the ER coming under 6. With the bat, a top score of 26* at an average of 26 still doesn't really boost him up to England ODI level for me. The Friends Provident tournament had him showing better batting and bowling form but it's still not making him a clear favourite for England selection.

    http://stats.cricinfo.com/fpt/engine/records/averages/batting_bowling_by_team.html?id=4794;team=1422;type=tournament

  • Comment number 22.

    yeh oliver i noticed that as soon as i posted and hoped no one would pick up on it!given my team was similar to andys i copy and pasted and stuff flintoff in where bresnan was, would have him after wright in the batting order, although his form with the bat has been poor in recent years

  • Comment number 23.

    The suggestion of Kieswetter partnering Strauss instead of Cook was in relation to one day internationals, NOT the test team.

    Kieswetter (and Morgan) both have test match futures I think but neither is ready yet to mov up and take responsibility over 5 days.

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm slightly disappointed with the broad assumptions in this article, although the comments above seem to have cleared up the Cook, Kieswetter, Strauss debate. However, the sweeping writing-off of Adil Rashid was disappointing, saying he isn't what the selectors are looking for without justifying why. I'm not saying he should be in the side (he still seems green), but as a promising leg-spin bowler with a good attitude, I'd prefer him ahead of a lazy player lacking commitment like Patel.

    Throwing my hat into the ring, I think Kieswetter has been massively overhyped, but is still worth trying as an ODI opener after his promising knock in the last ODI. I would open with Strauss and Kieswetter, whilst Cook has done enough to justify batting at 3. Pietersen, Collingwood and Morgan would complete the batsman with Wright/Flintoff (if he ever returns), Bresnan, Swann, Broad and Anderson the bowlers. As shown by the non-inclusion of Prior, I'd like to see what Kieswetter is like behind the stumps. I didn't want to include Wright, but Swann and Collingwood each bowling 10 overs every game would not be ideal.

    We're in a good place at the moment as there's a lot of competition for places with regards to batsman, for the first time in a long time. If Pietersen's bad form continues, I'd even suggest dropping him might be a valid option, which is something I'd never thought I'd even mention.

  • Comment number 25.

    An excellent article - well summarised and raising some good points. However I think its too early to put Adil Rashid on the scrap heap. He's still very young and learning his trade. He made an excellent impression against Australia in the 1st ODI at The Oval last year and I believe he has a future at international level. However historically leg-spinners develop late - he's got plently of time to turn himself into an invaluable part of the England team.

  • Comment number 26.


    England did well in the ODIs, had a good win in the Chittagong Test Match and has successfully overtaken a decent total of the home side in the ongoing Second Test Match. Good batting by centurion Bell and fellow batters.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

 

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