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England test World Cup credentials

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Oliver Brett | 16:20 UK time, Friday, 14 January 2011

England cricket supporters basking in some pleasant memories over the past 18 months have no time to slumber: the relentless international calendar now dishes up a seven-match one-day series beginning in Australia on Sunday.

"What's this?" I hear many of you groan. "Seven one-day internationals!? Do we really need to play seven?"

Actually, yes. Reinforcing the point that the first match of the World Cup is pretty soon - 19 February since you ask - the trophy will be on display outside Gate 1 of the MCG for two hours leading up to the first Australia v England day-nighter in Melbourne.

And, loath though I am to quote directly from a press release, as the ICC's Haroon Lorgat correctly observes: "In recent months we have seen some truly great Test cricket around the world but now it's time for the one-day format to take centre stage."

Third in the official Test rankings, England may only be fifth on the ODI ladder but they have won their last five series in the 50-over-a-side game.

Eoin Morgan has quickly established his role in the middle order to finish off run chases - or take England to big scores when batting first - and James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann are becoming very effective bowlers.

Ajmal Shahzad, with bowling coach David Saker

Shahzad is on the fringes of World Cup contention (Getty)

Despite dreadful campaigns in the previous four World Cups, the expectation must be that England can genuinely challenge this time around. It is a trophy they have never won.

Pessimists will point to the fact that winning ODIs in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where this year's tournament will be held, requires some very special attributes.

Power-hitting, ultra-disciplined bowling and getting reverse swing from the white ball, plus supreme fitness to ward off fatigue in intensely hot and humid conditions will be de facto requirements.

Winning out there is tough. England's record in India and Sri Lanka - 24 wins and 36 losses - is not brilliant. Though they have beaten Bangladesh in Bangladesh six times, they have also lost to South Africa there.

The difficulty Andrew Strauss's side face is that the skills which will be vital in the World Cup may not come to the fore so often on the faster, bouncier Australian wickets which are their immediate concern.

Nothing beats winning, though. So England's focus will be squarely on doing what has to be done to beat the Australians, rather than plotting the World Cup campaign.

Broad, who on Thursday received a positive update on the abdominal injury that has laid him low since mid-December, and Anderson, rested for the first three ODIs, are World Cup certainties if fit.

With Tim Bresnan also shaping up well, back-up seamers Chris Woakes, Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett will be pushing hard to provide the sort of match-winning performance which might gain them selection when the final 15 for the subcontinent are named.

Time is not on their side - England have to name their World Cup squad by Wednesday.

Woakes, just 21, has already shown how dangerous his batting is in the two Twenty20 matches. But there are a few concerns about his bowling, which was slightly predictable in those matches and not much above medium pace.

Kevin Pietersen

Pietersen has not hit an ODI half-century since 2008 (PA)

With Matt Prior having disappointed too often in an ODI shirt, Surrey's Steve Davies is the gloveman in favour, and is also Andrew Strauss's opening partner. It's an important double assignment for him.

The middle order has been reliant on Morgan's consistency of late, with Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood both needing strong series.

Pietersen equalled Viv Richards' record when hitting his first 1,000 one-day runs from 21 matches, but despite possessing the ideal game for ODIs, his form since the start of 2009 has been awful in this format.

He has not had a half-century in 16 innings, and before you rush to check there are no not-outs in that lot either.

Collingwood has done much better in the same 24-month period, but given his lean tour of Australia so far England need a big innings from the Durham veteran some time soon.

Given how well Pietersen has been hitting the ball down under, I'm confident he will come good. It does not look so good for a very scratchy Collingwood, but he has performed sudden metamorphoses before, so here's hoping.

Aside from producing an entertaining video diary of the tour so far, Graeme Swann has travelled under the radar a little. Now would be a good time for him to steal some of the headlines. An in-form Swann will be essential in the subcontinent.

What of England's opponents? Australia, ranked number one in the world in ODIs and winners of the past three World Cups, demand tremendous respect, even with some players not in the best of form.

Oddly, they have named a squad only for the first match, but it includes some interesting players like spinner Nathan Hauritz, who must still wonder how he did not play at all in the Ashes and may have a point to prove. Skipper Michael Clarke will be under a fair bit of pressure - can he respond?

For both teams this is a very important series, and it's also very hard to pick a winner.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Great blog Oliver and completely agree.

    It's important England win this series to get in the right frame of mind for the World Cup and it's a big series for KP and Colly as you state. I like the look of the T20 and ODI side because it has a nice balance to it with so many bowling options and a long batting line-up.

    Disappointed with the result earlier but you can't win every game and I thought Australia played well, especially Shaun Tait's bowling at the end.

    Looking forward to the 7 match series and the World Cup.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think Woakes has great potential, one for the future, but the world cup will be far too soon for him. He's still got alot to learn about bowling, which is his primary role in the side. England didn't play as well as they could have today, although Swann and Yardy were both fantastic. Interesting ODI series coming up, no idea which way it's going to go. I don't think it will have much effect on the World cup though, unless one side is thrashed in this series.

  • Comment number 3.

    Does anyone remember the little Britian character Stage Hypnotist Kenny Craig?

    He used to hypnotise people in every day life using these simple words:

    "Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around the eyes, look into my eyes...you're under."

    It seems Paul Collingwood seems to be able to do the same thing, but has managed to cut it down to just one word "Look"..



    Look, i´ve scored 22 runs in these two T20s, but i´ve only wasted 5 overs in the process, if the whole team batted at my run rate we´d end up with 88!

    Look, i captained this team to a T20 world cup win, but my personal batting average was under 10, and i only bowled 1 over and that went for 10 runs...

    Look, my batting form isn´t the best at the moment, and i ended the recent ashes series with an average of 13, but i offer so much in other areas..

    Look, all i need is a "gutsy" 30 runs in the up and coming one dayer, and i´ve cemented my place in the 50 over world cup squad...

    Look, i´m Paul collingwood and no matter how poorly i play i´m in the team..

    3-2-1, you're back in the room!

  • Comment number 4.

    Great post #3. If Collingwood plays in the one dayers then one of KP, Bell, Morgan and Trott surely has to miss out or else will only be able to field 4 recognised bowlers. Collingwood is no longer good enough to play at the higest level.
    Prior is a far better option than Davies, but strangely he will no doubt be overlooked.

    I have been writing on the same topic at http://jackbradshaw.blogspot.com/2011/01/australiawin.html check it out!

  • Comment number 5.

    Collingwood is more or less certain to play ahead of Trott on Sunday, and is also more or less certain to take his place in the World Cup squad.

    Just over a year ago he became England's most capped player in ODIs, and to mark the occasion I wrote a blog on it.

    These were the first two replies

    1. "Very under-rated player and a worthy member of the England side"

    2. "He is so over-rated it's a crime."

    It's not great that he's badly out of nick, but at least give him until the end of the World Cup before making outlandish statements about his immediate future.

    As for Matt Prior, Jack - just look at his ODI record. It's pretty poor!

  • Comment number 6.

    I'd go with Strauss, Davies, Bell, Pietersen, Morgan, Bopara, Bresnan, Yardy, Swann, Broad, Anderson as my first choice line up.

  • Comment number 7.

    Collingwood is off form with the bat, that is why he bowled himself in the 20/20 games...oh no wait he didnt!! I believe he is a useful bowling option and is a shoe in for the world cup, no matter what form, rightly or wrongly, perhaps wrongly in my case if he does not score runs of note in the next 2 innings.

  • Comment number 8.

    not sure Yardy is cutting it. nor Wright. Woakes looks better than both. give him a chance in my view. Colly is captain so won't be dropped of course but he could be a liability. would it be the end of the world to bring Cook back for the one dayers?

  • Comment number 9.

    Petersen still not pulling his weight

  • Comment number 10.

    Obviously the 3-2-1, you're back in the room, doesn´t work with you Oliver, you´re still under...

    #giobob123

    I like the look of that team, Bopara is obviously a bit hit or miss, but he´ll be replacing someone who hasn´t made a score for six months, so why not give him a chance, there´s always wright or Woakes to come in if he fails..

    #grumpyspindoctor

    Strauss is the Captain for the ODIs, Collingwood for the T20s.

    But you´re right, it seems ridiculous that Cooks not in the team on current form...

  • Comment number 11.

    The thing with Prior is we put him in the wrong place in the batting order.He needs to come in with 5/10 overs to go.The top of the order needs proper batsmen with all the shots to take advantage of the fielding restrictions and take on the new ball.(This is where we miss dear old Tres)
    Just because Gilchrist could do it doesn't mean all keepers can.I think you need your very best batsmen at the top of the order and would go with Pietersen,Strauss,Bell as the top 3.

  • Comment number 12.

    the way woakes has batted the past two matches, could he get into the side as a batsman that bowls? the bowling i have no doubt will get better in time, his batting doesn't seem half bad already.

  • Comment number 13.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 14.

    i think if kp fails in the first game he should be replaced for the inform cook how cook didnt make the 50over games is a disgrace

  • Comment number 15.

    To those people knocking Collingwood, he's out of form - it happens to all batsmen. Before dropping people like that, think about the rest of his contributions - top catcher by a long way in the recent Ashes series, regularly saves runs by quick work in the field, useful stock bowler who can take wickets and be used to change ends of mainstream bowlers, and a great team man. At his best, Collingwood can score big runs fast and does it even if the rest of the team is collapsing around him.

  • Comment number 16.

    Bell is in great form at the moment and needs to be given the opportunity to play a match winning innings. I'd open with him and drop Davies down the order to replace Wright (an all rounder who never bowls ?), with Strauss coming in to tomorrows line up.

    Strauss
    Bell
    KP
    Colly
    Morgan
    Davies
    Yardy (will definitely play in India)
    Swann
    Bresnan
    Shazad
    Tremlett

    Woakes has done well but can't see him going to the World Cup except for the experience. With Anderson returning soon the World Cup squad bowlers need a run out especially if Broad doesn't return.

  • Comment number 17.

    11. At 08:19am on 15 Jan 2011, jacksofbuxton wrote:
    "The thing with Prior is we put him in the wrong place in the batting order.He needs to come in with 5/10 overs to go.The top of the order needs proper batsmen with all the shots to take advantage of the fielding restrictions and take on the new ball.(This is where we miss dear old Tres)"

    But England have tried him opening, at 3, at 4, at 6 and 7; and he's not impressed in any position!

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/18675.html?class=2;template=results;type=batting

    Davies is arguably the best batsman in English domestic one-day cricket - that's batsman, not just wicketkeeper-batsman - and deserves his chance.

    And Cook isn't there because we already have Strauss, Davies, Bell and Trott who can open the batting.

  • Comment number 18.

    Collingwood must play in the WC, if for no other reason, he is the only player that can regularly be relied upon to be the 6th bowler. Never mind his batting form, when you add in his fielding and experience, he will be one of the first names on the sheet.

    I think Davies is a better ODI batsman than Prior and with him opening it means we bat deeper by 1 place.

    My team would be:

    Strauss
    Davies
    Bell
    Pietersen
    Morgan
    Collingwood
    Bresnen
    Yardy
    Broad
    Swannn
    Anderson

    My replacements would be:

    Trott
    Patel (Selectors will probably go for Tredwell)
    Tremlett
    Bopara (ditto Wright)

    If the pitches are really slow and low, I would be tempted to play a 3rd spinner too, and leave out Broad/Bresnen. Collingwood would be able to fill in any extra seam overs required.

    It is quite bizarre that the spinners usually finish with the best figures in ODIs, yet we are reluctant to play 2 yet alone 3! It is only in the last year that Yardy has got a game, previously Swann was ploughing a lone furrow.

    We will see how things pan out...

  • Comment number 19.

    The points raised in the blog about Swann I have to strongly disagree with as history tells you finger spinners don't do well in Australia - not even Australian ones. His record actually stands up very favourably when compared with Harbajhan Singh, Muralithuran, Vettori etc... as has been proved on other blogs using facts and stats.

    When you consider that the Australian groundsmen left more grass on the wickets this would nullify Swann's spin so his performances were even more credible. When you look at when finger spinners do well in this country it's rarely in April/ May when the wickets have a greenish tinge to them with a fair amount of grass left on just like they've played on in the tests.

    Shango "Swann been seriously found out on this tour" - a comment that could only be made by someone with no actual knowledge of the sport.

  • Comment number 20.

    13. Shango what do you have against Swanny? Was it you who arrested him for drink driving? Cant believe you still think he is average, he may not be Shane Warne or Murali but himself, Harbajan and Vettorri are the best out there at the moment.
    You cant keep complaining about losing and comparing now with past glories. You can only be the best in the world at the time you are playing and you can only beat the opposition put in front of you. For 2 years now he(and Strauss as captain) have been the key components in my opinion from turning England into a top side. If we're talking test cricket no spinner in the last two years comes close.
    Now if your talking T20 cricket England are world champions, in that final (against Australia) he took 1-17 from 4 overs, averaged 14.4 for whole tournament which makes him either very dangerous or very economical or both. Yes he did get hit for 24 off one over this week- it happens he is a spinner some times you will get whacked. He then went for 16 in next 3 overs which is a good comeback and took 2-19 yesterday from his 4 overs.
    If you offered any captain or bowler the chance to go for 5 an over in t20 they'd bite your arm off for it.
    Now I know you do you best in trolling and baiting those people who like Swanny and support England, but unless you can show me some facts to the contrary please be quiet.

  • Comment number 21.

    "Woakes is only medium pace."
    Averages around 82 mph, which is the same as a certain Glenn McGrath and he didn't do too badly.

    Bowling isn't just about speed otherwise Shoaib, Lee and Tait would be the best fast bowlers ever seen. Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee and Glen McGrath were three of the best bowlers I've ever seen and also the most intelligent.

    Woakes has shown remarkable composure for someone so inexperienced and young. Going for nine an over in T20 is no disgrace for a fast bowler who bowls during he powerplays and at the death. This World cup has probably come a year too soon for him though, but he looks like a very good prospect and will gain a yard as he gets older and mid eighties is fine, especially in England.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm still not about the 7 ODIs... seems like overkill for what is probably the least entertaining format of the 3. I'd prefer to see, say, 3 ODIs and 5 Twenty20s, but that's just me...

  • Comment number 23.

    #20 sleepingenochs - Unfortunately even though myself and a number of other's who've contributed on Tom Fordyce's threads have proved him wrong and challenged him to back up the unsubstantiated filth he peddles on here. He never does because he cannot support anything he says. Just don't mistake the poisonous little troll as a WUMMER as a good WUMMER would be able to provide a nugget of a fact to support their position.

    #22 bnzss - Not a bad shout but personally I'd prefer to see 3 T20's and 5 ODI's

  • Comment number 24.

    Regards performance it seems to me as far as its time for Collingwood to retire. Bring in Cook or Bopara or someone else with no IPL commitments. Too many players in the England side in their 30s looking after their fitness for the money making machine that is the IPL rather than give their all for England.

  • Comment number 25.

    KP will come good. Collingwood may well not. He should be given the chance however. My cover for Collingwood would be Bopara. I would rather have Woakes than Wright. So: Davies, Strauss, Bell, Petersen, Collingwood, Morgan, Yardy, Woakes, Bresnan, Swann, Anderson for the world cup. Will Broad get fit in time? If so Broad for Woakes. The other three in my 15 would be Bopara, Shazad, Trott, although I, like the Australians are astonished that Cook is not in the 50 over one day side.

  • Comment number 26.

    10. Hypnosis isn't much good on me. Just ask Derren Brown who tried to hypnotise me about 20 years ago (before anyone knew who he was). It didn't work.

    12. Very hard to make detailed observations Woakes's batting on those two Twenty20 knocks.

    14. You can't have Cook in the same squad as Trott, Bell & Strauss - none are power hitters.

    19, 20. Swann hasn't had a poor tour, but he is stil to really stick his head above the parapets. He's so good these days that it won't be long before he does again...

  • Comment number 27.

    Thanks Olly.

    England have a great chance of winning. T20 champs and with batting and bowling all the way through the 11, very versitile and threatening. But, they must learn to bat up the order and not rely on Morgan, Woakes and the lower order a lot of the time. The top three need runs, especially KP. And Bell really needs to stick around to 100. Not like in the t20.

  • Comment number 28.

    Great blog Oliver.

    Like some others have suggested, this World Cup may be too soon for Woakes - he is definitely one for the future though.

    I'm not worried about KP's one day form, no reason why he shouldn't come good again very shortly.

    Colly obviously divides opinions. I'm one of his biggest supporters but I'm beginning to think that his international career is almost over. I do think that he should play in this series and at the World Cup but after that he should probably call it a day.

    I do need to ask though - what, precisely does Luke Wright add to our one day side? His batting is rubbish (he just tries to slog every ball) and he rarely bowls. Surely there are better options for the "all-rounder" slot?


  • Comment number 29.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 30.

    Luke Wright will never be as good as Collingwood. Give up about Swann he was instrumental in the test win at Adelaide and his economy is phenomenal for a spinner.

    Oliver, you don't always need power batting to win over 50 overs. Look at Bell in the three shorter games he has played he has scored quickly and batted beautifully. The one I have most doubts about is Trott. I also confess I would have Cook and I would consider Prior and Davies in the same side, I think Prior's performance in Sydney merited consideration for the 50 over side.

    However, if I had been good enough at cricket (three years in the Linlithgow Academy first XI over thirty years ago is hardly a CV to compare with Bradman's) to play some first class cricket I might have more gravitas and speak with more authority. It is actually good that we have enough options to have a debate and not think KP got a duck we have no chance now, because we bat so deep and bowl so well.

  • Comment number 31.


    #13/29 Counterpoint: We can expect the usual prediction failure from Papa. Grating comments about Swann, whose average demonstrates how his critics have been found out on this tour.

    We are all bored of providing facts to be prove how over rated Papa is but the biggest proof of all is that a very poor Australian side have managed to lose the Ashes even with his support.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 32.

    The Australians prepared pitches to counter Swann. It worked, and Swann was less effective that he would otherwise have been (not discounting the usual duifficulty encountered by finger spinners in Austalia. However, the Australians backed their seam attack against our less experienced one, and this backfired in a spectacular way. World Cup pitches are likely to suit canny spin bowlers much more, so I expect Swann to pick up again. It will be interesting to see what happens on the one-day pitches in Australia and how they are prepared compared to the Test pitches.
    I am not sure you need power hitters so much in 50 over games but you do need batsmen with a wide range of shots - Trott and Cook are effective but can be limited and easier to set fields to, compared to say Morgan's unconventionality and Bell's wide suite of classic strokes.

  • Comment number 33.

    Shango is bored of providing facts concerning how bad a bowler Swann is. Considering that is none he has a very low boredom threshold indeed!

    If Shango had bothered to read the facts that those of us who actually know something and taken on board those facts then perhaps s/he might learn something about the game. It's just unfortunate that the happiest person around (ignorance is bliss after all) still comes on here talking unsubstantiated rubbish.

    The last time somebody was so far off the mark about something was when Neville Chamberlain stepped off a plane and declared we had "peace in our time" back in 1938. Before that it was that group of townspeople who thought they'd been left a large wooden horse as a gift.

    BTW it's not just cricket Shango knows nothing about - his comments concerning Jimmy Armfield, Ian Holloway a Blackpool FC just prove what an offensive individual this person really is.

  • Comment number 34.

    Is there a reason why Rashid has dropped off the radar a bit. I don't tend to follow county cricket so I've probably missed something. A spinner who can bat (digging my own grave I feel) could do wonders for the side. The key thing to England's success in the test arena has partly been a consistency of selection and sticking by players, and I'd love to see the same happen in the ODI squad, with a similar side to the one that has been playing in 20/20 games. On Woakes, I get the feeling that despite a good knock with the bat, perhaps a tournament has demanding as this is a little early for him, especially as he seems prone to leak runs. Tremlett is bowling exceptionally, so what's the problem with sticking with him?

  • Comment number 35.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 36.

    I would really like to see Matt Prior at the top of the order, i think its a no brainer as he is a better keeper and better batsmen than Davies who I think is a good reserve keeper for the trip. On Indian wickets I feel you need your best batsmen and I think Matt Prior is a proper Top order batter and must play. I find it surprising that people are ready to right Collingwood off as I think he could be a crucial player in India not only with the bat but also as a bowling option where taking the pace off the ball could be crucial in the batsmen friendly conditions of India

  • Comment number 37.

    Oliver, only a certain proportion of people can be fully hypnotised and the stage hypnotists know this. That is why they screen the volunteers with simple tests of suggestibility. You are someone who isn't suggestible.
    Back to the cricket!
    I think that Bresnan's work in Bangladesh last year should stand him in good stead for the world cup. We can also get a few overs from KP. Let us not forget his crucial wicket of Clarke in Adelaide. Nor should we forget Collingwood's dismissal of Hussey. I think Collingwood is very short of confidence and perhaps 7 games in the wettest Australia in years will serve him and England well.

  • Comment number 38.

    Shango what I was highlighting when mentioning your comments concerning Jimmy Armfield, Holloway and Blackpool on another thread was that you're ignorant about more than one sport. For your information Armfield played for Blackpool over 600 times between 1954 and 1971 and played over 40 times for England, captaining them 15 times. Hardly a nobody you offensive lout!

    As for your comment re Swann in your last post that is woeful (or should that be wilful, no woeful is more correct) conjecture, not fact.

    Please Shango contribute something on these blogs that can be seen as a veriviable position and does have some nugget of truth in it instead of the usual nonsense and rubbish you peddle on here. However, if the best you can do is flaunt your ignorance please do the rest of us a favour and keep it all to yourself and let us proper, genuine, passionate sports fans comment and discuss what's mentioned in these blogs.

  • Comment number 39.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 40.

    Shango

    That so totally bang out of order. I followed these blogs during the Ashes and you were obviously there. At first I thought you were a fairly decent wind up merchant and you were succeeding as folk were biting.

    So now I bite..

    A man that had the honour of captaining his country. Who has stayed loyal to a club - that for many years was basically doing nothing - a man that seems a genuinely nice guy when you hear him on T/Radio. A nobody?

    You should stop posting so much. do somethjing healthy - get some fresh air or similar.

  • Comment number 41.

    India all the way with Sri-lanka and South African close behind. Too much match-fixing going on in the 50 to get a fair result guys.

  • Comment number 42.

    Shango nobody minds anyone coming on here with a different opinion and personally I love to see those posts because the vast majority of people making hose posts can back up their views. The difference between the majority and you is that your posts contain no facts, just ignorant, offensive rubbish.

    You seem to take great delight in coming on these blogs purely to be offensive. Being offensive isn't stating a different viewpoint, it's just showing you up as being ignorant.

  • Comment number 43.

    #41 Phillip that's a pretty fair shout, especially going by the SA vs India game today - India winning by 1 run after being bowled out for a mere 190 on what looked liek a half decent batting track.

  • Comment number 44.

    If Collingwood was Cooks age I could see the sense in keeping in the team. As it stands, by the time he's back in touch he'll no longer be able to run between the wickets.

  • Comment number 45.

    When "serious found out" is bowling 22 overs for 23 runs in one match, allowing the quicks to be rotated at the other end and in another bowling England to victory, I'm all for it. I hope that he will continue to be found out during the rest of the tour. 15 wickets at under 40 compared to 5 wickets at over 105 for the three Australian spinners used is the kind of hiding under the parapet that England need! :-)

    Maybe the fact that such was the fear of Swann that the pitches were prepared to ensure that he was neautralised have something to do with his relatively expensive haul. Despite that, a strike rate of 88 is quite respectable and his 2.72 runs per over was better any of the Australian bowlers in the series apart from Ben Hilfenhaus (whose wickets cost almost 60 each and who had a strike rate of a mere 135).

    Woakes is an interesting option. There is no question that he was included in the T20 side to test his mettle and to give him some experience in the hope of adding further depth to the fast bowling reserves. His start reminds me a little of a certain other bowler who we are never allowed to forget went for 6x6 in a T20 early in his career. Bowling in T20 and ODIs is about learning control and you only learn it by playing out in the middle. There is no question that his bowling has been found to be seriously deficient in the two T20s because he didn't have enough control of length and line to get away with bowling at just over 80mph, but he will have learnt a lot from the experience and the fact that he has shown himself to have a cool head with the bat suggests that he will make the grade if he is given the chance.

    I wouldn't read too much into the two T20s because we played with an attack that was extremely inexperienced and missing our best seamers and with a rather experimental batting line-up. In the second match I wrote at the time that we had allowed Australia to score 10 more than they should have - mainly with some loose new ball bowling - and was proved right. The defeat will do the side good. It's a nice reality check. I still can't see us as genuine contenders to win, although we should be good for a semi-Final place. Doing better than that will depend on the side not leaving too much to Eoin Morgan.

    The pressure on India to win will be extremely intense as it was on previous occasions when the World Cup was played on home turf. I am not sure that their fast bowling has enough depth to win and their spin attack is less reliable than it was a few years ago. However, everyone else is vulnerable too - South Africa's astonishing failure to win today speaks a lot of their deficiencies - Sri Lanka is a side that has been getting old together, England is probably not quite ready to win, Australia are suffering from a crisis of confidence and the failures of Pakistan, New Zealand and the West Indies are only too evident. It does make the tournament wonderfully open. You could probably argue for any of 6 sides being a potential finalist.

  • Comment number 46.

    The only sides of the Full Members that I don't see as candidates to get through to the Final are New Zealand, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the West Indies.

  • Comment number 47.

    Stargazer good comparison with Woakes and Broad. In fact our seam department is beginning to look up with new talent when you include Finn in the mix. With Woakes and Finn only being 21 they've plenty of time to develop into first rate bowlers to replace Anderson & Tremlett when they retire.

    I see your points about the Indian attack (although the seamers did well today and Singh was economical) but I feel that with their batting lineup being as strong as it is and with some of them coming to the end of their international careers - Tendulkar & Dravid are now well in their 30's and I think Laxman is not far off that as well - they will see this as a last chance to win the big prize.

  • Comment number 48.

    I think that India have to be the favourites but, remember, in the last World Cup they didn't even make the 2nd Round! This time the rules have been changed to make shocks almost impossible (you can see India, for example, having one bad day in the Group stage, but they would be almost certain to qualify with just 3 wins from 6 matches and none of the big sides will manage so many aberations), but that adds a new factor, that of stamina. Sides will play 2 warm-ups, 6 group matches and then three knock-out rounds. This is going to be an endurance test and squad depth is going to be a factor with 11 matches for the finalists. It will be interesting to see which teams cope best.

  • Comment number 49.

    Re: the Papa Shango wind-up
    Yawn, here we go again. Papa predicts the future ('Swan will be back playing county cricket by August') and calls it fact; you/we state historical facts (Swann's actual performances) and Papa denies that they ever happened or resorts to offensive personal attacks (Swann, Collingwood, Armfield, and now Giles), It's not about the game of cricket, it's about the game of Shango. Me, I find cricket much, much more interesting.

    @41/43 Raise an interesting question - how much has the recent spate of match-fixing allegations damaged confidence in the competitiveness of the 50 over game? Do we any longer have faith in the result? If we go down that road, what's the point of the game and why are we following it? Is Papa Shango a metaphor for the corrupt soul of one-day cricket?

  • Comment number 50.

    Pianoshifter: what spate of match fixing? I cannot recall accusations of match fixing apart from some tenuous suggestions that have never produced outright indictments, of the strange goings-on during Pakistan's tour of Australia, but the side was in such a mess that the bad results on that tour would probably have happened anyway.

    I think that you are thinking of spot-fixing allegations. These, it has been pointed out carefully many times, including by the ICC, are cases that DO NOT affect results, as they are micro-interventions.

  • Comment number 51.

    Stargazer - I was referring to the alllegations, not the evidence, and whether they are a symptom of wider disaffection. Spot fixing may not affect the result but is does affect my view as to the motivation of players, which is very important to mr for one. It must anger and frustrate many of the players. I was responding to some cynical comments by other on this blog.

  • Comment number 52.

    PS Collingwood dropped, England lose. Swan England's nest bowler. Where is Papa when you need him/her?

  • Comment number 53.

    Have to agree with most people about Shango knowing nothing!

    Woakes is in the side due to being noted by England THREE years ago and put through their performance programmes - NOT because Giles is a selector. And as for Giles being a poor cricketer - he got a 1000 test runs and a 100 test wickets quicker than Flintoff, Gough and Swann!

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    Oh and Papa your great mate Morgan got what?? 8 runs! World beating performance mate.

  • Comment number 56.

    #54 Paul. I don't know why this comment has been referred for further consideration. I thought it was spot on.

  • Comment number 57.

    It was refered cause papa didn't like it I will just re post it over and over I saved it just in case. The BBC mods need there heads testing and they will take that off too

  • Comment number 58.

    They refuse to take the idiots comments off about Jimmy arnfield yet the take mine off critising him for saying it. These blogs aren't worth it any more an thats a fact. Tom F is getting annoyed with him, Oliver is whats it going to take for him to get banned.
    Mind you they will probably ban me for telling them they are idiots! You know what I couldn't give a sack full of the brown stuff about it

  • Comment number 59.

    come on BBC explain why my comment was removed you haven't even the guts to send me an e mail. Spineless just about describes you mods

  • Comment number 60.

    wheres my e mail mod umpties telling me why you removed a perfectly reasonable comment about papa

  • Comment number 61.

    Thanks gashead, just shows you how rubbish these blogs are now when that idiot comes on

  • Comment number 62.

    Always happy to voice my support for a fellow true sports fan Paul.

  • Comment number 63.

    Pau I've just read the reasons why the moderators step in and have to say you've a right to feel aggrieved considering what Shango has gotten away with on the various blogs he's posted comments on. It does have the feel of a double standard.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    A very fair assement Oliver, particularly with reference to Paul Collingwood's rehabillitation being a key component to England putting out a balanced side in ODI's. However England are not helping their cause by continuing to play him in all formats of the game while other 'Key' players are bing rested whever possible.

    Whilst I agree with the decision to have him sit out the recent ODI I fail to see how his recuperation can possibly have been assisted by having him as 12th man an bringing him on as a specialist fielder for the Ausi innings not a great way to rest a player. He could, and should, have been told to go away and take a break just like Anderson and Straus.

    Good to see KP back to something like form, and I know its cruel to label a player on one performance but I feel Trott was a big weak link in the team, 2 dropped catches and a number of miss fields will not have helped his WC selection chances. (anybody can get out to a decent ball, and Haddin did his only good work behind the stumps to take the catch)

    Shazad continues to show great promise and I hope England take him to the WC his ability to swing the ball both ways makes him a must really, and he is not too shabby with the bat either.

    and if I may digress a second, Paul, please just ignore the troll, whenever pooper shango comes on he is looking for people to 'bite' to his bile and vitriol, just let it go and concentrate on continuing to discuss a concise blog with some interesting and accurate analysis.

  • Comment number 66.

    #jonah

    Its a shame you can't read my original comment which was imploring the mods to ban Shango's IP address from these blogs. I am not biting back at him, I want him removed then we can have proper cricket discussions as your asking for. For some reason the mods took exception to that! See Gasheadinchelt's comment he got to read it before it was removed!
    AS for you mod's you removed to comment but failed to inform me as to why by e mail PATHETIC! You guys should seriously take a look at your rules and yourselves!

  • Comment number 67.

    ~gas

    Where'd you read that? They haven't even the decency to send me an e mail.

  • Comment number 68.

    Guys - I'm afraid part of the democratic prcess is allowing people to have an opinion. If there is one guy whose observations appear completely ridiculous then the best thing is just to ignore him. After all, how many people bother to ring up a newspaper to complain when some stridently right-wing columnist makes an inflammatory remark? Best to burn off energy more healthily, I say.

  • Comment number 69.

    Well said, Oliver.

    What are your thoughts on Broad, do Eng risk brining him straight back after injury for a WC, or do they persist with his replacements?

    I would, assuming they were all on form (big assumption I know), opt for

    1. Straus
    2. Davies
    3. Bell
    4. KP
    5. Colly
    6. Morgan
    7. Bresnan
    8. Shazad
    9. Swann
    10.Yardy
    11.Woakes

    reserves

    Tredwell
    Wright
    Prior
    Broad

    Whether Morgan and Colly should swap places in the line-up or not I am not sure.

    I dont think we Eng should go into the competition without a specialst Wkt Keeper as cover, so Prior as the other fit and inform keeper should get the nod and if Davies does suffer a big loss of form or injury then Bell can slot in as opener Prior can then slot in either at 3 or 5. I would prefer 5

  • Comment number 70.

    OH I knew I had missed someone, How could I forget Jimmy Anderson, simple, drop Woakes ( sorry lad, but there is always next time) and slot Jimmy in there instead.

  • Comment number 71.

    #67 Paul. I clicked on the word "Explain" on your article 54 and it came up with the House Rules.

    #68 Oliver, we've tried ignoring him and we've tried explaining and informing him. However instead of engaging in proper debate and making sensible comments he posts inflammatory comments which should, under the rules these blogs operate under, be banned. That's why I've gotten a bit steamed up as what Paul wrote in his Article 54 was no different to what others, myself included, have written in response to his rubbish.

  • Comment number 72.

    Oliver, I wouldn't mind an e mail explaining what in my comments mean't my post removed when others we not! Sorry the BBC have not bothered to give me even an explanation. Gas, that bit I knew but normally if a post is removed you get an e mail explaining exactly what had cuase it's removal.
    My comments we simply pointing out to him that Swann is test class and there is no way other than injury he will be dropped for next summer.
    Jonah surely you bring in Anderson for Shazad, Woakes I rate he should be there Shazad will get his chance next time for sure.
    Even though he doesn't bring batting at the moment Colly has got to be in I don't know what he brings other than fielding but there is something about the England side when he's there verses when he isn't that means we play better. Can't explain it, I was there at the ashes and have travelled the world watching us play. When he's in the team we always seem to do well! 3 ashes series victories and 1 20/20 world cup win can't be wrong even though several have said his contribution was minimal, sorry guys your wrong, he was there, its a team game so he contiributed something that caused us to win!

  • Comment number 73.

    Nah all things considered Paul, I would pick Shazad ahead of Woakes at this stage. Don't get me wrong, I really rate Woakes, somewhere on the boards I advocated Woakes before the t20's, and I can forsee a time when with the right help to develop his game he becomes Colly's natural successor as the team allrounder.

    Shazad at the moment is just a better allround cricketer, he can and does move the ball boath ways is the air and can seam the ball as well. His slow ball leg cutter is going to be a boon in the sub continent. And to cap it all the lad can bat (just my opinion mind I dont deal in FACTS(LOL))

    Totally agree with you re Colly's presence in the team, but then I always have liked the man since I first saw him as a lad for Durham far too many years ago.

    I also agree with you that for someone who has been found out and has had a bad tour so far Swann seems to have been remarkedly successful for a nohoper.

  • Comment number 74.

    Jonah

    You need to be careful, apparently Swann is only good when bowling to tail enders or weak test teams. He's no good a bowling to proper batsman who apparently have all worked him out and smashed him all over the place. This is all of course alledgedly! His record of course proves this beyond question! The ICC were mistaken in giving him a player of the year award as he didn't deserve it.
    Of course being Englands second best bowler in the ashes series was all down to luck and a weak Australian side he didn't get a single proper batsman out.

    I am of course talking complete drivel! (FACT)

  • Comment number 75.

    The best bowler of the ashes series was of course Mitchell Johnson, he was outstanding in his use of straight none swinging deliveries. He will of course take the world cup by storm as none of the Indian or South african batsman have a clue how to play him. It was of course down to him that Australia managed to win a test match and only him. He would walk into the England side right away and displace other county trundlers like Anderson, Broad, Tremlett and Finn all of which proved themselves to be ineffective by only bowling the Australians out for 3 innings defeats.

  • Comment number 76.

    As for the batting the only Batsman to rate in the england side is KP. Cook is awful and should be sent to county cricket to learn how to play, Strauss is overated as an opener and a captain, far too conservative and Trott and Collingwood are not test class or even worthy of ODI call ups.

  • Comment number 77.

    I am of course talking utter drivel or the slang term for the two spherical objects swinging between my two humeri. But then as other people seem to get away with it why not join in :-)

  • Comment number 78.

    Just slightly off topic...and having done some research...England as an International squad for all forms of the game are in a very strong position. The depth we have is certainly way above recent times. I've looked at naming the best 3 teams in general, trying to take all forms of the game into account out of the Test, ODIs, 20/20s and Lions and also adding a couple and trying to keep the balance fairly similar in setting up the team. It really does make excellent reading for the future on the basis of the strength of my 3rd team. Feel free to correct me if you wish but I don't think I'll be far off.

    Strauss (c)
    Cook
    Trott
    Pietersen
    Bell
    Morgan
    Prior (wk)
    Broad
    Swann
    Anderson
    Tremlett

    Kieswetter
    Lyth
    Hildreth (c)
    Taylor
    Bopara
    Collingwood
    Davies (wk)
    Bresnan
    Rashid
    Shahzad
    Finn

    Carberry
    Lumb
    Adams
    Gale (c)
    Hales
    Stokes
    Bairstow (wk)
    Plunkett
    Briggs
    Woakes
    Harris

  • Comment number 79.

    Is anyone else doubting the validity of the Twenty20 matches? just seem to be used as a warm up for ODI's and hold no value of their own now?

    Think Colly is wrong to dedicate his time all to the short form of the game beacuase of this, we still need him at test level.




  • Comment number 80.

    So we changed the team, we drop Collingwood and we lose, Swann is the best bowler by far. Papa I use to think you were a WUM. Sometimes you used to be funny. Now I just think your a complete fool.
    Your great mate Johnson during the test series took one more wicket and wickets that were prepared for him and not for Swann (FACT). Note that is a fact Papa cause its backed up by real events in the past Papa not ones in your head. Swann its a damm good spinner (FACT) the ICC recognise this and Australia did because they seemed to be leaving a lot of grass on the wickets to make sure it didn't spin (thats aother FACT by the way papa. Swann has taken more wickets in the number of tests he has played than any of the numpties you named as better spinners most of which have only really played in ODI and not tests. Vetorri is past it and Singh whines every five minutes whe wickets don't agree with him. Those are all FACTS by the way.
    You are no long funny, you are sad in a way that really is tragic to behold. You don't have anything positive to say, you write people who have more talent for what they do than anything you have ever accomplished in you sad and lonely life. The BBC should do the decent thing. Noone cares about your comments on these blogs any more. They should just ban you and let the rest of us discuss cricket. Every time you come on here now the blog is hijacked by your comments. We complain to the mods over and over and they remove your comments from time to time. You even have the blog writer telling you your dumb. Time to think mate and leave the cricket to people who know something! Personally I will not miss you at all, your a fool and every word from you mouth just confirms that opinion (not fact).

  • Comment number 81.

    I like your squad Jonah (obviously, the Anderson for Woakes thing taken into account). We will need three spin options definitely. Broad will be named in the 15 I think and perhaps be targeted at later group games rather than the very start. I still think Bopara is better than Wright in the spare all-rounder role, but it doesn't seem the selectors do, and Prior has to come in as spare 'keeper. I went on record during the first ODI to say I felt Shahzad and Tremlett were playing for one spot and I am fairly sure Shahzad has won that battle.

    Paul - I'm not in the office today, so cannot verify exact terms and conditions, but you have to realise moderators are not cricket experts so deal with the letter of the law. Some people are very good at annoying hundreds of people without breaking the law, c'est la vie and blah blah blah... Sorry I can't be more helpful.

  • Comment number 82.

    Ishouldbe.... you can't have Straus, Cook and Trott in the same one day team look at their strike rates and divide it into 300 balls some very low scores in 50 overs would be the result.

    Shazad would be ahead of Tremlett for the 1st XI as well

    And as your 1st XI stands its a bowler or decent all-rounder light

  • Comment number 83.

    Oliver

    Its fine I completely understand we will continue reporting where necessary and ignore when appropriate :-).
    Jonah's squad looks like a good one, I just hope KP gets his concentrating head screwed on. Forgot we are playing in india we need another spinner who does something a bit different.
    The wickets in India are not doing as much as they used to for finger spinners, see Singhs comments about not getting wickets there (or not as many as he should be. I like our chances, I think its going to between us, india,sri lanka and a complete outsider Bangladesh I know there a long shot but I think a few people will underestimate them.

  • Comment number 84.

    Don't worry Oliver keep writing the great blogs :-)

  • Comment number 85.

    This is definitely a big test of England's credentials. They are without key bowler James Anderson for the first few matches so if they were to be in the lead when he returns, that would say a lot about this team. It is also against the world number one side, who I think have a massive chance of winning the World Cup in India.

  • Comment number 86.

    Paul please accept my apologies regarding the earlier mix up.

    That's also a good shout for an outsider in Bangladesh but they'd have to catch a few teams having off days to make real progress. I might be tempted to have a couple of shillings each way on New Zealand as they always seem to get to the semi finals sneaking under everybody's radar as they do.

  • Comment number 87.

    I think England will do better with the ball next time out. The Aus 1-day side seems to have more confidence than their test one, although their bowling still isn't what you'd call razor sharp.

    Johnson's still a liability, Bollinger's still slow and their best spinner's a batsman. Watto can't pull them out of the fire every time; he's clearly not sufficiently fit. Strong maybe, but not fit.

    So, Shazad or Tremlett? I'd have taken Chapple, he's quick enough for the sub-continent and still as accurate as anyone in England. But I fear it's too late, opportunity missed 3 years ago.

  • Comment number 88.

    Match fixing may be there but do not just raise the issue without any base (SA V Ind does not make it a fixed match, just a great match)...... coz it sounds like some of u guys are already preparing excuses!!

  • Comment number 89.

    So do Tom and yourself Oliver only Blog when England win? I can't seem to find anything on the Aussies latest win, perhaps someone out there can help. Top class journalism. LOL.

  • Comment number 90.

    89. nothing to do with anyone winning. This was written as a preview of the one-day series, that's all. Tom wrote blogs during and after the Perth Test win by Australia. You may only remember him blogging about England winning during the Ashes because generally that's what happened.

  • Comment number 91.

    For the life of me I can't figure out why Davies was dropped in favour of Prior, he had everything going for him. And why did england fudge the decision and announcement so badly? Emphasis on Prior to do VERY well in the tournament.

  • Comment number 92.

    The reason England are 5th in the ODI rankings is because they aren't very good at it. At 20/20 they can cobble together a decent total with a few swipes and enough wickets to see out the 20 overs, but int the 50 over game the bowling comes undone somewhere along the line and the batting simply isn't special enough to be the best in the world. Pietersen and Morgan are the only two batsmen capable of winning matches for England, but to rely on those two is too much. Someone else has to play world class innings (Bell looks most likely).
    I can't understand the choice of Prior, especially opening - it doesn't work! Plus i always see ODIs as less important and to be used as a chance to create good back-up players for tests and play youngsters. Davies should have been picked, and maybe even Woakes.

  • Comment number 93.

    What is it that keeps pointing up Pietersen as huge saviour of our team.

    Apart from the double century when we already had 300 on the board, he has done little in Australia. Certainly he's not come good when we needed him. Trouble is, he believes his own publicity.

    Another failure today.

    I hope he makes me eat my words but I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 94.

    @92 - could not agree more. England just do not convince in the 50-over game. I think selecting Prior to open is a bad move - Bell would be a better bet, with Prior batting further down. I am not convinced Yardy or Wright have enough to offer at a World Cup either. What went wrong with Rashid? If only Patel could keep his eyes off the do-nuts! Broad, Anderson and Swann will add something undoubtedly but I cannot see England getting beyond the semis at best.

  • Comment number 95.

    As well as England played in the recent Ashes series and they were great,they unfortunately have not a chance in hell of winning the up coming World Cup,this in my opinion is due to the whole tactics behind which the team play.

    They have always been a 230-280 chasing side as they are incapable of batting first and setting totals as this demands them to force the score along,something which seems is not in the game of many of the team, i.e. once the so called `big names` have gone they cannot hit the ball off the square never mind hit boundaries, Bresnan,Yardy,Tredwell spring to mind.

    Even though great strides have been made in recent years,they still seem to be well adrift as judged by struggling against this current Australian side and the current ICC 1 day rankings,hope i am completely shot down by preformances in the Sub-Continent,i am however doubtful.

  • Comment number 96.

    Wheres the PSAR when you need the numpty. We drop Collingwood and Swann is injured and what happens we get stuffed twice! Coincidence? I doubt it. I always said Collingwood brings more than runs! People forget that at their peril. Anyway PSAR is banned from these blogs for those who are interested.
    With a full side out we will be close but I don't think we have enough, not by a lot but I think a top side like India will do us.
    One the Pieterson issue. I was saying that during the test series, he's playing poorly at the moment, one swallow does not a summer make. If we are to do anything in the WC he need to step up big style.

  • Comment number 97.

    Paul, that's excellent news about the Shango. It's made my week - shame it'll probably go downhill at the Memorial tomorrow.

  • Comment number 98.

    Sorry to say the Shango has re-registered. More lying filth will be posted on the blogs.

  • Comment number 99.

    Post-series and pre-World Cup review blog post:

    http://samhopwood.blogspot.com/2011/02/silver-seam-to-english-odi-cloud.html

    Maybe we have some hope left? No I don't think so either

 

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