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England problems mount as World Cup nears

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Oliver Brett | 13:18 UK time, Monday, 7 February 2011

In the past few weeks, Andrew Strauss has spoken of England maintaining "positive" thoughts, of being "confident" and that his team "can do a lot in the World Cup".

If that is the case, then out on the field of play we must have been watching cricket from a parallel universe. The back end of the tour of Australia crumpled into a chaotic tailspin of injuries and defeats. Was it really only a month ago that Kevin Pietersen was out partying with Tinie Tempah in Sydney after England's Test team had quite brilliantly defended the Ashes?

Hot on the heels of the Sydney celebrations, cricket had to continue. The two Twenty20 internationals were shared, but then it all went Pete Tong to the power of 10.

Andrew Strauss

England's Andrew Strauss soaks up the scale of England's defeat in the one-dayers (Getty)

England proceeded to lose six of the seven one-dayers, and so confused were their selections that they ended up with wicketkeeper Steve Davies, who had been dropped from the World Cup squad after the first ODI, back in the side and reclaiming the opening position from Matt Prior. It was Prior, we were led to believe, who would open with Strauss in the subcontinent. Now, frankly, it is anyone's guess who will take on that role.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Ravi Bopara, who has opened for England before but is not currently in the 15-man World Cup squad, will be given the job. Eoin Morgan's finger fracture is classed as "substantial" and with England's first match of the tournament on 22 February the Irish-born left-hander looks odds against making the plane.

In that scenario, England would be allowed to apply to the ICC to find a suitable replacement for Morgan, and Essex's Bopara would be one of the likeliest candidates.

Meanwhile, there are not many fit bowlers left: Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Paul Collingwood, Ajmal Shahzad and Stuart Broad are all nursing one sort of complaint or another. Broad, remember, has not played a match since early December after tearing an abdominal muscle in the Perth Test.

England's first warm-up for the World Cup is against Canada in Fatullah on 16 February and with a daunting list of walking wounded one theory was espoused that coach Andy Flower might be pressed into service.

An ECB spokesman was quoted as saying such a scenario was "so remote as to be up there with Martians landing at Lord's." One might beg to differ.

Leaving the injuries aside, what about the performances in Australia? Bearing in mind that the Aussies were juggling injuries themselves and are most bookmakers' third favourites for the tournament, England should have been competitive.

Some of the time they were, at least with the ball. But on two rare occasions the batsmen performed, the bowling fell to pieces, firstly in the series opener at Melbourne (though Shane Watson's stunning 161 had a say in matters), and then when they were unable to defend 333 at Sydney.

Ian Bell

Ian Bell was one of many England batsmen to disappoint (AP)

Of the individuals, one batsman could hold his head high: Jonathan Trott hit two centuries and emerged with 375 runs, the rest looked badly out-of-form, the worst cases being Morgan and Paul Collingwood.

At least Collingwood did his bit with the ball, providing remarkable economy with a few wickets as well. By contrast, James Anderson was the most expensive frontline bowler and Michael Yardy looked exposed without his spin-twin Swann at the other end.

England need some sort of lift between now and the moment they board their plane from London to Bangladesh on Saturday - after a mad four days at home when they will have time to wash their kit, take the dog for a walk and little else.

There are no plans for a motivational session with Kenny Dalglish, the man who has transformed Liverpool's faltering season, though how about it ECB? Perhaps the knowledge that they are going to a very different place, and playing against different teams might allow body and mind to re-awaken.

Any positive fitness bulletin will surely help, and they must remind themselves that prior to the last series they had won their past five ODI rubbers.

As long as they show some appetite for the occasion, England should have enough quality to make the quarter-finals. To be sure of doing so, they only need to beat Netherlands, Ireland and win any two of their remaining four group matches (the easiest being Bangladesh and West Indies).

Once there, it's shoot-out time and they will be able to draw on their own success in last year's World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, when they stumbled into the Super Eights before finding their mojo and reeling off five comprehensive wins to pick up the trophy.

Things might not look too clever at the moment, but Strauss, Flower and company must remind themselves that they are one of the best five teams in the world - and play that way.


  • Comment number 1.

    The notion of a scot giving a "motivational" talk to an English cricket team is about as absurd as anyone could imagine

    We are all aware that the BBC is "scot-powered", but leave it out please

  • Comment number 2.

    Just how much satisfaction did you get from England winning the ODI's 4 years ago.
    That little?
    That is how much the Oz can take from coming good too late.
    We won the Ashes this time, 24 years ago we retained them with a 2-2 series draw.
    Anyone would find it difficult to retain purpose after an acheivement of that magnitude.
    The Aussie commentators felt that way too.

  • Comment number 3.

    How would talking to Kenny Dalglish help us win the World Cup?

    Winning games with Gerrard, Suarez, Carragher, Reina, Agger, Johnson, Meireles, WOW! What an achievement! (DOH!)

  • Comment number 4.

    Too much should not be read into this series defeat. no one cares, players, commentators, fans, media on either side. we won the Ashes, how are you supposed to be up for a meaningless ODI series following on from that?

    England go to the sub continent with a live chance, no more, no less, and the results in this joke of a series has done nothing to change that, apart from leaving behind a long list of injuries.

  • Comment number 5.

    1. Well he has been pretty motivational to an English football team (and yes, I know most of the players aren't English but Liverpool are an English club). Andy Flower is Zimbabwean, Capello is Italian, etc etc etc...

    2. Apart from the small matter that 24 years ago we WON the Ashes series 2-1, your point is a decent one to make - and Eng would not be the first team to take their eyes off the ball after a notable Test series win (SA did the same on our patch in 2008). Also, Australia rebounded from defeat in the triangular finals four years ago to win the World Cup...

  • Comment number 6.

    Ian Dunmore is absolutely right.

    I am the most passionate of England Cricket fans and I don't care at all about these one-dayers. The banter and comment across Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else when the Ashes were on was electric. During the One-dayers, there was virtually nothing so I know I'm not alone in feeling this way - even my Aussie friends can't be bothered to give me any stick.

    The truth is that Andrew Strauss, Jimmy Anderson et al will be remembered for their Ashes acheivements and nobody will remember this one day series.

    A few 20/20s & one-dayers (NOT 7!) should be used as a warm-up upon arrival, followed by a couple of 3 dayers prior to an ashes series - it simply doesnt work the other way around.

  • Comment number 7.

    After the solemn realisation at the age of 12 that I might not be good enough to play cricket for England I decided that the next best thing, writing about cricket, would have to suffice as a career

    Surely the next best thing would be playing for a lesser country like Australia, India or Ireland?

    Anyway, losing Morgan would be a huge blow despite his poor series in Australia. I hope Bopara does not figure, otherwise we might not make the quarters.

    Prior should play at 6.

    Getting to the quarters is easy enough, from then it's three games against teams of a similar standard. The players could have done with an extra few days at home but a few are injured and have been home for a week it won't matter too much.

    Sri Lanka tests at home are of more importance. And half the Sri Lankan's will be tired after the IPL.

  • Comment number 8.

    Small point, Broad was injured in Adelaide, not Perth...

  • Comment number 9.

    We seem to not know our strongest team, which is definitely a hindrance, though the large number of injuries definitely hasn't helped this.

    Failing to reach the quarter finals would be a disaster. After then who knows as we are a match for anyone on our day. India have to be favourites though and with South Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia all looking pretty formidable I think if we reached the semi finals then it could be classed as a success.

    It will be good if we break the cycle of following an Ashes tour with the world cup as has been suggested, the series are so intense that it has to take it's toll on both teams.

  • Comment number 10.

    Our only shred of hope surely is what Oliver mentions in his comment #5 - the Aussies lost the triangular series (and another ODI series to NZ) just before the World Cup last time but then thrashed everyone - form going into a tournament isn't everything

  • Comment number 11.

    It doesn't worry me too much. I agree with the above posts that the England team have come off the high of the Ashes and the buzz just isn't the same. Come the World Cup we'll be up for it again.

  • Comment number 12.

    Agree with #11,I think the team went to Australia with the main intention being to win the test series.Hence the fact the ODI series didn't go too well.

    Come the WC they should be a little more focused on the job.I don't think we'll do very well,but there you go.

  • Comment number 13.

    Some of the points on here are valid, but England's ODI success over the last 12 months has been based largely on Eoin Morgan's form. The Ashes hangover cannot be blamed for his poor performances in the Australia ODIs (he didn't play, remember?), and his potential absence from the tournament altogether is the real reason England need to worry.

    No other England batsman (except Trott in Oz) has shown any kind of consistent ODI form - before OR after the Ashes. I'm not an England nay-sayer but too many of England's batsmen have been inconsistent for far too long in ODIs for us to harbour any serious hopes of lifting the WC trophy.

    Having said that, Australia's ODI bowling attack (the first-choice one, not the one that played yesterday) is surely the best around, so there is room for faint hope, and I'll keep clinging to it for as long as I can!

  • Comment number 14.

    Give them all a break, that's what they need.

  • Comment number 15.

    The ECB did the team no favours by agreeing to a 7 match ODI series - whatever the tour result had been the team needed a bigger rest period,
    particularly as a number of the players feature in both squads - even Morgan has had little down time as part of the Ashes squad.

    The World Cup is still a very long competition and the England team can go one of two ways sink without trace or show resurgence. For the latter to happen Flower & Strauss will have to (due to injuries) rebalance the squad.

    Our best team could go far unfortunately we will still lack strength in depth, carrying; Wright, Yardy (as a batsmen - the performance in game 7 does nothing to change my mind) & Tredwell.

    The injuries should allow England to give Bopara another chance, add Davies as a back-up wicket keeper/opener & call-up Hildreth from the Lions.

  • Comment number 16.

    I understand England fly out to India THIS SATURDAY!!

    What sort of a break from cricket is that, jet lag and all?

    ECB once again puts the (Aussie) dollar ahead of players performance.

  • Comment number 17.

    The tour has simply gone on too long, and it's been 'after the Lord Mayor's show'.

    I can't imagine even the Aussie team, at heart, is getting anything particularly thrilling out of this series. It all feels a bit superfluous.

  • Comment number 18.

    As an ex airline crew member over 3 months in Oz, back in the UK for under 2 weeks then potentially 1 month in the subcontinent the England boys are simply worn out ! The different time zones & climate change etc The ECB should have not agreed to 2 T20 & 7 ODI after the Ashes ! They should have been back home soon after the Ashes success....Its created injuries to key players & fatigue....Having said that they are capable of making an impact but I feel we dont have enough 6 hitters ! England are good ground stroke players who excel over the longer Test format but when you want to blast the run rate or chase down a big total we rely too much on 1 perhaps 2 big hitters ! If we can play to our strenghts, then we can and should make the 1/4 or perhaps semis but will fall short from winning, but I hope Im proved wrong as all the top nations will have to contest at some point illness, injuries, home expectation and luck !

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't know who's fault this was, but it was madness to make the teams announce the world cup squads in the middle of the ODIs. Infact, after just one game! It would have been so much better and a lot more competitive if the squads were announced after all the international series had finished, so that everyone playing was playing for a place. In the end England had a lot of players playing who aren't even going to the world cup. Waste. Of. Time.

    And why are the world cup squads limited to 15 men? In a gruelling, long tounrnament you'd have thought that there could be at least 22 guys to pick from.

    England were tired, of course. They were on a come down from the Ashes, of course.

    But lets not forget that Australia are a better one day team than England having won the last 3 world cups and more relevantly, the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy, and ODIs are definitely England's weakest discipine.

    However all is not lost. We got humped 6-1 by Australia the last time we won the Ashes back in 09 and still put on a good show at the Champions Trophy.

    But England must settle on a best eleven, and work out their plans from there. They seem to be a team that executes its plans well when everyone knows their role specifically. This is severely disrupted when you're using about 12 bowlers througout a series.

    England will be OK for the world cup, but I doubt very much that they'll win it, they're just not good enough really. But I wouldn't read too much into the abysmal showing by the England players during this series.

  • Comment number 20.

    The Odi series has been a disgrace in terms of duration. England players are mentally washed out, and therefore physically vulnerable to injury. Which Englishmen gives a stuff about the results after the achievements of the Test side?

    My concern is the players' welfare. 4 days off before another journey to far flung parts is a disgrace of scheduling.

    Little wonder that the Test team declined the open-top tour of London.

    The only thing I find unsettling in terms of WC plans is the knee-jerk selections.

  • Comment number 21.

    The Ashes are much more important to the players and fans and anyone claiming otherwise is deluded. As a result, the team which wins the Ashes experiences a huge emotional climax to their tour and rightly indulges in a huge celebration before the ODI series even starts, which has to impact the motivation and intensity levels of those players who play both forms of the game.

    Conversely the beaten team in the Ashes then has an opportunity to dust themselves off, freshen up with a few ‘untarnished’ players and salvage something from the season with precious little to lose.

    It’s not the only factor by any means but it stands to reason that it plays a part. Personally I’d much prefer the ODIs to take place as a precursor to the main event (the Test series) although there are probably good reasons for the current situation that escape me.

    I don’t think the result of the ODI series v. Australia will have any impact on our performance at the World Cup. If the first-choice XI is mostly fit, England are capable of beating anyone.

  • Comment number 22.

    Why has nobody talked about Cookie!! Hes the player in form for England and he had a healthy strike rate in the Ashes. We have alot of hitters (eg Prior & Davis) we need an opener, dont we? BRING in Cookie for the world cup!!

  • Comment number 23.

    We have Strauss, Bell, Trott, Davies and Prior who can all open.

  • Comment number 24.

    Interesting, there seems to be a theme of "so what?" here. But these are professional sportsmen who should not just switch off after winning a Test series (OK, I know it's not just any Test series).

    More saliently, should we bother with 50-over cricket in any event? Everyone seems to get more out of the 20-over game. It seems daft to have three formats, and those that say 50-ver cricket can be hugely entertaining don't really have a leg to stand on as 40-over, 30-over and as we have seen in the past seven years 20-over cricket can provide just as much a thrill for spectators.

  • Comment number 25.

    Deja vu. Win the Ashes and lose the one-dayers 6-1. If that has to be the return for winning the main event, I'm sure England supporters will take it every time.

    Can we bounce back for the World Cup? Yes we can.

    ODI Series: England marks out of 10

  • Comment number 26.

    Not worried at all about losing this series, too much meaningless ODI's played. Loss of focus, injuries,tired minds and bodies and not to mention totaly different conditions on the sub-continant all make this series a poor pointer to our chances in the WC.

    Agree with Trott as opener, we get the best out of the aggresive Prior lower down the order. Please, please keep Yardy in the team. He may not be one of the high profile super stars but WC history shows that the bits & pieces playes are just as important in this form of the game and at the moment I would back him over Colly.

    Strauss,Trott,Bell,Pietersen,Morgan,Prior,Yardy,Bresnan,Broad,Swann, Anderson.

  • Comment number 27.

    Any chance of an injury to Luke Wright? And give the all-rounder spot to Chris Woakes? Or if it's just for the World Cup and you want an older player in the form of his life, Warwickshire's Neil Carter? Remember what a great job Paul Nixon did behind the stumps when he was brought in for a year or so? Forget Wright as an England all-rounder: Carter could keep the spot while Chris Broad is recovering from injury. Very important to bolster the middle-order if Eoin Morgan's still unfit. But in a year's time it should be Broad or Woakes in the all-rounder's spot, not Wright as second choice all-rounder to Collingwood (retired).

    Chris Woakes has played in 3 ODIs and taken 7 wickets at an average of 21.28. He's come in so low down the order that he's not been given a chance to show his skills with the bat. Carter was ranked the country's most valuable player by the PCA for his batting and bowling.

    Luke Wright has now taken just 15 wickets in 44 ODIs at an average of 55.20, and in some matches he wasn't played at all as a bowler, but just came in, smashed a few runs and was quickly out. His batting average in ODIs is 21.86 and he only has 3 not outs in because he keeps getting out. Which hardly qualifies him as an all-rounder, more an all-loser. His batting average seems to be going down at the same rate as his bowling average is going up. He has done well his county in limited overs cricket but that's true of many players who don't have the skills, talent or judgement (Wright shows little of the latter) to perform at international level. At one time England were using him as a bowler to tie down the batsmen in the crucial closing overs. Now they often don't bowl him at all and he's become the passenger in the team. When the 12th man comes on as a substitute fielder, you wish they'd swap whoever it is with Luke Wright before start of play.

  • Comment number 28.

    You know what? We need to put the one day series into perspective- after the long tour down under the lads have not just retained the ashes they won the test series, surely this means more than a drubbing in the 1 dayers? Well it certainly does for me. Now don't get me wrong i would have loved the lads to have won everything in sight and really battered a poor aussie side into submission, but after almost 5 months on tour aren't we all expecting too much? I understand that these guys are professional sports people but come on, in what other sport would you find competitors away from home from 5 months at a time.

    I would like to see the 50 over format dropped totally, the T20 games offer far more of a spectacle as far as entertainment goes and seeems to appeal to the masses! How many "forms" of one game do we need? Test, 50 over, 40 over and the T20- I mean come on talk about overkill!
    If the 50 over game was dropped by the ICC it would give domestic professional players to play 5 day games and be more ready for the test arena- which seems to have more of a draw for players and spectators alike.

  • Comment number 29.

    The Kenny Dalglish idea is stupid, stick to cricket Oliver.

    Don't worry to much about the problems in england's ODI team, england haven't been good in that form of the game in a long time. We won't win the world cup, however, when the ECB finally realise that there are younger, hungryier, more talented players around, and put them in, then a future world cup is more than possible.

    How Woakes isn't in the team and yet Wright is i don't know.

  • Comment number 30.

    Have to agree with Dom from an earlier post. Cook goes to Australia, scores more runs then then any Englishman since the 1930's and then gets dropped. I know it's a different form of the game, but he can score runs. He can definitely score more runs then Prior (shouldn't be in the squad) and probably most of the England squad. I have no doubt that Kevin Pieterson is a talented player but he really needs a kick up the backside and maybe dropping him from a couple of games might set his mind where it should be. Sorry Colly your days are done, time for a younger player to come in. The rest is pretty much ok. Also what's happened to Craig Kieswetter at least he can bat.

  • Comment number 31.

    Funny how you all don't mind South African and Irish players in your team, but think its ridiculous for a scot giving a pep talk, i'm sure that comment was tongue in cheek by the writer anyway.

    Surely Cook should be in the team, why not play the majority of the test team, or perhaps Strauss shouldn't be there.

    England are a shambles at the minute, but there's plenty of time for them to get it right. Perhaps the ashes has took too much out of them.

    Its also funny how so many people are now complaining about the length of the tour, i don't remember to many complaints about the length before the tour started.

  • Comment number 32.

    As an Australian fan I got only small pleasure from the ODI wins; the Ashes were the main event.

    But watching the ODIs was far more satisfying than the 20/20s. For a full summer of international cricket I think the ODI format is still necessary. But agree that it should have come before/between the Ashes Tests. January is the holiday month in Australia and the Tests were over a couple of days into it.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm rather bemused that cricketers should be having a problem with playing lots of cricket. A few years ago, I worked in southern africa for 4 months, 5 days a week, and loved it. I did more hours in a day than Collie has batted all series and never felt "mentally drained". As for Andy Flower saying "it is no surprise that people will pick up injuries and break down at the end of a long, hard tour" maybe he should consult Stefaan Engels who has just run 365 marathons in one year.

    No-one has mentioned it but shouldn't questions be asked of England's huge background team, whose job is to look after players' fitness and well-being? What is it they've been doing to them? I'm suspicious of Andy Flower talking of "the intensity that we demand in training"

    And yes Steve #30, Cooke in, Collie for sheltered housing and Prior to go and try his luck as a goalkeeper in the football league

  • Comment number 34.

    Recovery from injuries, mental Strength and desire will be the key things in determining how far England go at the World Cup. Too often through both the ashes and the odi's England just gave up the ghost.

    If the majority of the key players recover from injury, England stop throwing away wickets/losing them in clumps. And play as though they really want it, I think England would be the team to beat at the world cup.

    Unfortunately everytime I see Strauss/Prior/Bell/Pietersen well the majority of the top order aside from Trott. I can't see them scoring big and quickly, just a quick 15-30 and out.

  • Comment number 35.

    The problem is that England went out to play cricket 3 months ago - they won an intensive Ashes series, then were made to play 7 ODIs - then they return home for a few days then out to play an ODI world cup, then they will be back in the new Season.

    Furthermore, it has recently been announced that we will be getting 3 Ashes series in near enough 4 years.


    In what other sport do we play against the same side 7 times in few weeks! Nonsense.

    I care about the Ashes, and I used to care about other cricket - but there is so much of it, I wonder what the point is. ODIs are not at threat from 20\20 but the greedy administrators.

    England is no longer a unifying team that club fans can enjoy once in a while - but a milked dry cow.

    We are world 20/20 champions - never have I felt such apathy to an international honour for our National team.

    I no longer care.

  • Comment number 36.

    Oliver (#24), the point you make about these players being "professional sportsmen who should not just switch off" is fair enough but lets take another - well worn - look at this tour: started in November with three 1st class warm up matches, then a five test series - an Ashes series no less - then 2 T20s and finally, the 'icing' on the cake, a 7 (SEVEN!) match ODI series. It is an absurd itinerary and to expect after all this cricket and all this time away from home that players can simply fall back on their 'professionalism' is just unfair and, I would argue, a trifle ridiculous.

    I accept that not all players have been involved in the whole tour, but the bulk of the people that are there as part of the set up, including back-room staff as well as players - don't underestimate their impact on the spirit of the team - would have been down under for a considerable period of time. They went down with the explicit intention of winning the urn. They did that in remarkable fashion but just because the scorelines were convincing, this does not mean there was a lack of focus or effort. I think the final result was evidence of the opposite. Players - professional or not - do not have infinite reserves of enthusiasm, professionalism, plain relish for the sport they play regardless of whether they're paid a million a game or nothing.

    To acheive the win sealed in Sydney in the manner they did was a remarkable effort. I doubt there was too much left in the tanks after that. The Ashes would always be the priority for this tour (and would come ahead of the World Cup as well) and, whilst we don't like to see England lose in this manner, I think pretty much every England fan would want it that way round.

    Ultimtately, the game has to change. I am no fan of T20, but I do feel it is more appropriate for the end of a tour then a 7 match ODI series. Thinking about it, I can't come up with any circumstances where a 7 match ODI series is appropriate. We're now going to head to a WC where after one month we will have done little more than send home the minnows. We'll then have another interminable month of waiting to see who wins a tournament that no-one will care about by the time the trophy is handed over. Did we not learn anything from the last WC? The game is becoming farcical.

  • Comment number 37.

    The scheduling of this tour has been absurd - no England players involved in both the test and one day series will be able to raise themselves to the same heights after those test performances.

    Plus after a three month trip they only have a FOUR DAY turnaround before heading off again for a month or so, then they get back in time to start training for the is not surprising they gave themselves some time off during the one day series!

    The point has already been made - a couple of T20 and three ODIs before the tests begin and the last match of a tour should be the last test match.

  • Comment number 38.

    Oliver your comments about the 3 forms of the game amaze me - in that case should we cancel XI a side football and just have 6-a-side?

    Cricket has traditions but should also appeal to the modern era. A balance of Test, T20 and to a lesser extent ODIs should be possible but everything conspires against it. The ICC, ECB & Media demands basically GREED just look at the IPL.

    SOME of the players benefit but ultimately the quality and longevity of the game suffers.

    ODI cricket is the staple diet of most club cricketers, until a time in the future when T20 takes over.

    Sorry Oliver not impressed this time.

  • Comment number 39.

    Interesting stuff chaps, have to agree with you all 7x 1 day games after a 5match test series and 2x 20/20 games was just stupid, while this was going on in Oz we had the joys of watching 3x test matches between SA and India, followed by 1x 20/20 (total exhibition match at a soccer ground and used as a goodbye to Ntini) then 5x 1 day games, it all ended a month ago. Now granted that us Saffers in all probability choke in the semis as per tradition but you could almost sense Graeme Smith and MS Dohni were licking their lips at the thought of getting some proper rest while two of their biggest rivals for the WC were simply beating each other into injuries.

    Both teams had pretty much 10days to two weeks of rest and family time before heading into training camps. Which sides schedule do you think the England and Australia teams would have preferred?

    Just as a thought on the cover for England, as much as it pains me to say this as we might loose them from the domestic game down here Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah have been playing rather well for the Dolphins and Cobras this season in the MTN40 and Pro20 competitions, they are fresh, in form, and tried and tested at International level, wouldn't be too bad an option to call them up in my opinion.....

  • Comment number 40.

    we won the ashes oneday cricket is fine but way down the order in comparison, quite daft having 7 oneday internationals just before weeks of them at the world cup especially as a large part of the squad played the gruelling ashes series cricket authorities put cash before the best interests of the game and the playershardly suprising players have broken down now the world cup winner will not necessarily contain fully fit best teams but the game is not always as predictable as england's winning streak ending a bit of rest they'll give it a good go DON'T PANICK!

  • Comment number 41.

    i do believe that the ODI performances were mental fatigue after the hug effort of winning the ashes (although that doesn't excuse the select few that didnt play in the ashes, after all Trott went from strength to strength) and the england players will appreciate having just a few days off before going to the world cup, and believe it or not would probably enjoy playing someone else other than Australia. 1/4 of a year is a long tour by anyones book.

  • Comment number 42.


  • Comment number 43.

    Does anyone remember last time at the twenty20 World Cup we were n a bit of a slump and look what happened there, its easy to gain momentum at a world cup, one or two wins and you are rolling. But England's flaws were too easy to see in Australia

  • Comment number 44.

    I think people look too deeply into our ODI failings. The 50 over game is largely dictated by having consistent, in-form boundary hitters, of which England currently have none (sometimes Pietersen & Morgan are in the groove, other times, like now, not), and having a couple of bowlers who can do serious damage on a regular basis, of which, England currently have none. So England are a 'nearly' or 'bits n pieces' team. In 20/20, the format we are current world champions, the batting is about chancing your arm, while in 50 overs matches that generally never works out. England should just rest most of the test players and play a few younger players and try to play entertaining cricket - end of story. The team needs to have quite a bit of batting depth and plenty of bowling options (as no England bowler can be relied upon to bowl 10 overs) and because of the squads ODI shortcomings.
    Something like;

    2.Davies (wk)
    6.Collingwood (c)

    *obviously Broad, Bresnan, Morgan would play if fit.

    At least this team has enough bowling options to get through 50 overs (9 people who can turn their arm over), so even if one or 2 bowlers are having an '8-an-over' shocker for 5 overs there is enough bowling cover to prevent the captain from having to bowl them for more than 5 overs of their planned 10.
    Then pray that the mixture of 20/20 style batsmen and Trott & Co can cobble together a decent total by swinging the bat with some conviction all the way down the order with some quick 20s and 30s and a rock at the other end (usually Trott). I'm not saying it's a winning formula but it's the best chance, realistically, of England making any progress in the World Cup.

  • Comment number 45.

    The fact that they only will only be back after 3 months away from home before going to India for the WC a few days later is just absurd.
    Shows just there is too much cricket. We are killing the product.
    I bet there is more England cricket games than football and rugby combined in an average year.

    An Ashes tour should consist of:
    - 3 x 20/20
    - 3 x 50 over
    - 5 x test matches

    Always shortest to longest.

  • Comment number 46.

    "Interesting, there seems to be a theme of "so what?" here. But these are professional sportsmen who should not just switch off after winning a Test series (OK, I know it's not just any Test series)."

    Perhaps they shouldn't, but it seems to be what happens with these long post-Tests ODI series, whoever lost the Tests claws back a little pride, and whoever won the Tests ends up looking pretty ragged.

    Juts a pointless money-making exercise.

  • Comment number 47.

    OK I got the 86/7 result wrong, shouldn't have relied on Ian Bothans biography I suppose.
    But proffessional sportsmen or not they are human.Just because you pay good money doesn't mean a good result.
    The ODI's went on far too long and did too much damage to the team.
    Money making is still more important than building a great team, and until this changes we are unlikely to become number 1.

  • Comment number 48.

    Couldn't agree more tinoflyer, the ODI game has been butchered by administrators through over kill. The world cup does not need to be such a long tournament. The tours do not need all of these ODI's slapped on the end of them.

    I so wish more effort would be put into domestic cricket, and getting the international players back playing domestically, with the international games treated less as "club sides" and more as special occasions.

    A strong domestic game is surely the most fruitful option for the future of the game, international matches take care of themselves.

  • Comment number 49.


    Thats the XI I'd pick for the world cup, considering the squad; thus leaving out: Collingwood, Treadwell, Wright and Broad.

  • Comment number 50.

    To be perfectly honest, the upcoming World Cup is a complete joke. The format will demean the game once again.

    The tournament is absurdly bloated to guarantee that India, the great money-spinners of world cricket, are not eliminated prematurely, as they were in the Caribbean last time, and to ensure that the coffers are filled with as much TV money as possible.

    England have as good a chance that anyone, once we make the quarter finals. However, our team is very flimsy and unbalanced, regardless of what the selectors believe.

    I like Yardy as a cricketer, but if any England fan is completely honest, we would all say the guy is not good enough to have as second spinner. The guy isn't even a spinner if truth be told. He is there to just dry up the run rate, and maybe take the odd wicket when opponents look to take control in the power play overs. This just demonstrates how low on numbers we are. Its just a shame Samit Patel couldn't show that he was even willing to shed a few pounds as I rate the guy as a bowler and lower order batsmen.

    If I was to chose a starting XI - as balanced as it can be....I would go for :-


    I know it is a known fact that in India it is almost compulsory to have two spinners, but for me, Bopara and Collingwood could slow down the run rate just as well with their slow-medium cutters. Along with the pace of Anderson, Shahzad, and Bresnan, with Swann providing the reliable spin option. Also if needs be, Pieterson is more than capable of bowling 5 overs. We then have 7 viable bowling options that offer control, pace, line and wicket taking ability.

    The batting lineup then offers balance all the way down. With Bell providing the elegance at the top of the order with Straussy; Pieterson the aggressor with Trott accumulating and occupying the crease; Bopara with his wristy strokeplay in the middle overs and the ability to hit sixes as well, along with Collingwood offering some stability(tongue in cheek); Prior can then come in at seven as the agressor and have the freedom to hit big runs down the order with Bresnan also capable with the bat offering balance to the complete starting XI.

  • Comment number 51.

    In agreement with Nrs 2., 6. and others the one day game is of nil importance to me, it´s the pornography of cricket.

  • Comment number 52.

    Sorry, I am ingnorant of Bopara's form - How is he doing right now??

  • Comment number 53.

    I seriously think that the ECB messed up. With the daunting Ashes tour, was there a particular need for a seven match series against the same opponent? The whole purpose of that ODI series with the Aussies, should have been to put some final touches on the sqaud combination. Instead, England now find themselves in deep concerns with most of the front line bowlers injured and the rest just plain tired. Aussies, on the other hand, are finding the momentum at the right time, and they would be a handful to beat.

  • Comment number 54.

    Fact is the Aussie tour was simply too long, and the players were demotivated by the end of it ... especially since the major objective - retaining the Ashes - had been consigned to history by mid-way through the ODIs.

    Injuries more often seem to happen when the mind is not properly on the job, and so it has been. And it's the injuries, not the loss of form, that is the greater worry now.

    I expect a better performance in India regardless ... but without Morgan, and with others playing with niggles, the edge will be missing and I can't see us winning. Blame the Downunder tour planners I say.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hmmm. Obviously I was writing my previous before Faisal Taquie's was posted! We're in agreement, mate.

  • Comment number 56.

    How about Alistair Cook giving them a motivational team talk!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    Bopara is well aware about Indian Playing conditions and he can play a crucial role

    If England have a fully fit Squad they have a real chance to win the world cup
    In Anderson, they have a good exponent of Reverse Swing which would be handy in the Sub-Continent, Swann is probably the best off spinner.
    England have a balanced Side. I hope England Manage to win the Worldcup

  • Comment number 58.

    Losing Morgan is a huge blow and I think blame can lie only with the ECB themselves. The workload of these players in Australia has been unbelievable and the injuries are clearly coming from a tour that has been too long. I have said before, as it used to be, the ODI series should be prior to the Test series as a warm up to the main event and certainly shouldn't be 7 matches long, 5 would be easily enough with a couple of 20/20 matches, even 3 wouldn't be too bad.

    We have suffered numerous injuries going in to the World Cup which could have a major adverse effect. I know we are quite strong depth wise but if we had a full strength side we would have a genuine chance of doing well. Hopefully we will have as many back as possible but our good ODI cricket has usually involved Morgan and in those particlar conditions you need hitters down the order as there is less pace in the pitches. Hopefully someone or a few players will stand up and be counted just like the Test series and we can carve a path to the latter stages. Could it be a last "hurrah" from Colly? Or, the irony could be, that one of our better suited players who should be in the squad anyway could really benefit, in Bopara.

    I don't know if we are allowed to tweak our squads now but I'd get rid of Wright in favour of Davies and play this team :-

    Strauss (c)
    Prior (wk)
    Yardy / Bresnan (depending on conditions)

    Bresnan / Yardy

  • Comment number 59.

    Everybodu is saying losing Morgan is a huge blow... odd isn't it, that actual present reality takes a back seat once a play has become a media darling. What has Morgan done on the tour of Australia at any point to suggest he's worthy of a place in the side anyway??!

    We need to look beyond the hype and critically assess performances and form. This was done for the 20/20 World Cup last year, and a side containing players that were widely slated on here and elsewhere as not being good enough (Lumb, Yardy, Kieswetter etc) won the tournament impressively.

    Look beyond the 'name' and pick on form.

  • Comment number 60.

    England will do well at the WC, chill out everyone!

  • Comment number 61.

    Should have had Cook in the squad and Bopara Get rid of Collingwood and Pieterson they are more concerned about playing for the IPL than giveing any sort of commitment to England.
    Total mismanagement of the ODI squad by England.Again.

  • Comment number 62.

    It wouldn't surprise me if Bopara is our best player in the world cup, he is probably the only England batsmen in the squad to have a double hundred in a 50 over match and hes style fits to the sub continent and should of been going ahead of Wright before Morgans injury, also remember a couple of months ago when cook was under pressure and look he won the player of the ashes for me Bopara will do the same and be the stand out player of the world cup. he also does well in 50 over world cups remember the game against sri lanka

  • Comment number 63.

    England have got a good chance to win the world cup. But I think one of the host countries will win the world cup. England is not the only the country will loads of injury problems. Australia and India also got some injury problems as well.

    I agree with some of the comments above that there should have been less ODI matches in the ODI series but both ECB and Cricket Australia agreed to have 7 ODI's because it will help both sides in the build-up to the world cup.

    Also its good the IPL 4 season starts after the world cup and not before the world cup. If the world cup happened after the IPL 4 season, some countries will probably have a lots more injuries.

  • Comment number 64.

    I agree with Strauss - the ODI's need to be on before the Test. The ECB had to agree to the 7 ODI's after making Australia hang around for the same number after the 20/20 World Cup (can anybody remember who won that) and 2009 Ashes.

  • Comment number 65.

    The World Cup is important!
    Of course The Ashes are important too. And to win The Ashes is the pinnacle of any English/Aussie cricketers' career.
    But The WC is right up there too! For too long we have failed in the one day format. The English team seem to shrug their shoulders time and again following on from yet another soft loss.
    Pulling on an England shirt in any sport, in any format should ensure the player gives his all to the cause. If he doesn't then he must shrug off the shirt and give it to someone who shares the passion of the fans.

  • Comment number 66.

    The two warm up matches at Fatullah should provide the England side sufficient momentum to take on the men in Orange here at the Jamatha in their first World Cup encounter. History shows the Dutch can never be taken lightly though. Best wishes to Strauss and his men.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho


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