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England one-day series ratings

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Kevin Howells | 10:50 UK time, Sunday, 5 April 2009

England's one-day series triumph will be devalued in some quarters as proving little when it should have been lost with two matches to go.

Fine, except England have also been honest about their success and aren't kidding themselves. Their appraisal seems to be they have good players who lack consistent performances but have showed some fight and spirit. There remains plenty to work with.

Here follows a lesson on my part in self-flagellation - my marks out of 10 for each player for the series working with a set of averages and performances gained in weather-affected matches.

Flintoff's superlative bowling masked some inconsistent England batting

What a good job he's done since taking over the national team in tatters. He shows intelligence, dignity and purpose in the role. Man of the series for an average of 51 built on two innings. A fighting century when the chips were down and a 79 when England were facing a disastrous end to a shocking winter.

All-round contributions from a reliable performer who uses every ounce of talent. If backs are up against the wall it's Collingwood you turn to, as you do when runs are being picked off too easily by the opposition.

Until the final match a series to forget. Personally and professionally a harrowing time by his own admission but he'll sort himself out. I have defended his right to think and feel whatever he wants but be more understanding over what he says and when he says it. Vital cog for the team and his skipper.

The key man for England this summer and the mark takes into account the fact he missed the first two matches. He's convinced and determined he can sort out the batting but his bowling is at its best. Taking 5-19 in the final match and most importantly removing Sarwan and Simmons was a good sight for England and he brings a buzz and confidence in the field. He may want to play in every game but the management must be smart about the way they use him.

Strauss gave Steve a mention after the series win for the effort he gave on a difficult tour. The one-day figures tell a frustrating story of conceding 139 runs from 25 overs but without a wicket. He faces a familar situation at the start of another English summer. Back to Durham to regain his rhythm and wickets. England had a need of him in the one- day squad but I wonder if a longer pre-season with Durham would be better suited with a view towards the Ashes. I continue to believe there is more to come from him.

The days of one step forward, two steps back are over for Jimmy. In a perfect world you'd want even more consistency. His recent Wisden accolade is reward for someone who proves he can listen, learn and keep getting better.

Another crucial component in England's future. Great pace and a menace. As well as talent, his maturity and responsibility have always stood out. My worry is he's crossing the temper line too often. Anger is good but it's not being channelled as it should. A bout of hands on hips and words with the umpires is more likely to end in fines rather than wickets at present and he must reverse that.

Happier to see him bat lower down the order as his adaptable skills can be utilised well here. A valuable contribution in the final match but despite a lot of hard work, the keeping remains under the spotlight. A dropped catch allowed Chanderpaul to go on to score a century in the second match. He's the man in possession but other candidates are in the wing waiting.

Given limited opportunity he wasn't able to make an impact as a late call-up. Showed some character in scoring runs in trying circumstances during the third match.

Proving more reliable as a control bowler to put a squeeze on outside the powerplays. A lot was made of the captain's contribution during the fourth one-day international almost overlooking Dimi with his 3-26. He can hit the ball along way and I'm looking forward to seeing it a bit more often for England.

As an opener he needs a big score. Vital runs in the crucial final match but he's capabale of better.

Looks more at ease in the one-day game at this level than Tests but shows vulnerability. Unable to repeat his Indian performances, his 62 in the opening match was a decent start but like Bopara he needs to step up his game.


  • Comment number 1.

    Steve Harmison 6 out 10 for 25 overs 0/139? A bit generous don't you think?

    This summer really is last chance saloon for Harmison.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think harmison,pietersen and shah all got generous marks. a 6 for harmsion without a wicket implies he was economical which he wasnt, kp got one score of 40+ and gets a 6?, the same goes for shah aswell. The rest are all pretty much spot on i know the windies arnt the greatest of opposition but there much better at odi cricket and i think we showed some good fight and also had that big chunk of luck what we needed.

  • Comment number 3.

    Does Harmison have incriminating photos of someone at the ECB?

    If not, how on earth has he managed to get a game (ODI, Test or Twenty20) for England in the last couple of years.
    Wake up everyone, when he was No.1 in the world, that was an exception to his normal, mediocre at best performances (just look at his year on year stats if you don't believe me ;)).
    He has not been fit to wear an England shirt for a while now.

    As for the rest of the squad, we have around half a team of high quality players, mixed in with some very average ones and even a couple who have no place at international level at all(Batty + Harmison).
    When will Rashid be given a chance?

  • Comment number 4.

    Can people stop acting like the Windies deserved to win the 1st match! They didn't! The match was finley poised when they decided to take the light despite it easily being light enough to continue batting (which they would have done had they been up on their maths) While they may have won it, another wicket would have all but killed that off, so to say Windies deserve to win is to show a crass misunderstanding of the game of cricket of the type that pundits should not be making!

    On the actual rating I think Flintoff would be my star man, we'd have lost the final game without him, and we lost every game he didn't play!

  • Comment number 5.

    I honestly think England deserved to win the Test series, and West Indies deserved to win the one-day series. But having said that, sport is not about moral victories - it's about getting positive results.

    What intrigues me though, is how far England remain behind the pace-setters in limited-overs cricket. Australia and South Africa are experimenting an awful lot at the moment, with young players like Wayne Parnell (a 19-year-old who dismissed four Aussies today) and Ben Laughlin. We always seem to prefer to look backwards, to players like Gareth Batty and Steve Harmison. It's not the answer.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well batty was only called up as emergency and will certainly not feature in future plans.
    Swanny would have played if was fit and is a definite for all forms from now on.

  • Comment number 7.

    My initial comment is that laughingdevil was correct, the Windies would have been hard pressed to win the game that certain pundits say they only lost through an arithmetic error. My main comment as a Yorkshireman is thank god we have now got a captain whose own form rises to match his position instead of deteriorating, although the latter situation does give certain writers the excuse to pontificate about the great burden of captaincy. Finally, yes I agree that Rashid should be given a chance but the English selectors are notoriously bad at giving young talent a chance. The only exceptions to this being Botham and Gower but these two only got their chance because of rebels who went to South Africa.

  • Comment number 8.

    Kevin Howells gives Stuart Broad just ONE more than Steve Harmison for the series. This is a joke, right??

    I think Kevin needs to check out this statistics page next time:;type=series

  • Comment number 9.

    A tad too generous to Pietersen who disrupted and destabilised the team and to Harmison who contributed precious little.

    As to Oliver Brett's comment - well whom are we looking forward to and who's to say that looking forward always means progress? The ECB is very good at commissioning reports which produce a step back rather than a step forward, hidden under the name of progress. I think of the sacking of Duncan Fletcher and the appointment of Peter Moores - a disaster in every respect. So going 'forward' (as they saw it) turned out to be a big mistake. The England football team have gone backwards in appointing an old-style disciplinarian in Fabio Capello - and it's proving to be the best thing they ever did.

  • Comment number 10.

    Kevin Howells CAN'T have watched any of the cricket.

    Harmison and Shah have been TOTALLY out of their depth at international level, as has Batty, and he gives the first two 6 out of ten, Batty 5, and Broad just 7 ???

    Trying watching it first Kevin, then you might be able to make serious comments rather than laughable ones!!

  • Comment number 11.

    A bit confused laughingdevil? You make a very valid point about England possibly deserving to win the first game more than most people have made out, but then go on to say that England lost every game that Flintoff didn't play in - as far as I can remember he didn't play in that first game that you refer to?
    Ultimately as Kevin says, whatever our perceptions of relative strength in various forms of the game, results are what history uses to judge. A win's a win and I'm just happy to see Flintoff overcoming the "doesn't get as many wickets as his bowling deserves" tag with a class fivefor.
    Excepting Batty, who'll never be in with a sniff if Swann's fit or Patel can manage to walk past a Greggs without stopping for a pastie, there's not much to argue about in this side - apart from the glaringly obvious nonsense over the gloveman. What does James Foster have to do? - a proper eccentric in the mould of Jack Russell, Alan Knott et al who ticks all the batting boxes as well as keeping to Kaneria without fault. Answers on a postcard please............?

  • Comment number 12.

    Let us face facts, England won two games which were drastically shortened and one because John Dyson lost his marbles. To give any England player more than 7 out of 10 is laughable when it is so platantly obvious that were are no more than a very ordinary side. Shah, Batty & Harmison would be lucky to get 3 out of 10. Most of the rest would hover around the 5 mark and I'd give Strauss & Anderson a 7 as the top performers. How you can give Flintoff 8 out of 10 for one decent performance is beyond me.
    And finally, you must be the only person, with half an inetrest, in world cricket that thinks Harmison is going to fire again. How many chances do you want to give him? He's well & truly finished and surely the selectors will not be considering him for anymore ODIs or the Ashes.

  • Comment number 13.

    On the contrary, I think Kevin's marks for Harmison show that he did watch the series, rather than just picking up the papers and looking at the figures, as most posters on here seem to have done.

    I watched almost the entire ODI series and thought Harmison bowled much better than his figures suggest. The guts he showed to come back from THAT over was great to see - I think we all expected him to fold after that but he didn't. Apart from that over, he went at less than 5 an over, which is pretty good in ODI cricket these days. He certainly deserved a few wickets as well, but those eager to criticise will of coure refuse to look further than the stats.

  • Comment number 14.

    Bit generous giving Batty a 5? He only played a couple of games and bowled rubbish in them.

  • Comment number 15.

    If we take it as given that 5 is average, 10 is outstanding and 0 is appalling how is it justified to give performers such as Harmison and Pieterson a 'better than average' score? Pieterson played a decent innings in the final match and is generally a fantastic player, but overall his series was not even average for a standard player let alone him.

    I just think that a lot of the marks are either too generous or too short-sighted. Even Strauss, a fair but not outstanding series as captain and 2 very good performances with the bat - out of five. To me, to give a player a 9 suggests sustained and consistent fantastic performance. Although he fully deserves his player of the series title, and was undoubtedly our finest player, to me that was only due to a lack of viable alternatives rather than an absoutely brilliant performance. If, for example, Bopara had scored 3 centuries (with 2 moderate failures) and had deserved an overall score of 9 would Strauss still have yielded a 9? Or would his performance have been put into context and given an 8?

    I just think that each performance should be rated on its merits and given an appropriate score, to which all of these are too high and makes England out to be a better team than they actually are. Apart from Flintoff in St. Lucia and Strauss in Guyana there were no brilliant performances and I don't think any other player would suggest he had performed any better than average - certaintly not Pieterson or Harmison by their own or anyone else's standards.

    I apologise for waffling.

  • Comment number 16.

    Mr Howells. you are a very generous man

    take 1 point maybe 2 off 'everybody' and it looks a bit more realistic.

    We made the West Indies look really good - a lot of focus when under pressure needed.

    looking foward to the summer, if the balance is right, its going to be close.

  • Comment number 17.

    flintoff cannot merit that high a score. he left a sweet taste in the mouth at the end of the final match and it lingers.

    if his batting is too be improved perhaps pressure should be removed. move him down the order because then it frankly doesn't matter if he scores low. get steve harmison out and push flintoff down, creating a middle order spot for samit patel. who cares if he's a bit tubby (look at ul Haq) as long as he produces the goods.


    That bats deep, bowls a lot with good fielders and order can be tinkered with to suit tempo required.

  • Comment number 18.

    How can Harmison be given a 6 and yet Prior only a 6 !! - Prior should be a 7 or even an 8 but at least more than Harmison who also dropped catches !

    Prior gives the team so much more - check the averages - 2nd in the Test matches and 2nd in the ODI's !

    ps - all the other wicket keepers have been tried and failed - Prior is a mile high better for England - simply look at the stats.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yes, maybe a couple of the player ratings were a little inflated and some were spot on. Strauss and Anderson, for example, definitely deserve their rating.
    However, I feel too much fuss is made about 50 over cricket and the fact the England have won very few of their Twenty20 matches. While Twenty20 is great for a crowd puller and is great to watch, it doesn't really offer anything to the game itself other than a bit more cash and getting the kids a little more interested and 50 over 1-dayers should be used as an arena for blooding younger players into international cricket to give them experience and a taste of what it's all about.
    My point is that it's Test cricket that really matters here and for me the other forms of cricket just don't matter as much. Yes, they can be good to watch and it's nice when we win but results and performances have no real bearing on the 5-day form and most effort should be put into getting to the top of the test rankings.

  • Comment number 20.

    Stuart Broad: "As well as talent, his maturity and responsibility have always stood out ... he's crossing the temper line too often." A bit of a contradiction there, Kevin, the mature and responsible keep their temper in check.

    "Anger is good ..." Wrong again, anger is always negative, and is never helpful in a sporting contest. Broad is talented and appealing, anger will weaken both aspects.

  • Comment number 21.

    I personally don't feel that there is too much wrong with our one day team. Perhaps Key in to open, moving Bopara to 4? & a more consistant quick than Harmison.

  • Comment number 22.

    How does a competent and talented batsmen like Matt Prior stand a chance when he doesn't know where he is going to bat? How should he prepare for a game when his position in the batting lineup is comprimised by the fitness of other players.
    He is a fantastic batsmen who should open the batting in ODI and T20 cricket, and should be batting at number 7 in Test Cricket. Cement his place in the side for years to come. ( so why call up Foster when Ambrose and Mustard are proven to be ample replacement ).

  • Comment number 23.

    In my humble opinion our teams should be:
    1. Strauss
    2. Prior
    3. Bopara
    4. Shah
    5. Pietersen
    6. Flintoff
    7. Collingwood
    8. Swann
    9. Broad

    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Shah
    4. Pietersen
    5. Collingwood
    6. Flintoff
    7. Prior
    8. Broad
    9. Anderson


  • Comment number 24.

    Seriously, Stuart Broad who is Englands MVP at 7???

  • Comment number 25.

    I wouldn't rate Flntorf at 8/10 i would put him as 5/10 because he is alright but his has lack 50's and 100's to me and he needs to score somer qouick both in IPL and International.


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