England the future
It seems a little odd to be conducting a postmortem before the last rights have been passed. But I thought I would jump the gun. England’s calamitous world cup showing is almost at an end. They may well yet go on a little longer in the competition but it is unlikely to end with the ultimate prize. The players and management have so far refused to blame the workload the team have undertaken over the past few months, having essentially been on the road non-stop since late October. But the fact that reference is being made to it in such regularity by members of the squad speaks a thousand words. Also having publicly stated that in future they will play shorter one day series point’s to one thing. Paul Collingwood said in an interview that playing the ashes followed by a world cup was much like back to back World championships. England have been unlucky to lose KP and Broad to injury, but their performances have been those of tired men. Giving off signals that they really don’t want to be there. So where do they go from here? Let’s be honest in the grand scheme of things ODI’s don’t actually mean that much to the fan’s, world cup and the oddly named Champion’s trophy aside. You ask any English cricket fan the results of the past 5 Ashes series and they will be able to real off scores key performances and moments they remember. Do the same with ODI’s and you are generally met with blank stares. I would like to see a revamping of the one day team in general. We have four years until the next one so ample time to get a good set of players together and give them time to develop and gain experience in the international arena. In an ideal world I would love to see the selectors name a 15-18 man elite squad and stick with those guy’s. In much the same way the Australian selectors did with the test squad in the mid 80′s. Cricket is a pressure game but being told that you are part of that squad for 4 years would help to reduce the pressure to perform from the outset. Who would be in this squad?
1 Alistair Cook. I would make Cook captain. He has been discarded from the limited overs game, despite having a good record, on the basis of him not scoring quickly enough. Cook is more than capable of batting the full 50 overs and getting hundreds in the process. If you have a guy like that in the side it allows the other batsmen to play more free and expansive roles around him
2 Steve Davies/ Craig Kieswetter. Both wicketkeeper batsmen who open the batting regularly in this format at county level. Davies is the better gloveman whereas Kieswetter is the more explosive with the bat.
3 Ian Bell. Bell is a class player, who has suffered from being shuffled around the batting order on an almost game by game basis. It is important that he is given a role preferably at 3 that he understands and can make his own.
4 Kevin Pieterson. The show pony of the team. But a man who is capable of playing the big shots and upping the run rate around the more circumspect members of the team
5 Eoin Morgan. England’s most consistent and effective one day batsmen over the past couple of years. He is inventive with his shot selection and can manipulate the field as a result of that.
6 James Taylor. A bit of bias from me here for the young Leicestershire lad. But believe me he is the future of English cricket. Processes all the talent and has the temperament to be successful at this level
7 Samit Patel. OK, England have wanted to pick Patel for several years now, but he has failed to meet the fitness goals they have set for him. I understand the frustrations and anger this has caused. But he is a highly talented individual who would be easier to monitor and manage amongst an elite squad.
8 Adil Rashid. Another player who has been on the fringes of the squad for a while. I feel he has suffered from the fact that because of a dearth of Leg spinners on the county circuit it has been difficult to find anyone who know’s how to best utilize or captain a leg spinner.
9 Tim Bresnan, Bres is a big hearted cricketer who has improved significantly with the ball over the past 18 months and is capable of bowling tight lines and causing problems for opposition batsmen.
10 Stuart Broad. Simply England;s best one day bowler.
11 Jimmy Anderson. Jimmy has looked physically shot through out the world cup. But has performed consistently well in ODI’s for the past 5 years
The other players I would include in this squad would be, Ravi Bopara, James Hildreth, Andrew Gale, Chris Woakes, Ajmal Shahzad and Steve Finn. That to me is the nucleus of a very good side who would grow together of a group. Of the current players that I’ve left out I feel I should explain my reasoning. Strauss and Collingwood will both be in their late 30′s by the time the next world cup arrives, it therefore seems pointless continuing with them at this stage, Greame Swann is a player I have a lot of time for but feel that he is better suited to test cricket. Jonathan Trott has a fantastic record in ODI’s, but I feel at times that his style of play put’s pressure on the guy at the other end.