England continue to dominate a depleted India squad. A 4-0 whitewash in the Tests, victory in the one-off Twenty20 and now the hosts lead 2-0 in the one-day series, with one to play.
It doesn’t get much better than that. The fact England are using the limited-overs matches to blood emerging youngsters into the side, says a lot about the current regime and how they want to build a strong squad capable of world domination in all formats.
They are at the top in the longest format of the game but in the shorter aspects of cricket, England need to be a lot more consistent. Resting Kevin Pietersen, who has been rumoured to be considering retiring from one-day cricket, for a crucial series that can see England continue their rise up the rankings in the one-day arena, is testament to the players coming through the ranks.
That together with Eoin Morgan’s injury leaves a huge hole in England’s middle order. However, someone’s loss is another player’s gain. Step forward Ravi Bopara and Ben Stokes. The pair now have three more one-day matches to stamp their authority on the team.
Although Stokes is yet to bat, the experience he is attaining is vital and a reward for all his hard work on the county circuit with Durham. A fine start to the season saw him catch the eye of Andy Flower, with only a nasty finger injury stopping him entering the England setup earlier than now.
Those looking at free bets note how rain and England’s convincing victory in the first two Tests has seen the all-rounder’s progress halted but Stokes is seen as England’s next finisher. He could be the new Flintoff, the guy who comes in, clears the ropes and wins games of cricket for England. Even if his chances in this series are limited, he is sure to be used again in the future.
As for Bopara, many people have questioned his continued selection. The fact he has been given the chance to perform in the past and failed has seen him receive some criticism. Now the Essex batsman has the opportunity to come out from Morgan and Pietersen’s shadow and show the English faithful he has what it takes to be a success in international one-day cricket.
Bopara clearly has talent but he has to step up and perform sooner or later or he will end up on the scrapheap like previous players such as Owais Shah, who has slipped out of the pecking order. Bopara is clearly under pressure from Leicestershire’s James Taylor, who is inches away from another call up. Taylor, who was included in Flower’s youthful looking squad for the ODI with Ireland, has to be in the England management’s thoughts following his form for the England Lions, where he scored a 90 and two centuries in recent weeks.
The fact he was named Lions captain suggests England have faith in the 21-year-old and he has been unlucky to miss out on a call up for this series. There still maybe time if Flower decides to add another player to fill the void left by Irishman Morgan, who is to undergo surgery. Although the loss of Pietersen and Morgan weakens England’s team, younger players have the opportunity to take their chance and capitalise to prove there is plenty to look forward to in the future.
Placing a free bet on England to win the 2015 World Cup, might be a decent idea!
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My dream World Cup 2011
Ben Stokes, England cricket, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Others, Ravi Bopara