England flying high

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,

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!

Other posts:
What do England need? Changes or something else?
England defy all odds to blast Windies in electrif...
Anderson, Collingwood axed, Wright, Tredwell, Trem...
My dream World Cup 2011

India's disastrous tour continues

Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , ,

England vs India, 2nd ODI played at the Rose Bowl, Southampton on 6 September, Tuesday
England made two changes, Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel came in for Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan (injured). Jonathan Trott was dropped because the game was reduced to 23 overs per side as rain delayed the start. The game began at 7 pm local time. It was pretty much a Twenty20 and England's side was well suited to it. England had 5 bowlers (Broad, Anderson, Dernbach, Swann and Bresnan) and 2 all-rounders (Bopara, Patel). None of the batsmen were reliable. The captain, Alastair Cook, doesn't even have a place in England's Twenty20 side. But Cook has always had the potential to be a good one-day and Twenty20 player.

Tuesday was no different to how this tour has been. India have been exposed. Such disastrous tours are rare for any team, and especially for a side like India. If not Tests, we expected more from India in the shorter formats at least. Indian fans are reading too much into the 1st one-day but a win can never be guaranteed. If the 2nd one-day would also be washed out after the Indian innings, I'm sure Indian fans would say the same. 187 is considered a pretty good score in Twenty20s but England had no trouble chasing it. Alastair Cook, who has been the run machine for a year, carried his form into the shorter format by finishing on 80*. Kieswetter provided a perfect start. One disappointment was Ian Bell's innings. His 25 off 16 were no doubt useful and elegant, his dismissal was a replay of most of his innings. How often have we seen Ian Bell getting caught at cover before 50? It's a classic Bell dismissal following the most stylish batting.

Nasser Hussain fancies Alastair Cook as captain in all three format and I am not completely against the idea. England seems to be doing well at the moment but the three captain theory is certainly a controversial one. Strauss has already retired from one-day and Twenty20s so the day when he quits Tests may not be far. Though given how good of a batsman he is, hopefully he continues for some time. It might seem like captaining all three sides will put too much pressure on young Cook's shoulder but let's not forget, whenever he has been handed responsibility, he has delivered. When his Test place was under threat, he scored more runs than anyone else in the Ashes. He has responded well to captaincy too. Stuart Broad is yet to convince us about his captaincy. If a team has the same captain in all formats, the captain has a bigger platform to practice his captaincy. Not all can handle this, but if someone can, he can learn more about captaincy and sooner than only a one-format captain would.

Other posts:
England's WC Campaign: Dramatic so far
Anderson, Collingwood axed, Wright, Tredwell, Trem...
Bangladesh seals emphatic win, England in dismay
Another jolt in English cricket: Kevin Pietersen o...