Where does English Cricket go from here?
There is a school of thought which says we should separate the ODI stuff from the Test scene but I disagree as the skills are basically the same, especially regarding batting where 4 an over is not uncommon in the longer form of the game.
Take KP as an example. He has developed a style of controlled aggression and refuses to let the bowlers dominate which has been pivotal in our Test successes, skills honed in the One Day Game.
Similarly Trescothick stepped up to the International stage via confident displays against the West Indies in the 2000 NatWest Series, and Collingwood’s doughty style was considered surplus to Test requirements for the first six years of his International Career, but this experience is integral to his success in recent Series.
There are very few Test players who are simply not One Day material, Hoggard possibly but Alistair Cook’s omission is baffling and Bell wasn’t given enough time to adapt. Incidentally, Butcher never played an ODI. Madness when you see some of those who have been capped and his free flowing style surely had a place in the side.
Thus the nucleus of the ODI side should be the same as the Test line up for the sake of cohesion and continuity.What Went Wrong?
We entered 2007 with no idea of the order, or how we were going to play. Loye came in as a pinch hitter but only lasted seven games, when all received wisdom suggests you can’t make a judgement about a player until at least twenty caps have been accrued.
Unprofessional, and bad planning by the Coach.
Thus we ended up with a total dog’s breakfast arrangement, and whilst others teams were piling into this Tournament’s poor attacks during the Power Plays, we stumbled to 9/0 off seven, putting me in mind of the 1979 World Cup Final where Boycott and Brearley crawled to 125/0 and it became impossible to up the momentum. The Proteas were 55/0 at the same stage in this game.
Fletcher preached caution and then launching in the last ten. By then the ball is soft, the pitch has become low and the field is out. Good call. Not.
The Joyce Question. See Loye. The boy didn’t have a cat in hells chance and possibly this has destroyed his self belief, but the fact that we didn’t have a settled side AT LEAST a year before the Tournament began beggars belief.
They need to play game after game after game together, so that all possible match time scenarios have been covered which gives the players confidence that they can cope in any given situation.
KP needs to bat at first drop. You need your best player to have maximum planned time at the crease. Common sense is not so common, it seems.
Bopara and Colly do the same job, but I believe that the Essex man has what it takes as an International batsman, the coaches can work on his medium stifling cutters, so therefore lets put the Durham man up the order and put Strauss in as a specialist finisher.
Bell…. A lot of talent, a good fielder and a fine team man. But not quite there in the ODI arena it would seem
Harmison and Hoggy have ruled themselves out, a pity but that’s life.
Both need to be bowling in the Championship and have a couple of hundred overs in the bank before the arrival of the Tourists, and the first Test next month.
As for the ODI side. Jones is a gimme, fitness provided, and should open with Broad, Fred and Plunkett at first change, with Panesar doing the spinning.
Any runs are a Brucie Bonus. They are there to take wickets, and if you need your number eight to score big runs, you may as well pack up and go home.
I would keep Nixon in the side for his leadership qualities and big hitting at seven.
Collingwood. Experience and a cool head, allied to quite confidence and the total respect of his peers. And I would like him to lead in both forms of the game as this splitting lark doesn’t work, never has and never will.
First choice is no longer available, and I said this in the Summer so it ain’t sentimentality for Bob Woolmer.
Now I would go for John Wright, former Coach of India. Anyone who has done THAT job for as long as he did and lived to tell the tale, is battle hardened and experienced in every sense. Knows the English scene through his time at Derby.
Second choice. John Bracewell, the former Gloucester Coach who revolutionised the way One Day Cricket is played in this country and knows the County game inside out. He had a long International career to boot.
Collingwood©, Cook, KP, Bopara, Flintoff, Strauss, Nixon+, S.P. Jones, Broad, Plunkett, Panesar.
You have Bell, Shah, Benning and Joyce as batting cover, plus Tremlett, Mahmood and Anderson for the bowling. The later two spray it about far too much and are too risky in tandem.
Stick with this line up and only make changes due to injury and exceptional form of others.
We have good players in this country, but inertia and hubris at the top have seen stagnation in both forms of the game.
Example. The persistence with Ashley Giles. I rest my case.