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    June 09, 2006

    Are England back to square one?

    As expected, Andrew Strauss was yesterday named captain for the one-dayers. The surprise inclusion was 32 year old all-rounder, Glen Chapple, who hasn't played international cricket. Besides Chapple, five other players would be making their one-day debuts: Tim Bresnan, James Dalrymple, Ed Joyce, Alex Loudon and Alastair Cook. This merely gives England yet another opportunity to bleat about being inexperienced, in case Sri Lanka win.

    A fairly telling stat about how unsettled England have been is that in their last 21 one-day internationals, i.e. from the start of last year's NatWest Series till the 7-game series against India, 25 players have played for England.

    When I analyzed the various players who turned out for England in those last 21 games, 16 out of those 25, played less than 10 games and 12 played less than 5. Now that's a startling indication of how unsettled the side has been. Various factors have resulted in why these numbers are as they are, including not being bothered about one-dayers, focussing on the Ashes, injuries etc. If England's management thought that using these many players would give them a good idea of who to pick and who to leave out, that thought can be perished. Among those who played were the likes of Shaun Udal, Matthew Hoggard, Darren Gough and Ian Bell, who are really unlikely to figure in England's long-term plans for one-day cricket, if there are any, that is! Then again, perhaps we ought not to be surprised if those folks are picked for the World Cup!

    Solanki, who featured regularly (albeit as a SuperSub) last year, hasn't been picked in this squad. He isn't injured. Can it be assumed that he's now out of favour? Matt Prior's role is still hard to define. He and Geraint Jones shouldn't be playing in the same game, since Prior is a wicket-keeper too. Will England be taking along two wicket-keepers to the 2007 World Cup?

    I am also unsure about whether Michael Vaughan's ordinary one-day record will be taken into account while deciding if he'll ever play one-dayers again. To give you an idea of how bad he is in the one-day game consider these numbers. In internationals, he averages 29, scores less than 25 runs every time he bats (1730 runs in 71 innings), has a strike rate of 69 and hasn't scored a single century, despite batting in the top 4 in 63 games. The unfortunate bit is that he isn't someone who murders attacks in domestic one-day cricket and can't translate those achievements in one-day internationals. His 'List-A' (non-international one-dayers) average is 30, scores 27 runs every time he bats and has made 3 centuries from 177 games. Should England still stick with him, just because he's their skipper?

    Andrew Strauss is the only one to have played all of England's last 21 one-dayers. Next are Paul Collingwood (18), Geraint Jones & Andrew Flintoff (16), Marcus Trescothick (15), Kevin Pietersen (13), Vikram Solanki & Matthew Prior (11) and Ian Blackwell (10).
    AJ Strauss21
    PD Collingwood18
    GO Jones16
    A Flintoff16
    ME Trescothick15
    KP Pietersen13
    VS Solanki11
    MJ Prior11
    ID Blackwell10
    LE Plunkett9
    MP Vaughan7
    SJ Harmison6
    JM Anderson6
    Kabir Ali4
    AF Giles4
    OA Shah3
    IR Bell3
    D Gough3
    SI Mahmood2
    SP Jones1
    SD Udal1
    MJ Hoggard1
    J Lewis1
    GJ Batty1
    CT Tremlett1
    It's all good focussing on the Ashes, which is most certainly the test series England ought to try to win. But it may not be a bad idea getting a decent side together to play in the World Cup, taking it a little more seriously than they've so far. Imagine putting in all this effort towards winning the Ashes and coming a cropper. Then they'd have neither the Ashes nor a World Cup!
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 6:58 PM |
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    7 sledge(s):

    Nice one Jagadish :-) Going by Fletcher's pronouncement in India that only 1 place is left undecided for his World Cup lineup, I'm guessing they're trying these multitude of players (batsmen, bowlers, allrounders, wktkeepers) for that one spot?

    Maybe he'll unfurl the playing XI during the WC....they'll be playing together for the first time :-)

    England ODI attempts are a big joke. And the extent to which they understand ODI cricket can be judged from the fact that one of the experts at TMS (I think it was Agnew) commented that England should get Panesar in their ODI team :-) (and this was even before he got that 20 odd runs in the last innings!)

    By Blogger worma (09-Jun-2006, 11:42:00 PM)  

    Morning Jagadish. I think you're wrong about Ian Bell, although the rest of it's mostly right. Despite an indifferent Test record - and appearing more suited to the longer game - he's actually been rather useful in ODIs. If we exclude Zimbabwe from the reckoning, he averages 35.25 from six innings, without a fifty. He's only once been dismissed for single figures, and he's batted as high as opening and as low as nine.

    Certainly that's a small sample, but given his age (24), his fielding (TMS have been bemoaning his absence from short-leg against Sri Lanka), and his bowling (military medium, but can slice through tailenders in domestic cricket and hold up an end in internationals), I'd say he's down as a useful squad member. Certainly a better option than the likes of Solanki or Prior.

    By Anonymous Geoff (10-Jun-2006, 11:39:00 AM)  

    Fantastic analysis Jag, as usual. I've maintained all along that England's one day side are nothing to write home about, and I'm always very pleased when some one far more intelligent then me takes out the time to actually prove that on paper.

    By Anonymous zainub (10-Jun-2006, 5:10:00 PM)  

    Zainub: they're seventh in the ICC ODI rankings. Their only notable series result of late was the draw with Australia, and before that the home win over India in a faintly ludicrous series. They play a lot less ODIs than msot of the major countries. I don't know how it's not already considered an established fact. Certainly most English supporters consider the ODI team as very much second to the Test side.

    By Anonymous Geoff (10-Jun-2006, 5:59:00 PM)  

    Nice analysis there.

    I think England is facing a dilemma with Vaughan like we had with Saurav. The good thing for Vaughan is that there is no real competitor for his spot in the line unlike it was in the case of SG.

    I believe the poms are obsessed with the ashes so much so that they don't give a damn about the WC.

    Reading the blog for the fist time.Nice one. Will come back for more.

    By Anonymous Dileep Vellodi (10-Jun-2006, 8:45:00 PM)  

    Hi Jagadish,

    It all makes a lot of sense, I think some of your numbers are out though. I'm pretty sure Collingwood hasn't missed an ODI in that time and I think Jones has only missed one, Flintoff two and Pietersen 3 or 4. Apart from that you are spot on!

    By Anonymous Laura (11-Jun-2006, 10:44:00 PM)  

    worma: I actually think the 'one place' Fletcher talked about was his own. Given the way England have performed in one-dayers, I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to quit as ODI coach and concentrated only on tests. Now that'd be interesting. Nice evolution this: First we had specialist one-day players (Bevan, Jadeja etc.), separate captains for one-dayers (Hollioake, Waugh, Vaughan, Ponting etc.) ... specialist one-day coaches would be novel :)

    geoff: If Bell's batted at just about every position, no one knows why he's in the team, correct?

    laura: You're right. Collingwood hasn't missed any and Jones has missed one. I may have missed out on including some games in my analysis.

    By Blogger Jagadish (13-Jun-2006, 9:07:00 PM)  

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