As Chris so elegantly described in his last post, England are somewhat riding the crest of a wave with our current ODI team’s performance, something that none of us thought we would be saying after the nadir of the 2015 World Cup and a million miles away from the “look at the data” comments post Bangladesh hiding. Hales, Roy, Root and Buttler have all stood up with the bat and can be counted amongst the top level of ODI batsmen and we also now have a battery of fast bowlers that can cause the opposition all sorts of problems on most pitches around the world. Credit where credit is due, Morgan, Bayliss, Farbrace and Director, England Cricket have woken up, smelt the coffee and have encouraged the England players to play attacking cricket without worrying about being dropped for playing what could be perceived as a reckless shot. This has led to a settled team playing very good white ball cricket; Yes there will be times when our batting collapses in a heap trying to be too adventurous but I’m sure most would be happy to accept this in the overall scheme of moving our white ball cricket forward.
Naturally, I am finally glad to be able to witness an England team playing this attacking style of cricket and looking to push the boundaries (whatever that means, it seems to be uttered in every post match interview), but what I am struggling to understand is why England haven’t rested Root or Moeen, who have played all formats all summer. Yes, I agree it’s good to have consistency of selection and results have shown that, but not if it burns out two important players in what is likely to be a packed and arduous winter. Surely it would have been good to have seen more of Dawson, Malan or Duckett so England can pick their best team for the Champions Trophy from a pool of 18-20 players rather than grind some of our better players into the ground and then hope and prey they don’t get injured; after all, we’re all too tiresomely aware of England’s bad habit of sticking with a certain formula and then throwing someone else into the team in a panic when someone loses form or gets injured just before a major tournament. C’est la vie, just my opinion anyway.
So from the positive to the slightly negative and without wanting to be churlish, Pakistan have looked like a side that either wishes it was back on the plane or perhaps more worryingly that they are setting out to play the type of outdated cricket that England were quite rightly criticised for during the Peter Moores reign. Scores of 350+ are now the norm rather than the exception, especially with pitches more akin to ‘bowlers graveyards’ being readily prepared all around the world, so Pakistan’s cautious approach to the first three ODI’s has been somewhat mystifying, though naturally their comedy fielding hasn’t exactly helped matters either. One could rightly point out that the lack of a substantial domestic competition in Pakistan has hindered them massively (despite the advent of the PSL), as it has enormously, but that isn’t much compensation to those fans that were looking forward to an even contest between the two teams. Unfortunately, I can only see another couple of easy wins for England in the next couple of games, which I hope doesn’t take the gloss off what was a very good Test series.
Anyway for those that want to comment on the 4th ODI, please do so below:
14 – 8 in the Director, Comma ‘Super Series’