Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 10, 2011

England vs Sri Lanka ODI Series – England Report Card

Captain Cook plotting a route to uncharted territory for Englishmen Down Under.

Alastair Cook (298 runs, average 75, strike rate 97) – Had three objectives when walking out for the first time as permanent England ODI captain: win the series; show he could develop a game to make use of powerplay overs; and forge yet another new opening partnership in English white ball cricket, this time with Craig Kieswetter, who was holding the gloves when the music stopped. He achieved all three to silence his and the selectors’ critics. In a curious series that was in doubt until the last few overs, despite only having one match that was genuinely tight, he marshalled his forces well, in the modern way – ie without much imagination, but without making too many mistakes. With bat in hand, he showed a fine array of strokes scoring 38 boundaries all round the ground in the five matches. Crucially in ODI cricket, he also played his part in three times getting his team to fifty without losing a wicket and in good time too. Job well done.

Craig Kieswetter (204 runs, av 54, sr 97; 3 catches, 4 stumpings) – Back in favour and back showing real potential in front of the stumps and room for improvement behind. Got four starts, but never scored more than his 72* in the Trent Bridge charge to the line, but his brief doesn’t prioritise scoring tons, so it’s unfair to focus too much on his scores. What will have pleased Andy Flower is the fact that he hit sixes in each of those innings in which he got starts, showing the power England so often lack. Sixes really matter in ODI cricket, harming a bowler’s morale and making the other five balls in the over “free” in the sense that the run-a-ball target is already achieved. The big test for Kieswetter will come soon against the canniest new ball bowler in ODI cricket – Zaheer Khan.

Jonathan Trott (136 runs, av 34, sr 77) – As so often, delivered most when it mattered most, anchoring England’s innings in the Old Trafford decider to secure his team the series and himself the Man of the Match award. Still hard to read – was he a bit jaded after so much international cricket or was he just in the bubble looking after his own game to the benefit of his team? The critics, so eager to get after him, would have been champing at the bit had he got out early in the last match, so maybe that little bit of personal pressure was what he needed.

KP (85 runs, av 21, sr 94) – So it’s KP who will bear the brunt of those who like to have  a pop at the South African born England middle order. Just when he appears to be regaining the Test mojo, it seems as elusive in ODIs as ever it has been. Just that bit too keen to bat like KP when it might be best simply to bat. It would be a huge call to drop him for the India ODIs, but he needs runs there or he might have to walk before he is pushed from the white ball game.

Eoin Morgan (158 runs, av 40, sr 111) – Vice-captain, but the most important man in the squad, saddled with the jobs of re-building after collapses, providing middle overs momentum and finishing (he is England’s Gambhir, Yuvraj and Dhoni). Not at his impish best, but England are in any match until he is out.

Ian Bell (81 runs, av 20, sr 69) – Was that really him? Hit three fours in the series, something he seems to do every other over in Test cricket. Is was him though, because the quizzical looks were back, as was the slightly strained body language and the, for want of a better word, unease. Few players, certainly few England players, have made Test batting look as easy as Ian Bell has over the last 18 months, so perhaps this series represented something of a revenge from Alastair Cook’s “Cricket Gods”.

Tim Bresnan (57 runs, av 14, sr 81; 8 wkts, av 29, econ 5.5) – Fit again, opened the bowling in all five matches, taking out the top three in the Sri Lankan order in the fifth and deciding match. Doesn’t catch the eye in an otherwise eye-catching England bowling unit, but delivers consistently – a captain’s dream and , in consequence, the heir to Angus Fraser.

Stuart Broad (15 runs, av 8, sr 63; 2 wkts, av 96, econ 5.7) – Though it’s sometimes said that his figures don’t reflect his impact on matches, that’s not the case in this series. Not happy with his game, the frustration boiled over at times and it was a kindness from the England selectors to find a reason to give him a spell away from the goldfish bowl of international cricket for the last ODI. After missing out on much of The Ashes glory, he is becoming a peripheral figure in the England set-up despite his T20 captaincy. It’s not the England way these days to drop players on form, but Broad would not be in anyone’s England First XI just now and might not be in many Second XIs either. Needs a lot of county cricket but will not get it.

Swanny (31 runs, av 31, sr 115; 8 wkts, av 21, econ 3.6) – Some of the world’s best players of spin were happy simply to play his overs out and attack the other bowlers, such is Swanny’s reputation and skills. Looks very much the part as the world’s leading spin bowler and might be even better if there was a proper spin option at the other end. Showed some of his old biffing skills, but gets so little time in the middle these days that it’s hard to expect much from a man who has passed fifty on 56 occasions in all forms of the game and has much to offer with the bat.

Jimmy Anderson (12 runs, av 12, sr 63; 9 wkts, av 22, econ 4.6) – For all the “attack leader” soundbites being a bit tedious, that is what he is, reveling in English conditions holding a new ball in his hand. Removed Dilshan, Jayawardene and Sangakkara in the First ODI to make the kind of statement he enjoys these days. May not score many runs with the bat, but his fielding must rank amongst the best in history from an opening bowler.

Jade Dernbach (8 runs, av 8, sr 73; 8 wkts, av 29, econ 5.5) – Is he a slow-medium bowler with a quicker ball or a fast medium bowler with a slower ball? No doubt Duncan Fletcher’s analysts are pouring over the video now. He is, irrefutably, a pick that few expected, but that worked well, as few, including me, expected. His variations with the ball are a little like Morgan’s with the bat, unsettling opponents and providing England’s traditionally formulaic cricket with some mystery. Cleaned up the last three Lankans in the Fourth ODI and the last two in the Fifth, both of which England won. Watching him last year at The Oval, you would never think that he would be playing for England while Chris Tremlett played for Surrey, but that’s what happened last week and who can argue with the result?

Samit Patel (8 runs, av 8, sr 57; 1 wkt, av 49, econ 4.9) – After a less than happy return to the colours in the T20 mauling at Bristol, he will have been pleased with the selectors’ show of faith which he repaid with a useful spell of bowling. Other ODI teams all seem to have a player of his kind (sometimes more than one) so England are right to keep him in the picture – especially with most televisions being widescreen. Okay – cheap shot, but an example of what Samit has to do to win over the sceptics.

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Responses

  1. Broad is cutting an interesting figure at present, after hearing about how important he is to the English squads, it is turning out that he really isn’t.

    I agree about Swanny, I like watching him bat, so I wish he could actually get some runs! He’s becoming my favourite English player as much for his charm and personality off-field as his bowling.

    Patel is worth sticking with as he has only just come back to the line-up. If you can give Luke Wright (and for that matter Ian Bell) endless chances for stuff all return, why not Patel who could prove very, very good when his confidence is built?

    • Yes Broad had better buck his ideas up and spend a bit less time with the marketing boys.

      Patel? Well I feel they gave Wright too many chances, but Bell is a different case because he is class. Patel looks a bit of a bits and pieces man I’m afraid.

  2. But Bell isn’t class in one day cricket. He’s played too many matches to say that.

    • I agree – but you can’t help thinking that it’s just round the corner – but it probably isn’t.


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