Tuesday, 29 March 2011

What is England's cure?

So England have failed once again on the biggest stage in 50-over cricket. There will, no doubt, be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, lamenting the fact that the counties don't play any 50-over games, the players play too much, the tours are too long etc etc etc. I have already heard that "changes are needed" and that Michael Vaughan wants Stuart Broad to be Captain - that's a good idea, make a guy Captain that can't control his own behaviour on the pitch! Most worrying of all is the retort that England need to pick more "one-day specialists." For goodness sake, haven't we been here before?
I find this whole theory about "specialists" hard to take. Australia have tried to go down that route with their squad this past couple of years, and ended up with Cameron White in the middle order. I am firmly of the belief that good cricketers can play any form of the game. England have spent the last three months trying to find an opening batsman to partner Andrew Strauss. The fact is that they had the very man out in Australia, but sent him home before the shorter format stuff began - his name is Alastair Cook. No other country would have a guy making runs hand over fist in the way Cook did in The Ashes, only to discard him because of some perceived weakness in limited overs matches. Have you seen Cook's record in one day cricket for Essex? There is certainly nothing there to suggest that Pietersen, Prior or Bell are more suitable candidates for the role.
England have played in three World Cup Final's - 1979, 1987 and 1992. When you look at the make-up of those sides you notice that the same players were involved in Test and One-Day International cricket, all at the same time. The reason for this? They were the best players in the Country so they played cricket for England - it's not rocket science is it?
The counter argument is that the game has moved on since those days, but surely the fundamental principles of any game of cricket remain, don't they? There is still a place for people who play with a straight bat, orthodox strokes, good line and length with the ball - you don't see India and Sri Lanka doing too much cocking around with their team, and they are likely to play each other in the Final this weekend. Jonathan Trott has taken some criticism for not hitting enough boundaries, but is it not more important that at least one player bats through an innings, regardless of the form of the game? The fact is that, if one of your top 3 scores a century (or close to it), you will make a respectable total. England made a respectable total in the quarter-final, thanks to Trott, but the bowling was not good enough on the day.

Right, we've got that sorted so let's move on towards the County season...

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