England v Australia, 1st ODI, Lord's

England start out on World Cup journey

George Dobell

June 28, 2012

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A

Andy Flower and Alastair Cook chat during England practice, Lord's, June 28, 2012
Andy Flower and Alastair Cook are hoping to mastermind England's success in a global one-day tournament © Getty Images

Whatever the hype and hysteria over the next couple of weeks, there be will no World Cups or Ashes urns won as England and Australia resume hostilities in the NatWest ODI series. Instead, these five games represent not a destination, but a step on the journey for both teams.

That does not render this series worthless. It will act as a barometer of each side's true position and provide an idea of how they must improve. It might also provide a vague guide to next year's ICC Champions Trophy. The fact that Lord's is expecting a capacity crowd of 30,000 underlines not only the draw that encounters between these two sides still has, but the draw of a wonderful, well-run ground. To regularly fill a stadium of this size in the current economic climate is a fine effort.

That England go into this series with an outside chance of becoming the No. 1-ranked ODI side - they will need to win 5-0 to do so - speaks volumes not just for their progress in recent times, but also for some anomalies within the ranking system. A team that has lost so comprehensively in both India (5-0 at the end of 2011) and Australia (6-1 after the 2010-11 Ashes series) will surely have to win a major global trophy to convince that they are more than a very good side in their own conditions.

That remains a key aim of this England side. Indeed, this series has been scheduled very much with a view to the World Cup, to be played in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, and the Champions Trophy, to be played in England next year. In return for this five-match series, England will have the chance to acclimatise with a five-match ODI series in Australia ahead of the World Cup, while these games should help both sides prepare for the Champions Trophy.

It was a point made by England captain, Alastair Cook, as he looked forward to the games. "The reason this series is in is because of the 2015 World Cup," Cook said. "We really want to have some warm-ups in Australia to get used to those conditions just before that World Cup. That makes sense for our preparation then, so obviously as a reciprocal thing they have to come here. As players we don't mind. It's going to be a brilliant, hopefully, ten days.

"We haven't won an ICC [one-day] trophy and we have a good chance next summer in our home conditions. That would suit us well. Clearly in a four year cycle you build to the World Cup but on the way you have to win as many games as you can. The Champions Trophy next year is half way to the World Cup and a good stepping stone."

England have a dismal record in the last five World Cups and, despite the recent success in the UAE, they also have a modest ODI record away from home. But, in their own conditions, they are dangerous and recent performances suggest they are heading in the right direction.

No other side is playing ODI cricket with the same methodology as England. While all other major sides have at least one explosive batsman at the top of the batting order, England have opted for batsmen of more solid, traditional style and a line-up that increasingly resembles their Test side. One of the few concessions they have made to 'specialist' limited-overs players comes with the selection of Craig Kieswetter as wicketkeeper. And it is his place that is, arguably, most at risk.

But just because no-one else is doing it does not make England's method wrong. Indeed, against two new white balls and a No. 1-rated ODI side boasting at least two high-quality fast bowlers, England may well be grateful for batsmen of the class of Ian Bell, Cook and Jonathan Trott at the top of the order.

It is worth remembering that England, too, would be playing quite differently had Kevin Pietersen not departed. But, just as Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss only came to form the captain/coach partnership that revived England's fortunes through the successful calamity that was the sacking of Pietersen and Peter Moores, so we may come to reflect in time that Pietersen's retirement proved to be a blessing in disguise. Bell, in particular, has been given a fresh chance to fulfil his undoubted potential in this format.

Cook said he was not surprised how quickly England had moved on from Pietersen. "It's a great sign of strength," he said. "It's an encouraging sign as a captain that we have a good squad of players, that if someone is no longer here we have got people who can come in and perform straight away.

"We are very much a developing one-day side and we're desperate to keep going up the rankings," Cook said. "I think we are progressing as a team. People are starting to feel comfortable in their roles in the set-up, but that doesn't count for anything when you walk out on the pitch.

"We've got a really good test of ourselves now. They've proven they are going to be a really tough and dangerous one-day side and a tough side to beat. We're got to have to be at our absolute best.

"Each international side has a couple of guys who can get it up to 90mph and these guys are now in a similar position to us in that they have eight or nine guys who can play in their fast bowling slots. They're in a position of strength just like we are."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TATTUs on (June 29, 2012, 17:50 GMT)


P.S:Caps where necessary.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 29, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

@Nadeem1976 on (June 28 2012, 21:32 PM GMT) Didn't one of those weak teams just win the Asia cup and the other one draw a series against the number one side? Don't worry it will probably all go wrong vs Aus and we'll go downhill from there

Posted by JG2704 on (June 29, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

@John Sunder on (June 28 2012, 18:39 PM GMT) PS I was so taken aback by your comments that I actually missed the bit about tantrums. Do you want to explain such incidents or are these - like your ICC theories - just in your head? Please publish

Posted by 5wombats on (June 29, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

@sanjaycrickfan on (June 28 2012, 20:27 PM GMT) - rubbish. Why have you brought india into this? A side like india ODI - who are completely incapable away from home should not be mentioned here. Nobody here cares about india.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 29, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

@Posted by on (June 29 2012, 09:43 AM GMT), what dont you understand? England get a 5 match ODI series in Jan/feb 2015 BEFORE the 2015 world cup, Australia get 5 ODI's 12 months ahead of the Champions Trophey in England, and a head of the 2013 Ashes, in order to give thier new bowlers some experience. In total England will play an ODI series in 2014 after the2013/14 Ashes, so in the space of 12-14 months england will likely play 10 games in Australia.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

"It was a point made by England captain, Alastair Cook, as he looked forward to the games. "The reason this series is in is because of the 2015 World Cup," Cook said. "We really want to have some warm-ups in Australia to get used to those conditions just before that World Cup. That makes sense for our preparation then, so obviously as a reciprocal thing they have to come here. As players we don't mind. It's going to be a brilliant, hopefully, ten days." Most erudute excuse I have heard for this money chasing effort! If ECB is serious about what Cook is cooking up then they shd find ways to play in Australia where the WC will be held not in an English summer!

It is disgusting that Tony Greig singles out BCCI as being after money when EVERY board is doing it and evry borad gets a share from the IPL riches.

Posted by jb633 on (June 29, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

@Nadeem, so Pak are a weak odi side. Therefore as they were the victors of the Asian cup should we assume that all the Asian sides are just rubbish. Sorry mate but your logic is false. Every side in world cricket is inconsitent at present. As the next world cup is played in Aus where the ball might get up above the knee roll, I fully expect India to be pummeled. Batsmen caught on the hook backing away to square leg, scared. India are garbage on any bouncy wicket, like Eng are on spinning one's. Unluckily for Inida they will be playing the next WC on bouncy tracks. Good luck Suresh Raina hahahah

Posted by RedRoseMan on (June 29, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

@Nadeem1976 - what a load of rubbish! Did you not read the article at all? Its whole flavour was about how England are rebuilding with an aim to being competitive at the 2015 WC, with next year's Champion's Trophy as a stepping stone along the way. England are a long way away from being a WC winning team at the moment - but the WC is also a long way away and with the current England management structure I wouldn't bet against them getting it right over that timescale.

I have serious doubts about whether England yet have the players in place to win a WC, but over three years they have the opportunity to develop a team and there are plenty of young players waiting in the wings to come in if the current team don't progress. Hales, Buttler, Taylor, Woakes, Stokes (to name but five) all show promise.

England are not claiming to be world champions - but they will have a plan to get there. Whether they will succeed is a different question - to win a WC takes luck as well as skill.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 29, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

@rahulcricket007 on (June 29 2012, 04:39 AM GMT) Where did Jimmy say he didn't want to play ODIs? I'm pretty sure I read an article on here saying that Jimmy was very disappointed not to be included on the OD tour of India. Also in our last home series vs India we won convincingly as we did in the last ODI series in UAE vs Pak so if we're not passionate enough we must have done something right. We know our failings but I'd say our players are still pretty passionate even if we're never good enough to be OD number 1

Posted by Sandeep.M.J.D on (June 29, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

What Worldcup you are talking about? LOL....

Posted by JG2704 on (June 29, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

@Mervo on (June 28 2012, 22:49 PM GMT) Which test series?

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (June 29, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

@jmcilhinney SL followed ENG in WC and AUS in the last ashes in Australia.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 29, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

@sifter132 on (June 28 2012, 21:23 PM GMT) - Mate , that is extremely honest of you but I'd say Aus do deserve to be number 1. The parallels are probably similar to Eng in tests in that a team who loses 3-0 to a 6th ranked side is not form of a deserving number 1 side but the nearest rivals are dropping tests/series and therefore not taking advantage

Posted by JG2704 on (June 29, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

@sanjaycrickfan on (June 28 2012, 20:27 PM GMT) It does seem odd but the ICC base their rankings on a 3 years cycle I believe so the 1st ODI series vs India which you are on about is void. The Australian 6-1 defeat and India WW were poor. Losing to Ireland and Bangladesh were poor although Bangladesh proved in the Asia cup that they are not too bad and in that same WC we drew with hosts/eventual winners India and beat current ranked number 2. Also we convincingly beat India at home last year and won 4-0 in UAE against Asia cup winners Pak. I don't realistically think we have much chance of winning 5-0 and will probably lose anyway but we are capable if not consistent

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 29, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

@rahulcricket007, yes I do, but we have a different perspectve on ODIs t places like india, they are a novelty like T20, but to win the WC like any tournament based competition you need to peak at the right time. England tend to peak too early or not soon enough....the WC may still be 3 years away (or rather 30 months), but to build a squad especially with depth and experience you need to start now, and that has been the problem in the past, where thinking was maybe 1 year ahead. IMHO there are maybe 5 places that are up for grabs at the moment, those being 2,4,5, and 6 in the batting and 1 in the bowling, with Bell, Bopara, Morgan, and Kieswetter needing to step up and perform, the one bowler that is not likley to be there is Swann as he will be 35/36 and either retired or in the process of cutting back his commitments.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Missing KP.............!!!!!!

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (June 29, 2012, 4:39 GMT)


Posted by rahulcricket007 on (June 29, 2012, 4:25 GMT)


Posted by joseyesu on (June 29, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

WC2015 is too far right now. May be talent serach could be a good option. Already ENG is playing as two teams for the ASIAN countries and the rest with Bouncy pitches such as Aus , Eng, SA. But the good thing is WC15 is in AUS and ENG. Need a pool of atleast 10 batsman and 10 bowlers and 3-4 wicket keepers. Otherwise like in WC11, injury to a key member(like Mathews) will spoil the mix up

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 29, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

@KURUWITA on (June 29 2012, 00:57 AM GMT), what happened to England in most of the games they played in the last WC? It was quite a rollercoaster ride and I haven't seen anyone claim that it was even a good performance, never mind great. Are you saying that that precludes them from ever getting any better? What happened to SL in the Asia Cup?

Posted by Sinhaya on (June 29, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

@yorkslanka, dont forget that West Indies drew with Australia 2-2 in the recent ODI series. Windies are a good ODI side.

Posted by FOTO on (June 29, 2012, 1:16 GMT)

And this BD beat England...wow... England will surely get revenge on us

Posted by amitgarg78 on (June 29, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

If the English bowling attack is as healthy in world cup as it is now, their chances wud be quite gud. Newzealand offers swing, Australia offers bounce and their batsman too are equipped to handle it. If however, their key bowlers are injured, there wud be no hope.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (June 29, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

What happenned to England in the last game in the World Cup 2011? Can somebody tell me?

Posted by Mervo on (June 28, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

So this is where we burn out Watson and Cummins ahead of the test series?

Posted by MysticMan on (June 28, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

If Pattinson and Cummins stay healthy for the entire series, Aussies would be hard to beat. Will be a good series to watch!

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (June 28, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

I think Series result will depnd on how well england bowlers contain aus batsmen. Anything above 250 runs by aus batsmen means very slim chance of eng while chasing. If aus is chasing they have enough fire power to chase down good target.

Posted by kunderanengineer on (June 28, 2012, 22:07 GMT)

@sifter132. Couldn't agree with you more. As a prime example just take a look at the Pakistan team that swept England in the UAE not so long ago and look at their pathetic display now in Sri lanka. Day and night. I think it would really be good for the game if some teams started to win a few matches away from home for a change (e.g. India in England or Australia and England in India). White washes are not what fans like me want to see. Maybe the Aussies and Saffers can pull it off this summer in England and at least be competitive. Ditto for England in India later this year. I don't know how the rating system works but I think away victories shoud be given a much bigger weight than wins in your own backyard.

Posted by yorkslanka on (June 28, 2012, 21:50 GMT)

England are getting better at odi cricket but they are foolish if they dont relaise there is a world of difference between playing WI and teams like Aus and SA..

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (June 28, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

people are moving forward and england is moving backward. They think that wining against week teams like WI and Pakistan will make their team strong enough to WC. Really england , where are your heads. England performance in last WC was patchetic and they have not introduced any new player at all after that and still claiming that they will win next WC in more difficult conditions. Really england . after losing KP the most destructive batsman in ODI and T2020 you have moved on that easily because you won a series against happless WI team. England management is still stuck in test cricket mode and time will tell that they will fail big time in ODI cricket in next WC. England needs to evolve with time. Too much defensive approach.

Posted by anuradha_d on (June 28, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

You know what.....eng may win the next w'cup.....because other nations are losing interest in it

Posted by sifter132 on (June 28, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

The rankings aren't flawed Sanjay...the TEAMS are flawed. All the teams in the world have lost series of some sort and hence there is no clear #1, or even a clear top 3-4. Australia is supposed to be #1, but as an Aussie I can tell you that I don't think they really deserve that ranking. It's just that no other teams are consistently good enough to knock them off.

Posted by Aubm on (June 28, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

Building up to the world cup??!!! It is more than 3 years away, the side will probably have at most half of the players playing in these matches by then, and the results of these games will have absolutely zero effect on things 3 years from now.

Posted by sanjaycrickfan on (June 28, 2012, 20:27 GMT)

A side like England which lost the last 10 ODI games in a row against India in India, lost to Australia 6-1 and also lost to Ireland and Bangladesh in the World Cup and didnt even make it to Semi final stage and still has a shot at becoming No.1 in ODI rankings shows how flawed the ranking system is.

Posted by landl47 on (June 28, 2012, 20:12 GMT)

England have been oretty successful in setting themselves goals and achieving them so far. There's a lot of talent in the system and with careful planning England will be a very good side in 2 1/2 years' time. @Ramprasath- if you'd said England will never win the T20 World Championship because England plays so little T20, you'd have a case. The only problem is, England are World T20 champions. Basing what this side can achieve on what sides in the past achieved is a huge mistake.

Posted by Long-Leg on (June 28, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

@John Sunder: I couldn't disagree more with your comments. 1) England play as many tests and other series away from home as they play at home. 2) Unless the weather intervenes, English pitches are nearly always prepared as good batting wickets. Not that our bowlers need any favours as they can take wickets anywhere. 3) England did not throw any tantrums on the slow turners of UAE or SL that I can recall. They got beat fair and square by Pakistan and drew with Sri Lanka. I cannot remember any dissent, or bad behaviour in the England camp at all.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 28, 2012, 19:52 GMT)

@John Sunder - what a load of rubbish. Since 2008/9 - if you include the tour of WI and India and go up to and including the recent WI tour of Eng , Eng have played the same amount of series at home as they have done away and have played 27 tests at home to 23 away. After SA it will be 30 at home but then after our next winter tours it will be pretty much level in tests played at home and away. During this period we have played SA ,Aus,Ind all away. In fact the only team we have not played away is NZ and for some reason we've not played them at home either. In fact if you want to look at teams playing more series at home look at the 2nd placed side. Maybe then you will in future research your topic more carefully before commenting . Please publish

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (June 28, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

England will win this series. We are stronger than we were in 2009 and Aus are weaker and Aus are playing out of season.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

The ICC has been too kind to ENG (By way of matches scheduled) in order to help them reach the pinnacle in Tests, they are playing series after series at home where the pitches are prepared for their own kind of bowlers, while they start throwing a tantrum about slow and turning wickets when they come to India/Pak/SL.

But I doubt this trick will help them against the present SA team or the AUS one day team.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

You can never go on to win the World Cup. You fail in the crucial moment just like South Africa.

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