England v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Edgbaston July 12, 2010

Strauss insists competition healthy


As ripostes go, England's response to their embarrassment at Bristol on Saturday was emphatic and to-the-point. A hefty total of 347 for 7, twin hundreds in an innings for the first time since 2007, and a record second-wicket stand of 250 all added up to the sort of thumping finale that was needed at the end of a puzzling eight-match campaign.

In the past fortnight, England overturned the mighty Australians with some of their best limited-overs cricket for a generation, only to lose their focus so badly in the middle few matches that they ended up surrendering their 100% record against the minnows of Bangladesh. It was a string of results that indicated that England are capable of becoming a formidable unit, but at the same time, it provided a salient reminder that they are a long way short of being the finished article just yet.

"We all felt we had a point to prove after what happened in Bristol, so we wanted to finish the series on a high and play like we had done recently," said Andrew Strauss, who led from the front with a career-best 154, much as he had done after another memorable English embarrassment - their 51-all-out debacle in Sabina Park two winters ago. "Certainly I felt we let ourselves down a bit, and I was very keen we came back strong in this game. It was a satisfying day and it was nice to win the series.

"Everyone felt disappointed about what had happened," he added. "But it was also about learning lessons and moving on and not dwelling on it, because though it was a poor performance, I truly believe it was an aberration. It's not something we've been doing too much lately. There are no excuses on our part, but we've got to strive to eradicate it."

While there is little point in reading too much into a match that never came close to being a contest, England did nevertheless finish the series with a few interesting permutations to consider in their one-day line-up. Though they went through the Australia series with the same 11 players, the clamour for selection has intensified since the Bangladeshis came back into town.

First it was Ian Bell, whose nerveless 84 not out steered England clear of trouble at Trent Bridge; now, with his foot injury pushing him to the sidelines, Jonathan Trott and Ravi Bopara have both re-emerged as contenders, alongside the spirited Ajmal Shahzad, whose aggressive efforts with the ball were everything that James Anderson's limp contributions had failed to be in six of the previous seven matches.

Though Strauss insisted that Anderson had been omitted as a matter of squad policy, rather than through any lack of form, he was unstinting in his praise for Shahzad, who might have claimed more than two wickets had it not been for a slight hamstring niggle. "I'm really impressed," he said. "He looks like a wicket-taking bowler, he brings the stumps into play, and it's a shame he picked up that injury today. He's another guy who's desperate to prove himself.

"Things have clouded over a little because these guys have come in and done so well," he added. "But it's great having a lot of guys competing for places. The likes of Belly, Trotty, Ravi and Ajmal are all saying this shouldn't be a closed shop, and moving forward, we need a squad of players because we can't just rely on the same eleven. We are going to need a squad at the World Cup, and it's a good thing we've got a lot of guys saying: 'I'm ready to be picked, I'm dying to be picked'. We're in a much better position at the end of the series than the start of it."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    I still think against good teams Luke Wright and Keiswetter as top 6 is a folly. English team has a long tail and that will get them in trouble in pressure cooker situations

  • Dominic on July 13, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Tigg, calling Broad the weaker bowler is only really justified by statistics - yes his test bowling average is still rather high, but he's still improving. He's no longer giving away anywhere near as many fours, and he's got an excellent cricket brain (witness the dismissal of Clarke in the recent one dayers where he bowled perfectly to bring into play the recent addition of Swann close in). It would be interesting to see if his test average would have been a lot better if the England management done the same with him as with Finn and let him concentrate solely on tests at the start of his career. I think part of Broad's problem in tests is trying to bowl in an ODI fashion when the basics don't deliver a quick wicket. I'd actually substitute Anderson from those four if it didn't look like it was going to swing beyond the first couple of overs.

  • Michael on July 13, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Though unlucky for KP then Bell, it has been good to see fringe players doing well, and as far as attitude goes Trott has done very well by scoring heavily twice in succession. It should never be enough to do well in one game only and then not really do anything. Bopara has a lot of talent; does he have the mind? He'd like us to love him,but he needs to perform again and again. Of the other questionable palces Yardy came out best, always tight with the ball. Wright has so much time on his side that when he comes good he will have years ahead,but at present he is less effective than Bopara as an allrounder maybe. Bresnan is not for me; Shazad showed me why in two games only. Could be very useful. Kieswetter is not the new Messiah,let it be said. I liked his keeping though. Davies? or back to Prior. Anderson should play but is he fit? Not enough bowling for him so far this year.

  • Oliver on July 13, 2010, 10:06 GMT

    @aab587: Simon Jones' international career is long since over due to constant ankle problems. He hasn't plaid international cricket for 5 years, and hasn't even played in the county game since 2008. Very sad - he was a fantastic bowler - but his body just can't handle bowling any more.

    I aggree with Tigg that Shazad is looking very promising, and would definitely like to see him replace Bresnan in the side, who just doesn't have what it takes to trouble the best batsmen as far as I can see. Broad should stay for me - his bowling has been steadily imroving, our recent test victories against quality opposition (SA and Aus) have been due to inspired Broad bowling spells, and he's been far and away our best and most reliable ODI seamer for some time. Bopara for Wright might be a good move - his bowling doesn't seem to be noticeably worse than Wright, and his batting has much more variety... he'd probably prove far more reliable.

  • Simon on July 13, 2010, 8:33 GMT

    Foster, Prior and Davies should be right back in the game after Kieswetters horrific form. His slogging is fine in T20 but he hasn't adapted his game for the longer short form.

    I'm also seriously impressed with Shahzad, he's the only bowler in the current setup that is bowling with real venom. I'd love to see a four man pace attack in tests with Jimmy, Shahzad, Broad and Finn. That gives you pace, swing, bounce and control. You could even forsee dropping Broad as the weaker bowler if an extra batsman is needed.

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    Stauss the hero was nearly 2 break sachins 200s record

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    Don't you think that the best person for Shahzad to replace would be Bresnan? Not Anderson!

  • ameer on July 13, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Why r they not giving a look inn to SIMON JONES he is even better reverse swing bowler n has proved his worth against Ausies as well

  • Clive on July 13, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Kieswetter has failed miserably in all eight of these games. You cannot just slog wildly through the line in 50-over cricket. I'd rather see Prior come in and bat at seven, or some other wicketkeeper-batsman tried.

  • Devinderpal Singh on July 12, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    @allblue: As much as I would love to see British Asian players being integrated into the team based on being superior than their counterparts rather than being without a doubt superior, which is not the case with other players, I can't envisage the ECB allowing the following statement of yours from occurring: "The England side in ten years will have many Asian names in the XI I'm sure, making the current glut of South African born players no more than a temporary phase." This is because of the implication that would be obviously clear, as if it wasn't clear enough with the South African qualified players. The average Joe couldn't distinguish Strauss from Swann, hence Strauss can be easily integrated, yet I doubt that a player like Loots Bosman, if he was available and better, would be taken by the ECB because of e.g. his accent. England are very far away from consistency in general, so their tours will be interesting, especially since India beat England 5:0 in the last ODI series.

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