England v India, 1st ODI, Bristol

India hope format change revives fortunes

The Preview by Abhishek Purohit

August 24, 2014

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Dravid: Expect India to do a lot better in ODIs

Match facts

August 25, 2014
Start time 1030 local (0930 GMT)

Big Picture

A relentless examination that lasted five Tests and ended with three successive defeats is over, but some humiliating stats still follow India to the shorter format. They go into the ODI series against England having failed to win their last seven matches outside Asia.

The bowling not firing in those games was not a huge concern; that is the norm for India. The batting getting blown away in South Africa and failing to close out games in New Zealand was. India's batsmen regularly make up for the bowlers' shortcomings in home conditions. Unfortunately for them, the 2015 World Cup won't be played at home.

Starting from Bristol, India will want their batsmen to win a few games for them because after this series, it will be only a month to the World Cup by the time they play their next one outside Asia. Barring a couple of names in the top order, the core of the batting remains unchanged from the Tests. Which means personnel low on runs and down on confidence. The fresh arrivals - Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu - do not inspire much confidence as well.


The new stars: India's young group was glum after being handed runners-up medals, England v India, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day, August 17, 2014
India will want to forget these glum faces from the end of the Test series © AFP
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The pair of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja has been a constant for India for a while now, whether at home or away. MS Dhoni's lack of faith in his fast bowlers and over-rate concerns have contributed to that, but how often can the duo win you games in these conditions? That is another question for India to answer in the couple of series available to work out their World Cup combinations.

England's recent one-day form hasn't been exciting either. They went down to Australia both home and away, the latter a 1-4 rout. They did beat West Indies in Antigua but slipped against Sri Lanka at home. They fought in that series alright, coming back from 99 all out at Chester-le-Street to demolishing the visitors for 67, but their batsmen made few big scores, and will want to show greater urgency against India.

Like India, several members of England's Test squad feature in the one-day side, and unlike India, they will bring with themselves baggage of the right kind.

Form guide

England: LLWLW
India: WWWLL

Players to watch

Alex Hales has three centuries in his last three appearances for Nottinghamshire, to go with a century for England Lions against Sri Lanka A earlier this month. He has played 32 T20 internationals and is the only Englishman to make a hundred in the shortest format, but his rich domestic form could finally hand him that ODI debut.

Ajinkya Rahane has earned his place in the Test side with solid contributions in South Africa, New Zealand and England. ODIs have been a different story so far. He had one double-digit score in six innings in South Africa and New Zealand, although he made runs in Bangladesh after that. Runs in England could seal for him that middle-order spot at the World Cup.

Team news

Hales is expected to make his one-day debut as Alastair Cook's opening partner. Ian Bell is likely to drop down to No. 3 ahead of Gary Ballance for his one-day experience, while an allrounder will be required further down the order to make up for Ravi Bopara's bowling. Moeen Ali could also fill that role but, with the World Cup in mind, England may want to focus on their pace options to begin with which means Chris Woakes is likely. They will also look at how fit the players coming from the T20 finals are, and then decide the final XI.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Chris Woakes/Ben Stokes, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Chris Jordan, 9 James Tredwell, 10 James Anderson, 11 Harry Gurney

Suresh Raina was out of the ODI squad for a while, but returned as captain for the short tour to Bangladesh. He will likely slot in at No. 5. India do not have Varun Aaron's pace for the ODIs, but Umesh Yadav is a capable replacement on that front.

India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav

Pitch and conditions

Bristol's first ODI in more than four years may not happen at all, with 100% chances of rain - 50-75mm - throughout Monday, according to weather.com. There are no floodlights at the ground so light is likely to be an issue too. There is some green on the pitch but not much.

Stats and trivia

  • India have a 3-0 record at Bristol, having beaten Kenya, Sri Lanka and England once each

  • MS Dhoni is the only survivor from the India XI that played at Bristol in August 2007

  • The previous ODI at Bristol was in July 2010, when England lost to Bangladesh by five runs

Quotes

"We've got to remember they're world champions at 50 overs, so they obviously know what they're doing and will probably go into this as favourites. But if we play well, we're hard to beat in our conditions."
Alastair Cook is not taking India lightly despite thrashing them in the Test series.

"I think it has been relatively easy. The reason being newer generation of cricketers of course feel hurt and disappointed when they don't do well, but at the same time they realise the importance of leaving a tough series behind them and taking the learnings from it. That's what makes them positive. That's what helps them improve."
MS Dhoni throws light on the short transition between formats.

Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 25, 2014, 14:19 GMT)

@CodandChips -I never called Hales a slogger but he is a power hitter as I labelled him and Morgan and Jos. I've seen 2 sides to Root - one like you mentioned and one which laboured (along with Ballance) to a 40 at a SR in the low 60s vs Australia when we were chasing at over 6 an over. Agree re Lumb but unless they drop Bell or Cook he'll not get in the side and Bell is playing as fluently as anyone in the top order right now and I don't see why you have an issue with his inclusion on how he's approached the game in the few series.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 25, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

@ Srikumar Narayan on (August 25, 2014, 9:58 GMT) One reason - apart from those who brought tickets in advance - is that there was a T20 finals day on Saturday with I believe a reserve day for Sunday.

Another thing is that the weather forecast can change in 5 days and sometimes the predicted weather will come a day earlier and sometimes a day later. What happens if you reorganise the game for a day earlier and then the bad weather creeps up on us a day earlier? It would look particularly bad if the weather for the original day then turned out good

Posted by JG2704 on (August 25, 2014, 14:17 GMT)

@twistatwistaa on (August 25, 2014, 11:10 GMT) I actually will disagree. Bopara is a better SF player than Stokes - period. Stokes averages/SR as a batsman and ER as a bowler are abysmal. Re Hales - he has had a great season and may well be in the test reckoning soon but up to now others have done better in the CC. Eng shouldn't pick unsuitable players for unsuitable formats

Posted by JG2704 on (August 25, 2014, 14:17 GMT)

@Lin Comp - Sorry but there is just too much to do and it would be even more of a headache to organise. Also the weather forecast in the UK can change within a day or so. I mean for instance you could look at the forecast for Bristol 3 days before and it could be worse than the forecast for an alternative venue so then you move the venue. Then what happens if within those 3 days the forecast for the alternative venue gets worse and the forecast for Bristol gets better? And let's just say the live gate punter is willing to pay all the extra money for alternative accommodation , plus extra travel - then what happens if the game is then abandoned at the new venue. Looking at the forecast now (and I'm not sure how the whole day has been) it looks like most of the country would have been unable to stage it anyway. The reserve day may be workable but still means the travelling fans would have to shell out for an extra night's accommodation and maybe get more time off work...

Posted by CodandChips on (August 25, 2014, 13:02 GMT)

If Finn is firing I'd take him. Last year he was in the top 4 for both ODIs and T20Is and another strike bowler would be good. I also like Jordan in white-ball cricket.

Therefore at this moment in time my team for the world cup would be:1.Hales 2.Lumb/Bell 3.Root/Taylor 4.Morgan (C) 5.Buttler 6.Bopara 7.Jordan 8.Broad 9.Tredwell (Briggs) 10.Gurney 11.Anderson/Finn

And there you have a 15 man squad. Only no reserve keeper. Perhaps Morgan?

Posted by CodandChips on (August 25, 2014, 12:59 GMT)

@JG2704 Just been thinking more about the ODI team. You put Morgan at 6?!? Why not have him higher? I do think Buttler can bat 5 as he is much more than a slogger and has a List A average of 50. Where did he bat for Somerset to average this much?

So here is my top 6 again 1.Hales 2.Lumb/Bell 3.Root/Taylor 4.Morgan (C) 5.Buttler 6.Bopara

7 is the gamble. Do your go with a white-ball allrounder (not Stokes/Woakes/Ali but Willey or Smith) or a bowler who bats a bit (Jordan/Broad) or a batsman (someone destructive eg Roy, Trego). My preference would be a bowler as I think 5 bowlers is too risky and that there'd be enough batting anyway. Willey's bowling seems to have regressed since his injury and while I like Smith, I'd try them out in T20Is first.

Bowlers must include Anderson, 4th in ODI rankings, Broad, the standout player in the Ashes in Australia, Gurney our specialist.

Tredwell gets the role as spinner so it depends if you want backup. Briggs or Parry for me.

Posted by RayMcCooney on (August 25, 2014, 12:07 GMT)

With respect to reserve days, the entire England/India campaign has been compressed into a very short timeframe, leaving very little scope for rescheduling. It's easy to say matches like today's should be rescheduled, but tickets have been sold, people have travelled, accommodation has been booked, pitches have been planned and prepared and on top of that when the organisers are attempting to extract the maximum income from the maximum number of matches in the shortest of timescales there is very little flexibility.

Posted by CodandChips on (August 25, 2014, 11:49 GMT)

@JG2704 (third comment)

Re reserve days, I'm not so sure. It's annoying whenever matches area called off, especially when your ground doesn't get many compared to the likes of Lord's and the Oval. But I'm not so sure if it fits into the schedule because of the travelling required between matches. Often we see games played on a Friday then the Sunday. You can't have a reserve day on the Friday because of the travelling required.

Also not many fans will have planned for a reserve day. I remember the Lord's final in 2007. Hampshire vs Durham. Durham smashed our bowlers everywhere to score over 300 in 50 overs (back then it was an excellent score) before we were losing many wickets. The rain came to send the remainder into the reserve day. Unfortunately barely any Hants fans turned up (probably for the obvious reason, but some may have wanted to return but been unable to). Durham fans were unable to turn up probably because of all the traveling plans. I was young so don't know re refund

Posted by CodandChips on (August 25, 2014, 11:40 GMT)

@JG2704 (continued)

Hales is much more than a slogger. I'd back him to bat for a while scoring quickly. So he'd also add stability to the top order while scoring relatively quickly.

Root can score quickly. He started off his ODI career as a finisher, briefly averaging 50. I was at the Ageas Bowl when he scored 90 in that T20I when England scored over 200 chasing 240 odd thanks to Finch. But recently vs Sri Lanka he crossed the line between providing stability and stagnating the run rate.

Personally I like Root as a number 3. Remember that hundred in the West Indies?But I don't want him to be overworked like he was before he got injured.

I think Lumb was dropped unfairly from the ODI side. He showed he is much more than a slogger.

Bopara was dropped unfairly. His drop stunned me. He's a much improved batsman who is now finishing off victories. Had an excellent Blast. A good bowler.

So ideally perhaps 1.Hales 2.Lumb/Bell 3.Root/Taylor 4.Morgan (C) 5.Buttler 6.Bopara

Posted by CodandChips on (August 25, 2014, 11:31 GMT)

@JG2704 English fans are always calling for Morgan to bat higher and Buttler to bat higher. The reason being that our finishers always seem left with too much to do. I've never beef able to comprehend why Dhoni doesn't bat higher. It always seems to me that he gets the rest of the side out of jail.

Re the formation of the England side, I've been saying for a while that England should have tried something completely different for this series. Only then can we like if the current formula works.

My issue with Bell is that he used to bat through but too slowly and often seemed unable/reluctant to up his tempo even upon his return to the side following KP's retirement. Recently he has upped his tempo but doesn't score much more than 50. If Bell isn't thing to bat through why keep him in the side? Why not have a Lumb, Taylor, Root in the top 3 who can bat through and then accelerate at the end. Taylor in particular can be quite aggressive when he gets going.

(continued)

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