England v India, 3rd ODI, Trent Bridge August 30, 2014

Cook a lead weight for England's World Cup chances

England's much-derided formula for one-day cricket is being further undermined by the form of their captain. Maybe it is time Alastair Cook decided to stand down
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Cook: Batsmen need to regain confidence

Sometimes the greatest act of leadership is knowing when to stand down. So, just as Nasser Hussain's selfless decision to retire from Test cricket in May 2004 - a weaker man might have allowed the prospect of a 100th Test cap to urge him into another series - helped set the foundations for England's Ashes success the following year, so the greatest contribution Alastair Cook could make to England's ODI plans would be step down from the captaincy now.

Defeat in this match was inevitable long before the end of the first innings. It was inevitable once England scored just one boundary between the fourth ball of the 18th over and the second of the 44th. It was inevitable once it became apparent that Trent Bridge had, once again, prepared a slow, turning wicket that did the home team no favours. And it was inevitable once an England team without a spinner considered first choice by their county's Championship side, lost six wickets for 122 runs against 30 overs of spin from India's bowlers.

It is not that their strategy is necessarily wrong. England showed in the run-up to the Champions Trophy that their much-derided batting method of preserving wickets and accelerating towards the end of the innings can work. They were No. 1 in the ODI rankings in 2012 and went within an ace of winning their first global ODI event last year.

And, for all the talk of picking younger, more aggressive players, the likes of James Vince, Alex Hales and James Taylor, who constituted part of the England Lions team in the recent tri-series tournament against their Sri Lanka and New Zealand counterparts, it is worth remembering that, in two of the four games they played, they were reduced to 43 for 4 and 48 for 4. They lost both as a consequence. Having at least one solid player in the top three makes sense for England.

The problem is more England's execution of their plan. If they are going to pursue a strategy based around one of the top three batting through their overs, one of the top three is going to have start doing that. In the absence of Jonathan Trott, who along with Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann, remains a huge loss to the ODI side, England have nobody doing the job nearly often enough. Trott, it might be noted, has scored two centuries and a half-century in his last five List A innings, and has recently been cleared by the England medical team as available for selection.

At present England have the worst of all worlds: batsmen who play at a slow rate and who fail to see the job through. They offer neither stability nor impetus and instead offer the foundations of their own defeat. It was not just that England scored too slowly in this match, they also lost all 10 of their wickets.

Specifically, Cook's poor form is hindering his team. Cook has been out of form for more than a year. It is 37 ODI innings and more than two years since he registered a century. He has made one half-century in his last 14 ODI innings and that, an 85-ball innings of 56 against Sri Lanka, did England few favours as they lost the series decider. Since that century in June 2012, Cook has averaged 32.48 at a strike-rate of 72.79. England have won 18 and lost 17 of them. That is not a small sample size.

While everyone accepts that players' form will fluctuate, this has been too long a slump to dismiss as an inevitable dip on a long journey. Several good top-order batsmen in county cricket would, if given enough opportunity, flourish occasionally at international level. The measure of success is to do it consistently and Cook simply cannot claim to have achieved that. He has been selected for his solidity, yet is batting with obvious fragility.

His batting in this match was painful. He edged frequently - twice on 5, once on 6, again on 13 and 17 and 18 and 28 - as well as playing and missing on 2, 7 and 41. In between, he timed the ball so poorly that you could imagine his bat sponsors imploring him to rip their stickers from his bat in case people thought they were to blame for the dead, metallic sound made each time he connected.

It is hard to deny the conclusion that younger men such as Gary Ballance, with a List A average of 52.52 and a strike rate of 89.48, or Taylor, average of 52.33 and strike rate of 83.21, are being kept out of the side by an inferior player. While such grim form can be more easily accommodated in the Test side - Cook's survival instinct remains a significant asset in the longest format - it cannot in the shorter.

Equally, while Cook's passion for the role of captain is admirable, desire and good intentions are not enough. Almost every England supporter inside Trent Bridge would love the opportunity to captain their country, it does not mean they are the right person for the job. Ian Bell or Eoin Morgan, while hardly in the most impressive form themselves, are perfectly acceptable options as replacement captain.

The management's loyalty to Cook is admirable, but it must not be used as an excuse for inaction. Part of the selectors' fear is that, if Cook steps down in this format, it may weaken his position in Tests. It is true, certainly, that Hussain and Andrew Strauss found that to be the case.

But, unless England really are prepared to sacrifice their ODI plans in the naïve belief it may help their Test form, unless their management team is too weak to make the strong decision, unless they are hoping that, by some miracle, it will all come right on the night and Cook can lead them to glory in the World Cup, they are just treading water. Cook's presence at the top of the order - at least a Cook as demonstrably out of form as this - is impeding their hopes of progress.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • beech78 on September 1, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Nice bandwagon going here, last couple of games the problems been the so called 'dynamic' middle order and terminally average all-rounders. Whats the alternative? Morgan? captain of the the poorest one-day side in county cricket. I'm sure in there own heads they have decent arguments for dropping Cook and Bell but really..... Next bandwagon please.

  • PeerieTrow on September 1, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    I've always been a strong advocate of having the same person as the test match and ODI captain. However, I've got to agree with George here that Cook is not suited to the role of ODI captain. I would go one step further and say he should no longer lead the test team. Whether or not he stays in the team as a batsman is a moot point; I don't believe he currently justifies his place and should be sent back to the counties to regroup. There is only so long a player can trade on past glory, and this is where I disagree with George on Morgan who for me should be out too. I would promote Bell to captain, bring in James Vince to play #1 to Hales at #2, and replace Morgan with 'Titch' Taylor at #3, Bell at #4 and Root #5. For me Stokes and Woakes should be dropped. I believe the mercurial Bopara deserves another run thereby leaving room for another nailed on bowler, most likely Broad on recovery but leaving room to experiment in the meantime.

  • balajik1968 on September 1, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    What is the alternative? To be fair to Cook, he is the product of a system which does not think too much of the limited overs format. This is strange, considering that England started this format. Actually for me the watershed year for England in ODI's is 1992. They lost their 3rd final in 5 World Cups, a remarkably consistent performance. From 1986 to 1992, they were arguably the best ODI team; a mistake by Gatting and an inspired Pakistan denied them a World Cup. Something seems to have gone out of them after that.

  • OhDearieMe on August 31, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta and @Cricfever_PM: I think you misunderstand our Viking brother, Hjaltibonhoga. Cricfever_PM was criticising the English mindset, the very mindset that gave us ODI and T20. It doesn't matter that they are currently rubbish at it, we enjoy those forms of the game because they were brave enough to make the change. For heaven's sake please don't corner the tiger!

  • Uticensis on August 31, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    Cook's batting is in poor shape, but (as non-English observers like Monga more rationally observe) England's starts are not a real issue; in fact, their average score through the first Powerplay overs is comparable with other leading countries recently. What drags England back, repeatedly, is losing wickets and momentum during the middle overs, especially v. spin, and the finger of blame here points squarely to the middle order. Root and Bell, part of this stuttering engine room, are not obviously better alternatives as captain than Cook, in ODIs any more than Tests (where Dobell eloquently pointed out their drawbacks). Bell is surely lucky to hold down a place at all - his recent run of starts belies a career-long inability to make game-changing scores (3 tons in 140+ games, vs 5 in 80+ for Cook). Even Morgan is looking poor right now. Surely we need to see Ali, Taylor and Ballance in the middle order soon.

  • on August 31, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    @Hjaltibonhoga on (August 31, 2014, 10:15 GMT):

    Parents, sometimes give their babies for adoption, when they find that they can't take good care of them. And also think, that the babies will be taken care of better by the adopted parents. That is what had happened to ODIs and T-20s.

  • Cricfever_PM on August 31, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    @Hjaltibonhoga:: I am not denying it that England have introduced either ODI or T20 format but their importance to ODI is not upto the mark, When you want to win the WC you have build the team for over the years and you have allow all the players to play both Test and ODI format, Cook made debut 8 years ago and still to play 100 ODIs, and this is the same case with everybody. The current team not looking to win the WC which is in due at Feb-March 2015. England yet to find partner for Cook at the top and there is no specialized spinner and their middle order looks vulnerable. It's Good for England to bring Trott, Ali, Bopara and bresnan and find place for them. Trott having good county season so for and it's time to call him to limited over format as we can't omit his success.

  • lancs-lion on August 31, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    Bringing Bresnan back for the T20 is a massive step backwards. Also, why pick Moin for the T20 but not the 50 over games? The whole one day side of things needs a complete re-think. If you are going to have 2 captains then surely give Cook a break, let him bat and give the one day captaincy to Morgan or Broad when he is fully fit. Confused.com

  • PeerieTrow on August 31, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    @Cricfever_PM: You say, "The reason for England's poor performance in ODI is not their players but their board and their people's mentality. You have to accept all the format of the game….. The day England players and their followers attitude changes that will be the day they will win the WC." You appear o be unaware that it was the English "attitude" to the game that is responsible for the existence of both the one day and T20 formats.

    The first ODI was played on 5 January 1971 between Australia and England at the MCG. The third test was abandoned due to rain and it was agreed that a one-off game consisting of 40 eight-ball overs per side would be played. ODI is born.

    T20 was originally introduced by the ECB in 2003 for professional competition in England and Wales. T20 is born.

  • on August 31, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    @ landl47 : Michael beven and dhoni come to my mind. Great at odis and below average at Test. Beven was actually mediocre at test

  • beech78 on September 1, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Nice bandwagon going here, last couple of games the problems been the so called 'dynamic' middle order and terminally average all-rounders. Whats the alternative? Morgan? captain of the the poorest one-day side in county cricket. I'm sure in there own heads they have decent arguments for dropping Cook and Bell but really..... Next bandwagon please.

  • PeerieTrow on September 1, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    I've always been a strong advocate of having the same person as the test match and ODI captain. However, I've got to agree with George here that Cook is not suited to the role of ODI captain. I would go one step further and say he should no longer lead the test team. Whether or not he stays in the team as a batsman is a moot point; I don't believe he currently justifies his place and should be sent back to the counties to regroup. There is only so long a player can trade on past glory, and this is where I disagree with George on Morgan who for me should be out too. I would promote Bell to captain, bring in James Vince to play #1 to Hales at #2, and replace Morgan with 'Titch' Taylor at #3, Bell at #4 and Root #5. For me Stokes and Woakes should be dropped. I believe the mercurial Bopara deserves another run thereby leaving room for another nailed on bowler, most likely Broad on recovery but leaving room to experiment in the meantime.

  • balajik1968 on September 1, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    What is the alternative? To be fair to Cook, he is the product of a system which does not think too much of the limited overs format. This is strange, considering that England started this format. Actually for me the watershed year for England in ODI's is 1992. They lost their 3rd final in 5 World Cups, a remarkably consistent performance. From 1986 to 1992, they were arguably the best ODI team; a mistake by Gatting and an inspired Pakistan denied them a World Cup. Something seems to have gone out of them after that.

  • OhDearieMe on August 31, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta and @Cricfever_PM: I think you misunderstand our Viking brother, Hjaltibonhoga. Cricfever_PM was criticising the English mindset, the very mindset that gave us ODI and T20. It doesn't matter that they are currently rubbish at it, we enjoy those forms of the game because they were brave enough to make the change. For heaven's sake please don't corner the tiger!

  • Uticensis on August 31, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    Cook's batting is in poor shape, but (as non-English observers like Monga more rationally observe) England's starts are not a real issue; in fact, their average score through the first Powerplay overs is comparable with other leading countries recently. What drags England back, repeatedly, is losing wickets and momentum during the middle overs, especially v. spin, and the finger of blame here points squarely to the middle order. Root and Bell, part of this stuttering engine room, are not obviously better alternatives as captain than Cook, in ODIs any more than Tests (where Dobell eloquently pointed out their drawbacks). Bell is surely lucky to hold down a place at all - his recent run of starts belies a career-long inability to make game-changing scores (3 tons in 140+ games, vs 5 in 80+ for Cook). Even Morgan is looking poor right now. Surely we need to see Ali, Taylor and Ballance in the middle order soon.

  • on August 31, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    @Hjaltibonhoga on (August 31, 2014, 10:15 GMT):

    Parents, sometimes give their babies for adoption, when they find that they can't take good care of them. And also think, that the babies will be taken care of better by the adopted parents. That is what had happened to ODIs and T-20s.

  • Cricfever_PM on August 31, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    @Hjaltibonhoga:: I am not denying it that England have introduced either ODI or T20 format but their importance to ODI is not upto the mark, When you want to win the WC you have build the team for over the years and you have allow all the players to play both Test and ODI format, Cook made debut 8 years ago and still to play 100 ODIs, and this is the same case with everybody. The current team not looking to win the WC which is in due at Feb-March 2015. England yet to find partner for Cook at the top and there is no specialized spinner and their middle order looks vulnerable. It's Good for England to bring Trott, Ali, Bopara and bresnan and find place for them. Trott having good county season so for and it's time to call him to limited over format as we can't omit his success.

  • lancs-lion on August 31, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    Bringing Bresnan back for the T20 is a massive step backwards. Also, why pick Moin for the T20 but not the 50 over games? The whole one day side of things needs a complete re-think. If you are going to have 2 captains then surely give Cook a break, let him bat and give the one day captaincy to Morgan or Broad when he is fully fit. Confused.com

  • PeerieTrow on August 31, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    @Cricfever_PM: You say, "The reason for England's poor performance in ODI is not their players but their board and their people's mentality. You have to accept all the format of the game….. The day England players and their followers attitude changes that will be the day they will win the WC." You appear o be unaware that it was the English "attitude" to the game that is responsible for the existence of both the one day and T20 formats.

    The first ODI was played on 5 January 1971 between Australia and England at the MCG. The third test was abandoned due to rain and it was agreed that a one-off game consisting of 40 eight-ball overs per side would be played. ODI is born.

    T20 was originally introduced by the ECB in 2003 for professional competition in England and Wales. T20 is born.

  • on August 31, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    @ landl47 : Michael beven and dhoni come to my mind. Great at odis and below average at Test. Beven was actually mediocre at test

  • on August 31, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    England do not, and never have, taken short form cricket seriously. Some of the players might, but the powers do not. This year is the first time in almost a decade that England have had a domestic 50 over competition. There is a whole generation of players who have never even played 50 over cricket... Not one single game. How are you supposed to be the best at a game you've never played? Spinners in England tend to be low arm dart throwers who give you at least one half volley or long hop an over. Anyone who does anything special with the ball has their skill coached out of them ASAP. League coaches are in constant fear of having bowlers called for throwing and therefore never allow doosra bowlers near their teams.

  • MasterBlaster100 on August 31, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    Jason Roy is a world star in waiting. Only the English would overlook him this long. Tim Bresnan has a rotten ODI record. His batting avg falls below 20, his economy balloons to 5.5 rpo consequently his bowling avg climbs over 35. As everyone picking teams heres mine Roy Hales Ballance Root Morgan Butler Dawson Woakes Broad Treadwell Anderson (Plunkett)

  • on August 31, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    The only stat that matters in reference to England and international 50 over cricket is this, they are the only team ever to reach three cricket world cup finals......and then lose every, single, one!!!!

    And landl47, short form cricket has "no depth".... it has more depth than cook's captaincy!!

  • JG2704 on August 31, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    The main point is as far as I'm concerned is that we have a captain of a side who rarely plays cricket in this format - let alone captains a side , so the only time he gets a feel for the format is when he plays in the internationals themselves. So (as I posted elsewhere) I'm wondering if we have a whole ODI side with no test players in it so that we can't worry about players being in test mode for ODIs? Maybe Swann and Collingwood involved - the former would then have his chance to prove a point

  • JG2704 on August 31, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    @landl47 on (August 31, 2014, 3:48 GMT) Ctd - re Hales - Not totally sure you can blame Cook. In the 1st ODI he is scoring 32 off 31 at one point and when he gets out he has scored 39 off 60. In the 2nd ODI he has scored 40 off 42 and then when he gets out he has scored 42 off 55. Is this a pattern or just coincidence. Is the formula regimented in that once the PP overs are out the way he is to rein it in rather than keep it going/up the ante ... ? So I'm wondering if it is a mindset based on a plan or a technical deficiency?

  • JG2704 on August 31, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    @landl47 on (August 31, 2014, 3:48 GMT) You say about Ballance - and maybe you think I have an anti Ballance stance - thumping the ball around etc but the truth is that this season he has played one 50 over game which he scored 61 (good) at a SR of less than 70 (not good). I would suggest that that scoring 60 at a SR of 70 is liable to do the side more harm than good if chasing anything around the 300 mark. The one thing I have with Taylor is that he tends to build an inns and if he gets out earlier - even in the 50s/60s - his SR could be damaging. Having said that he has an ave of 82.5 at an SR of around 95. Maybe I'm just a little put off by his (literal) stature

  • JG2704 on August 31, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    @Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 30, 2014, 23:38 GMT) Both are the solutions. Cook brings the mindset with him from the test arena. It has worked well at times in test cricket but even then it has been shown up at times. But you're definitely right about the mindset. In Buttler we have (maybe had?) one of the most innovative and dangerous batsmen in the world and now he has started playing restrictively and he becomes a fraction of the player

    @thefountain on (August 31, 2014, 1:05 GMT) KP is yesterday's man and doesn't have/use the array of shots that he used to. I can see arguments for Bell to go but right now he is likely to score more runs and at a greater SR

  • WhoCaresAboutIPL on August 31, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    landl47 04:12 is completely correct. Unfortunately for many, especially in Asia, amongst local fans in England anything other than 5-day Test cricket is a diversion mainly put there to make money for the authorities and justify television rights. High ranking in Test cricket counts far more than World Cup success. That said there is a great deal of truth in what others say, especially regarding the Chef. However one issue is how or why a slow turner was provided - twice in a row, Trent Bridge, once a good cricket wicket has disappointed. Those saying that "300 is par" have little understanding of the English climate in late August / September. Typically there is still heavy dew until 09:30, so the two ball / damp conditions will make 270 a winning score far more often that not.

  • Cricfever_PM on August 31, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    England should bring Trott to ODI and get Ali, Bopara and Bresnan as well. ODI means you have to play with finest batsmen not the under quality all rounders. I still don't understand the role of Stokes and Wokes. The best team for ODI for England will be :: Cook(c), Hales/Root*, Trott, Bell, Root, Morgan/Bopara*, Buttler, Mondy/Tredwell, Broad, Bresnan and Anderson.

    *If Hales fails put Root as Opener and Bring Bopara or Ali at middle but the role of Trott as experienced player can't be omitted and don't know when ECB will learn it.

  • Cricfever_PM on August 31, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    The reason for England's poor performance in ODI is not their players but their board and their people's mentality. You have to accept all the format of the game and gives importance to it but England teams attitude towards Test cricket kills so many limited over talents, after all playing cricket for over 100 years there is no body to represent England for 200+ ODI's and there is nobody to score 5k+ runs except Collingwood which was just 5k, but test side also have the equal failure as there is nobody to score 10k runs or 30+ centuries. The day England players and their followers attitude changes that will be the day they will win the WC.

  • St.John on August 31, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    Swann was absolutely spot on about the England ODI team and the continuous Micawber-like hope that if one chugs along at 4 + runs an over, the last ten overs will go for a run rate of 6 or 7. Cook and Bell especially just can't score beyond 5 an over. Jos Buttler and some of the new batters have the right ideas but are uninspired by the captain (Cook) and (Test) batsmen Bell. A dynamic new approach is needed. It took heaps of courage for Swann to speak out against his best mate Cook…Most people genuinely like Cook and I suppose even Bell, but I'm guessing they would prefer the duo to play only tests.

  • HonestWord on August 31, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    India played badly in the tests and lost badly. Now, in the shorter form of the game, India are returning the favor with pretty much the same set of players. I would like to see some acceptance of the fact that, right now in ODIs this India side is far superior to England. Instead, we are seeing comments that Test cricket is the more superior and ODIs are not, that the English should forget this series and plan for WC and so on. Expected, but petty and lame. While all accept that Test cricket is the ultimate challenge, you never heard the legends and greats belittle ODIs. I would expect Vaughn and Swann to do it...but not a Lara or Ponting or KP or Tendulkar or Dravid. To a professional representing his country, all forms are important just because of these two reasons - he is a professional and represents his country. Now, dont talk about England having to plan for only SA and Oz bcos there are more teams playing better ODI cricket than England and the list includes India as well.

  • Clyde on August 31, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    England is I think truly seeking to form a world-beating cricket team. Unless the word 'Test' of cricket is abandoned, they are doing the right thing. I don't see anyone, in any field, defying the English language. The 'England team' is the England team. I would be surprised if England as the national team (no rotation) won the World Cup as well. It would be a big achievement for a national Test team to win at ODIs and I think England is actually aiming this high. The crucial extension of this idea is that because ODI cricket can damage the standing of the likes of Cook, who still has an excellent Test average, it can damage Test cricket. That is to say, while 'Test' means Test of cricket, ODIs damage cricket, unless the real Test is the ODI and and the five-day international form becomes a rarely performed piece of folklore.

  • ahad555 on August 31, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    cook should be drop from the oddi squad and captain should be ian bell or morgan. if england wabt ro win world cup

  • Replicant on August 31, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    @ ProudPom: Sure 'Test Cricket' is the ultimate in testing patience and skill of the batsmen but I personally think it's pretty boring to watch! It's alright when bowlers are getting wickets or the batsmen are scoring quick runs but otherwise, hell I can't sit through a whole session of test cricket. I just watch the highlights when a test match is being played. I usually prefer ODIs and I guess that is also the preferred choice of all new gen. cricket fans.

  • on August 31, 2014, 4:40 GMT

    better England play this eleven in next matches- cook, hales, ballance, root, Morgan, butler, moeen, woakes, tredwell, finn, Anderson..

  • landl47 on August 31, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    Sorry, Cpt.Meanster, but I (and most others outside the subcontinent) don't agree with you. Short-format cricket is fun to watch when played well, but is lacking in all the qualities that make test cricket one of the most challenging games on earth. Technique, concentration, strategy, stamina, courage, discipline- all much less in ODIs than tests and almost entirely absent in T20s.

    Test cricket is fine wine. Short-format cricket is soda-pop; pleasant on a Summer's day, but no depth. Don't believe me? Show me a single list of all-time great players which contains the name of a player who was great at short-format cricket but mediocre at tests.

  • landl47 on August 31, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    The problem with Cook is that his ceiling is so low. If he plays really well his strike rate is 80. If he plays moderately well, as he did today, his strike rate is 67. If he plays poorly.....

    I'm convinced that Hales got out today because Cook was just not scoring fast enough to allow him to pace his innings properly. If Hales were batting with someone scoring equally fast, then the synergy of the two of them would take the pressure off both. Hales and Taylor have shared a number of big partnerships recently in which that was quite apparent.

    England are playing these ODIs as though they are mini test matches. They aren't; it's a different form of cricket these days. Swann gets it; Cook and the England selectors don't.

  • landl47 on August 31, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    Two games into the series and England are making Swann look like a genius. There are a dozen or so ODIs before the WC. England has to decide now whether to take a side which has no hope of succeeding or to change direction.

    Forget this game and this series. Look at SA v Australia. In their recent match, Australia scored 327, which SA knocked off without much trouble. That's the standard for the WC. Now ask yourself: is this England side capable of scoring 327 against the SA attack? Is Cook's England capable of chasing 327 against the Australians? If you think the answer is no and no, then there must be change.

    There are England players who could do it. Roy has been hammering attacks all summer. James Taylor, especially when batting with Hales, has scored both fast and big. Ballance has been thumping the ball around.

    If England's XI for the WC was Roy, Hales, Ballance, Taylor, Root, Bopara, Buttler, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Anderson then it MIGHT win. The current England side won't.

  • Sexysteven on August 31, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Cook shouldn't be captain in any format but now his form suggests he should only play test cricket and let some younger and aggressive players come into the odis Vince n Taylor need to be given ago at some point let's face it they couldn't do any worst then this current crop even Morgans place is in danger his form is not good they need to sort there team out cos at this rate they won't get very far at the wc I think I would go with hales Vince bell Taylor root buttler woakes plunkett tredwell Anderson gurney and I guess bell would have to be captain trial him and see how he goes

  • HDG1978 on August 31, 2014, 2:16 GMT

    I completely agree with Proudpom. England's focus is and seems has always been Test cricket as he says the money in England is in that format. That actually is good for Test cricket. I am a huge fan of Test cricket and love watching Tests especially in Eng and Oz. But India's focus is on ODI and T20 cricket thanks to the IPL and the money involved therein. India won the CT2013 in England and ended runner-up in the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh. Test cricket in India has suffered thanks to the people in charge and with Dhoni around, it will be foolhardy to expect a quick turn around in India's Test fortunes, especially outside the subcontinent, till he remains the captain. It seems to be a similar case with England's one-day fortunes and that makes me feel, England, unless there is a change of strategy and personnel, have no real chance of winning the 2015 WC.

  • Wacco on August 31, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    @Cpt. Mean......, a cricketer's ultimate test is being successful in test matches. Whatever you do in other forms does not match. Ask any player, he will tell you that. That is why Afganistan and HongKong get a chance to play in those formats as Test matches are considered more difficult format technically. Indian players are exposed in tests specifically as they lack endurance and mental strength to implement their skills. Thats why you also dont do well in other sports!!

  • thefountain on August 31, 2014, 1:05 GMT

    I want England to win a World Cup - you aren't going to do with with Cook, Bell, Ballance. It has to be KP, J.Roy, J.Vince, Buttler, A.Hales. Where are all the hitters and the players the rest of the world will fear? I can assure you Australia and NZ will not fear the current England batting lineup!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on August 30, 2014, 23:38 GMT

    Replacing Cook isn't the solution. Change in mindset is the solution. If Ashes is the be all and end all of cricket in England, then don't expect results any different from what you are currently witnessing. On the other hand, India is a decent test team, an excellent ODI Team and a very good t20 team. All in the mindset. There, you have it.

  • ruester on August 30, 2014, 23:38 GMT

    Well said as usual George, I'm so glad you as a journalist are brave enough to say what the majority of England supporters feel. It looks like England are going to lose their fifth series out of six in ODI's! This in the build up to the World Cup we have never won. Cook has been the captain and opening batsman, he is the main person who sets the tone for the entire side in his two roles. I would like to know how a captain who loses to consistently in a format can keep his job. I would also like to know how a batsman who has been in terrible form and has never been seen by England supporters as an ODI player is STILL in the side? watching yesterday I realised how much the line up was missing KP, he could of opened or played in the middle order, his experience and ability to play spin was sadly lacking. I would love to see a poll on who England supporters would rather have opening for England. Cook & Hales or KP & Hales, I'm sure the results would make Depressing reading for Cook.

  • Nutcutlet on August 30, 2014, 22:56 GMT

    IMO, England's most successful ODI captain was Adam Holliaoke, albeit briefly, his inexperienced side lifting the Champions Trophy in Sharjah in 1999 (thanks, stats guru!). He was a dynamic leader, did the tough stuff himself (like death bowling) was fearless and inventive. In other words AH was an inspirational & natural captain. Imagine him skippering the current England side! He would have tried everything and anything to unsettle the Indian bats and he would not have countenanced the meek subsidence of Eng's major batting. He would have ensured that he was given players who, above all else, were up for the fight. And with Adam at the helm, fight they would. A captain's characteristics are so often reflected in his team, whether uncertainty and introspection (Cook) or postivity & fearlessness (Angelo Mathews or Brendon McCullum). Cook isn't the right man to lead England in any format - and although he's got away with a lucky reprieve in TC, his shortcomings in SF are stark.

  • Chayco on August 30, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    Gotta say Morgan is not good enough to be in the team at present, let alone captain. Pick best 11 then pick captain from that. Also good point made by George - don't forget trott.

    Cook, bell, root, stokes and also I think Anderson have to go from this one day side. If nothing else cook, bell and Anderson will at least keep their reputation and test careers intact. They bring nothing to the one day team.

  • ProudPom on August 30, 2014, 20:18 GMT

    Captain Meanster, I agree that we love red ball cricket, but are we obsessed by it? I think that Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game; by definition it should be a test ... QED. Where those organising the English Cricket Team have it wrong is not in recognising that ODI / T20 is different. Surely by definition they are different games requiring different skills and players and the ECB, or whoever is in charge, have neither the imagination not determination to actually approach the three games separately. Sadly, England will never be a success at limited overs cricket, not because of red ball obsession but because money drives the whole ship and in England that means tests. If as much imagination and desire was put into the cricket as the bottom line I can't help but think things may improve. Ironically, India are poor at Test cricket for the same reason, money: a different country and cricket focus but same obsession, money.

  • on August 30, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    Cook should not captain even the test side. His form in the longer version too is not great. Although he scored a couple of half centuries his form had not improved only his luck had.If England is to make strides in the World Cup they need to take some bold decisions.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 30, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    The problem with England is that they are too obsessed with red ball cricket. They think winning the Ashes against the Old Enemy is the biggest deal in the world. They keep forgetting that winning the world cup is the most prestigious and proud feeling a cricketer can ever have. Becoming the world champions should be the focus of English cricket from now on. Which means, they need to send their players to the IPL in bulk, make them play a lot of ODIs and T20s with other nations. Compress their domestic limited overs competition to a few weeks instead of 3 or 4 months etc, The ECB needs to get serious because this is not a joke any more. Replacing Cook from the captaincy won't do much.

  • Jaffa79 on August 30, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    Before every WC England just seem hopelessly poorly prepared for the tournament. We will be poor again and probably exit early with a fresh new team and approach afterwards with all of the comments by Swann trotted out by England management - just 6 months after Graeme said it first.

  • on August 30, 2014, 19:32 GMT

    So many of the comments identify the fundamental problems in this England one day side that it hard to understand why the management don't see it also. even allowing for their blinkered and protectionist stance continuing with players so inept in the one day format is bizarre. Now the counties are also playing the 50 over format we can see players with much better one day skills being kept out of the side by players living on past glory and some not even that. The ides is to pick the side to win the next game but England never do that. Stars this year must be Fletcher and Taylor from Notts, Rashid, Hannon-Dalby, Chris Wood and not forgetting Ricky Clarke and Trott. All one day players with better skills than those selected but with little chance of an opportunity with an intransigent management set up. Peter Moores was such a bad choice even if he is a good county coach. There has always been too much of looking after one's job and not enough on developing a great cricket team.

  • Vishal_07 on August 30, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    interesting, this article could have come right after the Lord's Test and would have been right on. Of course, the great Indian Test batting lineup faltered again and again from Test #3 onward.

    But this is ODI, and MSD, one of the greatest ODI captain; and not Test and MSD, one of the worst Test captain so don't see any let up from the Indians. Won't be surprised at 4-0 thrashing of England in this one.

  • Cricket.Guru on August 30, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    Cook and Bell is not good enough for the limited over cricket.. They should replace with J Roy & G Ballance.. I am not sure about Morgan as well.. He looks like a very average player and J Taylor should replace him.. Stokes, Woakes and Jorden are very similar to each other... My playing eleven is 1.Hales 2.Roy 3.Root 4.Taylor 5.Ballance 6.Buttler 7.Stokes/Woakes 8.Gurney 9.Finn 10.Anderson 11. Tredwell ... when Broad will be fit he is in for Gurney's place and lead the team as well.. J Taylor will be the vice captain ... I think this is the best eleven for the World Cup...

  • screamingeagle on August 30, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    During the champions trophy there was an article or post that alluded to Cook looking like superman (the marvel brand) with his fine jawline and look while MSD took the trophy. Now again, to me, he does look like superman, albeit with kryptonite all around him. Inactive, at a loss with ideas and generally letting life drift by while the team loses. Pity, because England can be way better than the one day fare they have dished out so far. I support India, but seems pretty clear to me that Cook is unable to cope.

  • Pierrev on August 30, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    I'm an SA fan and looking from the outside in. I wont be so fast to say that the 2 losses so far is because of Cook's form. I mean him and Hales still put up 70 odd in 18 overs. That is a fair foundation. Having said that he form is poor and he is the man under the media spotlight, never the less don't forget the rest of the batting line-up also failed against spin even Hales and Morgan. They are considered the more aggressive batsmen and yet they fail against the spin just as the others. So to me it is not the lack of aggressive modern batsmen that is losing the games, it is that ENG cant seem to face quality spin bowling. Just as we like to say IND cant face pace, The new trend will start to be: "ENG cant face Spin" . So to make you all happy, you can replace Cook, but it wont help if the middle order still cant handle the turn of the ball. That's the problem not an out of form captain.

  • on August 30, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    I don't think Morgan is any better, but Swan, Vaughan and co want him as captain. He has done done enough over the past year to get an automatic place in the side.

  • abstractCricFan on August 30, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    England's limited cricket form has been woeful since they reached the finals of Champions Trophy last year ...The case of Cook as an ODI captain is the same as the case of Dhoni as a test captain ...you know he's not doing a great job but then again you don't really have anyone who can replace him on current form....

  • on August 30, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    apart from kevin peterson, andrew flintoff and to an extent paul collingwood and trescothick, no other england batsmen were interested in ODI cricket for the last 20 years

  • sarangsrk on August 30, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    Absolutely agree. Cook is neither a boundary hitter nor a long innings batsman. Atleast Bell, Root can hit good shots and play long innings and Hales, Morgan and Buttler are good boundary hitters. ECB looks to be too adamant and stereo typed in their selection of the captain. While that can work in test matches when you have Anderson and Broad in top form, it doesn't work in ODIs especially your opponent captain is as street smart captain as MSD. The only street smart character appearing in this lineup is Morgan who can be capable of captaining the side. Atleast it can not get worse than this.

  • cloudmess on August 30, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    It might not be the team which is at fault or even so much the captain as the person leading it all - the coach. Why is he not able to inspire better performances from not a bad-looking team in late-summer English conditions? But somehow we're all determined to keep Moores (in order to ensure that KP is never picked again) while we tread water for a year or two, do badly at the WC and lose next summer's Ashes. Someone please tell me whenever he steps down (which I expect to be in around late 2015 or early 2016) and then I'll start supporting English cricket again.

  • pom_don on August 30, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    Well said George re. Cook but Bell/Morgan in present form, nah! just draft in Taylor & give him the role, while at it Samit & Bopara should be there too, new blood is needed.............starting with Moores never was or will be the right choice, too many jobs for the boys in the England set up.

  • MarkTaffin on August 30, 2014, 17:25 GMT

    While George, as usual, makes some sound points, the idea of binning Cook but keeping Bell is ludicrous. And the idea of giving the captaincy to either Bell or Morgan in their present form is just ludicrous.

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  • MarkTaffin on August 30, 2014, 17:25 GMT

    While George, as usual, makes some sound points, the idea of binning Cook but keeping Bell is ludicrous. And the idea of giving the captaincy to either Bell or Morgan in their present form is just ludicrous.

  • pom_don on August 30, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    Well said George re. Cook but Bell/Morgan in present form, nah! just draft in Taylor & give him the role, while at it Samit & Bopara should be there too, new blood is needed.............starting with Moores never was or will be the right choice, too many jobs for the boys in the England set up.

  • cloudmess on August 30, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    It might not be the team which is at fault or even so much the captain as the person leading it all - the coach. Why is he not able to inspire better performances from not a bad-looking team in late-summer English conditions? But somehow we're all determined to keep Moores (in order to ensure that KP is never picked again) while we tread water for a year or two, do badly at the WC and lose next summer's Ashes. Someone please tell me whenever he steps down (which I expect to be in around late 2015 or early 2016) and then I'll start supporting English cricket again.

  • sarangsrk on August 30, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    Absolutely agree. Cook is neither a boundary hitter nor a long innings batsman. Atleast Bell, Root can hit good shots and play long innings and Hales, Morgan and Buttler are good boundary hitters. ECB looks to be too adamant and stereo typed in their selection of the captain. While that can work in test matches when you have Anderson and Broad in top form, it doesn't work in ODIs especially your opponent captain is as street smart captain as MSD. The only street smart character appearing in this lineup is Morgan who can be capable of captaining the side. Atleast it can not get worse than this.

  • on August 30, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    apart from kevin peterson, andrew flintoff and to an extent paul collingwood and trescothick, no other england batsmen were interested in ODI cricket for the last 20 years

  • abstractCricFan on August 30, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    England's limited cricket form has been woeful since they reached the finals of Champions Trophy last year ...The case of Cook as an ODI captain is the same as the case of Dhoni as a test captain ...you know he's not doing a great job but then again you don't really have anyone who can replace him on current form....

  • on August 30, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    I don't think Morgan is any better, but Swan, Vaughan and co want him as captain. He has done done enough over the past year to get an automatic place in the side.

  • Pierrev on August 30, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    I'm an SA fan and looking from the outside in. I wont be so fast to say that the 2 losses so far is because of Cook's form. I mean him and Hales still put up 70 odd in 18 overs. That is a fair foundation. Having said that he form is poor and he is the man under the media spotlight, never the less don't forget the rest of the batting line-up also failed against spin even Hales and Morgan. They are considered the more aggressive batsmen and yet they fail against the spin just as the others. So to me it is not the lack of aggressive modern batsmen that is losing the games, it is that ENG cant seem to face quality spin bowling. Just as we like to say IND cant face pace, The new trend will start to be: "ENG cant face Spin" . So to make you all happy, you can replace Cook, but it wont help if the middle order still cant handle the turn of the ball. That's the problem not an out of form captain.

  • screamingeagle on August 30, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    During the champions trophy there was an article or post that alluded to Cook looking like superman (the marvel brand) with his fine jawline and look while MSD took the trophy. Now again, to me, he does look like superman, albeit with kryptonite all around him. Inactive, at a loss with ideas and generally letting life drift by while the team loses. Pity, because England can be way better than the one day fare they have dished out so far. I support India, but seems pretty clear to me that Cook is unable to cope.

  • Cricket.Guru on August 30, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    Cook and Bell is not good enough for the limited over cricket.. They should replace with J Roy & G Ballance.. I am not sure about Morgan as well.. He looks like a very average player and J Taylor should replace him.. Stokes, Woakes and Jorden are very similar to each other... My playing eleven is 1.Hales 2.Roy 3.Root 4.Taylor 5.Ballance 6.Buttler 7.Stokes/Woakes 8.Gurney 9.Finn 10.Anderson 11. Tredwell ... when Broad will be fit he is in for Gurney's place and lead the team as well.. J Taylor will be the vice captain ... I think this is the best eleven for the World Cup...