England v India, 5th ODI, Headingley September 4, 2014

Cook at centre of England tangle

With their one-day plans in a familiar mess six months out from the World Cup, questions abound on England's priorities and strategy
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A largely fallacious debate has done the rounds in the media, old and new, in the past few days, in response to the question whether England would rather win the Ashes than the World Cup. There is no reason why England should put one above the other. They should be seeking to win both.

Only by doing something ineffably stupid - entirely scrapping domestic one-day cricket perhaps, or banning the reverse sweep in case it created bad habits in Test cricket - would English cricket make the question relevant. It is a false dichotomy, a convenient excuse reminiscent of the football chant beloved by supporters of failing sides: "We know we're rubbish but we don't care."

There may be an underlying point to this and, as ever this summer, it concerns Alastair Cook. The implication is that for England to gamble by removing Cook from the one-day captaincy, and in essence call time on his limited-overs career, ahead of the World Cup would cause such disruption that it would destroy England's chances of winning the Ashes next summer.

If that really was so, it would say little about England's structure or about Cook's character. It is not as if the structure could not cope or that Cook's standing in Test cricket would be undermined at a time when split captaincy in English cricket has become the norm.

Neither would Cook, a man of high integrity, go into a prolonged sulk and feel so betrayed that he retired from cricket forthwith and opened a music shop. This, after all, as Moeen Ali became the latest player to emphasis, is a man possessed of immense mental strength.

The fact is that England's hierarchy has wedded itself too inflexibly to Cook ever since they presented him as a paragon of virtue to justify their decision to dispense with the Black Prince, Kevin Pietersen. In everything they have said, they have raised Cook's sense of entitlement to dangerous proportions. Just because the debate fuelled beyond these pages by the likes of Graeme Swann and Michael Vaughan is regarded as essentially pointless does not mean that it should not be taking place.

To check this debate it would need England to win spectacularly in the final ODI at Headingley on Friday, to avoid a 4-0 India clean sweep and to pronounce that they had proved an ability to learn quickly, that India's trouncings had inspired them to new heights and that their World Cup challenge was back on traagain.

Then they will travel 12,000 miles much in the mood of the England football team, claiming that because expectations were so low they actually had a better chance of winning because they would play without fear. You don't have to be an expert on the World Cup in Brazil to know how that one worked out.

Moeen was unfortunate enough to be put on to the England coconut shy, two days after they had been walloped by India by nine wickets at Edgbaston. Do England care as much about one-day cricket, he was asked. "Definitely," he said.

That was where the discussion should rightly end. It would better to ask it of the media and the supporters. Reduced media interest in limited-overs cricket is one reason why England's domestic T20 has struggled to take root in the past decade and, as for England's supporters, India fans snapped up the tickets for this series so quickly that England could have claimed at Edgbaston to be playing in front of an away crowd.

At Headingley there will just be relief that the ground is full and the weather forecast is dry. After three ODI abandonments in the last five, added to the loss of another full house when the T20 fixture against Lancashire was rained off, Yorkshire, £22m in debt, would happily fill the ground with plastic dummies as long as somebody paid the entrance fee.

"Fear" was instead on Moeen's mind. He registered England's first half-century of the series at Edgbaston, an innings of impressive verve considering England's predicament. His return to Headingley, where he batted throughout the final day against Sri Lanka and came within two balls of saving the Test, was a reminder that he has proved himself not just a successful cricketer in his first season for England, but an adaptable one too.

"We can learn a lot from India," Moeen said. "Me sitting on the sidelines for the first two games, watching the way Indians bat, you can learn a lot from the way they approach it, with no fear and just back themselves. If there is a risk, they just take it. Sometimes it doesn't come off but as a team if we can all do that and execute the plan then we will be fine.

"Watching someone like Suresh Raina in the first game, they were in trouble and he came out and played the way he played. He took a few risks and they came off. He backed himself. I tried to copy it a little bit. I was just trying to get a score for the team, play how I play and not fear anything or anyone, just enjoy batting, put bat to ball, try and be different."

The message - a message England's hierarchy will approve - was that the plans are fine, it is just the execution of those plans has been so poor; that "the guys are definitely out of form and maybe lack a bit of confidence". Exactly what causes this lack of form and confidence is a question worth posing.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | September 9, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    So, "England's plans are fine" are they? It's just "the execution of those plans has been so poor". Really? These plans are so "fine" that England have lost their last 4 home ODI series, and the only away series they won (in West Indies) was when they abandoned their "plans" and took the T20 side to play ODI's (as part of the warm up for the T20 world cup).

    If Peter Moores really believes this, he gets the King Canute award for swimming against the tide.

  • POSTED BY on | September 5, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    Half in jest. Why can't we have a mutual agreement, between the the teams. Let Cook captain India's TestTeam; and let Dhoni captains England's. And see whether this "exchange captaincy" produce better results for both. :-)

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | September 5, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    @dunger.bob: the difference between Australia and England is that Australia has recognized that short-format and tests are different games and they approach them differently. England still goes into ODIs with the old 'establish a base and accelerate' philosophy which young players brought up on T20 know doesn't work any more.

    England has the players to compete, but until they are given the freedom to go for broke in the knowledge that the times when they fail will not be held against them, then the ceiling is simply too low. You can't win enough ODIs to win a World Cup averaging 250-275. Someone's always going to top that. Aim for 350 every game and if you happen to string 3 or 4 games together when it happens, then bingo! You've got your World Cup.

    Warnie said it best: to win, you can't be afraid to risk losing.

  • POSTED BY Nerav on | September 5, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Englands obsession with a bilateral series is beyond me. A competition between the best teams in world or a competition between 2 teams (ashes) which arent even the best sides in the world. Everything in the english side is to accommodate this series and nothing else matters. All decisions are justified with we need to prepare for the ashes. Its a way to pretend nothing else matters I think. I doubt Austrians think only about the ashes.

  • POSTED BY on | September 5, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Posted by ruester on (September 5, 2014, 2:18 GMT)

    I echo your sentiments, well put!

  • POSTED BY bhuvan_s on | September 5, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    Give Moeen the captiancy role!!!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 5, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    @IndCricFan2013 on (September 5, 2014, 1:44 GMT) Maybe it is the difference in reverse for India in that their best SF players mostly seem unable to adapt to test cricket. Right now it seems the opposite for us

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 5, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @dunger.bob on (September 5, 2014, 0:28 GMT) We should have a whole different ODI side (nearer to T20s in make up ) and that set of people should be prioritising that format and the test people should prioritise the test format. The only issues come when you have a player who plays both formats.

    I'd say - the way we're going about the job right now - we should only pick the very best ODI players who play test cricket and let the test players concentrate on that form of the game. I would say pre series that this may only mean Buttler and maybe Root but both seem unable to adapt back to the SF of the game. If your players can switch from one code to another then fair enough but only Ali seems to have managed that so far in this series and that may be based on the crowd reaction.. At least if we have a completely different set of players/staff we can't question their priorities.

  • POSTED BY T20Fun on | September 5, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    Well the point finally remains that their Captain is looking out of depth in ODIs. England still have a chance to replace him and they should.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | September 5, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    It seems fairly ridiculous to suggest that removing Cook from the ODI team would hurt England's chances of winning the Ashes. If anything, I think it would improve them. Without the added pressure that he's under as ODI captain, Cook can take some time to recharge and concentrate on his Test batting and captaincy. I don't see England having much chance at the WC regardless of who they pick right now. At least getting rid of this specter hanging over Cook would remove it from the whole team, as all this ongoing criticism much be affecting everyone. Forgetting the WC, Cook has now lost two home ODI series as captain and is woefully out of form with the bat. I wonder whether the management would have acted if there hadn't been such a storm around the issue, because now they don't want to be seen to backing down to outside pressure.

  • POSTED BY on | September 9, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    So, "England's plans are fine" are they? It's just "the execution of those plans has been so poor". Really? These plans are so "fine" that England have lost their last 4 home ODI series, and the only away series they won (in West Indies) was when they abandoned their "plans" and took the T20 side to play ODI's (as part of the warm up for the T20 world cup).

    If Peter Moores really believes this, he gets the King Canute award for swimming against the tide.

  • POSTED BY on | September 5, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    Half in jest. Why can't we have a mutual agreement, between the the teams. Let Cook captain India's TestTeam; and let Dhoni captains England's. And see whether this "exchange captaincy" produce better results for both. :-)

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | September 5, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    @dunger.bob: the difference between Australia and England is that Australia has recognized that short-format and tests are different games and they approach them differently. England still goes into ODIs with the old 'establish a base and accelerate' philosophy which young players brought up on T20 know doesn't work any more.

    England has the players to compete, but until they are given the freedom to go for broke in the knowledge that the times when they fail will not be held against them, then the ceiling is simply too low. You can't win enough ODIs to win a World Cup averaging 250-275. Someone's always going to top that. Aim for 350 every game and if you happen to string 3 or 4 games together when it happens, then bingo! You've got your World Cup.

    Warnie said it best: to win, you can't be afraid to risk losing.

  • POSTED BY Nerav on | September 5, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Englands obsession with a bilateral series is beyond me. A competition between the best teams in world or a competition between 2 teams (ashes) which arent even the best sides in the world. Everything in the english side is to accommodate this series and nothing else matters. All decisions are justified with we need to prepare for the ashes. Its a way to pretend nothing else matters I think. I doubt Austrians think only about the ashes.

  • POSTED BY on | September 5, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Posted by ruester on (September 5, 2014, 2:18 GMT)

    I echo your sentiments, well put!

  • POSTED BY bhuvan_s on | September 5, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    Give Moeen the captiancy role!!!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 5, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    @IndCricFan2013 on (September 5, 2014, 1:44 GMT) Maybe it is the difference in reverse for India in that their best SF players mostly seem unable to adapt to test cricket. Right now it seems the opposite for us

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 5, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    @dunger.bob on (September 5, 2014, 0:28 GMT) We should have a whole different ODI side (nearer to T20s in make up ) and that set of people should be prioritising that format and the test people should prioritise the test format. The only issues come when you have a player who plays both formats.

    I'd say - the way we're going about the job right now - we should only pick the very best ODI players who play test cricket and let the test players concentrate on that form of the game. I would say pre series that this may only mean Buttler and maybe Root but both seem unable to adapt back to the SF of the game. If your players can switch from one code to another then fair enough but only Ali seems to have managed that so far in this series and that may be based on the crowd reaction.. At least if we have a completely different set of players/staff we can't question their priorities.

  • POSTED BY T20Fun on | September 5, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    Well the point finally remains that their Captain is looking out of depth in ODIs. England still have a chance to replace him and they should.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | September 5, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    It seems fairly ridiculous to suggest that removing Cook from the ODI team would hurt England's chances of winning the Ashes. If anything, I think it would improve them. Without the added pressure that he's under as ODI captain, Cook can take some time to recharge and concentrate on his Test batting and captaincy. I don't see England having much chance at the WC regardless of who they pick right now. At least getting rid of this specter hanging over Cook would remove it from the whole team, as all this ongoing criticism much be affecting everyone. Forgetting the WC, Cook has now lost two home ODI series as captain and is woefully out of form with the bat. I wonder whether the management would have acted if there hadn't been such a storm around the issue, because now they don't want to be seen to backing down to outside pressure.

  • POSTED BY kumarcoolbuddy on | September 5, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Drop Cook not just for ODI but also Tests. Except the recent test series with India ENG couldn't win any other tests. Even recently with India Cook struggled a lot in first 2 tests. India under performing can become bad luck for ENG if Cook continues as captain because of the recent 3-1. At least he should be given break if cannot drop him.

  • POSTED BY ruester on | September 5, 2014, 2:18 GMT

    Has the debate about Cook's captaincy and the place in the England side really been totally forgotten? For me he needs to bat far better to remain in the side, India rolled over in the test series and really Cook wasn't tested at all as a captain. If Cook scratched a hundred to day it will not change my opinion that he should not be anywhere near the England side. England does not need Cook the batsman or tactician in the ODI game.

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | September 5, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    I do not understand what the big deal is about. You can not pack T20 cricketers in ODI. You only want 1 T20 player like Raina in ODI. May be another allrounder and/or may be an opener. England ODI team has got all that. You need 3 Solid run accumulators from Test Cricket in ODI's and they have got it. Some play an inspiring innings like Raina, then everything will be back!

  • POSTED BY CricketFanInLosAngles on | September 5, 2014, 0:59 GMT

    Get rid of Cook. Bring back Kevin Pietersen. And find a good captain (maybe Eoin Morgan).

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | September 5, 2014, 0:28 GMT

    @ CodandChips: On the prioritising question, I think there's really only 2 choices. You can go out and try your hardest in every single match or you can pace yourself to conserve energy for the big ones. I'm an Aussie, so there'll be no prizes for guessing which course I prefer but our guys aren't afraid to throw the dice in the selection room either. We've seen evidence of that in the Zimbabwe series and there's no doubt in my mind that while they would like to win it they won't be crying in their beer come Saturday night if they lose. As long as they've learnt something and come out of it with a clearer picture of who'll be in the 11 come opening day of the world cup, they'll probably be reasonably happy. .. So, to answer your question, yes, I think teams probably do set priorities and as long as it's done sensibly, with purpose and with definite goals I can't see too much wrong with it.

  • POSTED BY KiwiPom on | September 5, 2014, 0:05 GMT

    Isn't what we're really talking about here the idea that form in an ODI will affect test selection? If you select the same players then the batsmen in an ODI might play "from a test perspective" to make sure they don't play themselves out of the test team. The Alistair Cook thing is part of that but he isn't a problem on his own.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | September 4, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    "Exactly what causes this lack of form and confidence is a question worth posing."

    The ECB. Asked and answered.

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    @Lets-bash-others : Cook/Bell to score 70-80 in the first 15 overs? Score at 5 runs an over? Not going to happen with that combination; they don't have the skills/guts to pull of that kind of rate without at least one of them getting out. Either reset your expectations at 50-60 for no loss after 15 overs (which is not bad at all) or get Hales and/or Taylor in there and ask for 70+.

    If you insist on Cook and Bell, let them score 50 in 15, then let the Alis and Roots get to 150 off 35, then ask the Boparas and Buttlers to get past 250 if they can. This way you have a much better chance of your 275+ which will be needed to have a good chance of winning against the better sides.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 4, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    I still have plenty of misgivings about the test set up and I feel that India would have made any regular test playing nation look better on their performances.

    But I don't have these doubts about the ODI set up. I am certain it's all wrong.

    For me it's a no brainer. Out Cook and the management and most of the players from the ODI set up. Bring in fresh faces - both in staff and players

    We're not going to do anything in the WC with Cook and the management's strategies so surely all it can do is harm to Cook's preparation to the Ashes?

    If we have as few people from the test set up in the WC squad then there will be less baggage taken from the WC. Sure Eng have (or are suspposed to have) planned for this for some time but the plans are are failing dramatically. So if we go in with little time for planning etc I still don't see how we can do any worse than what we'd do with the current set up. We're even dropping our most consistent bowler now

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 4, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    I can't help remembering how there was a similar debate with Nasser Hussain. After a long battle and a dismal World Cup he was finally replaced with Michael Vaughan. One Day form improved to the extent that Hussain's position as Test captain became untenable and Michael Vaughan took over, taking England from being a decent mid-table side, to serious contenders to be the best for the first time since the late 1970s.

    Right now we know that it is only a matter of when, not if, he will give up the captaincy of the ODI side. He may last until the World Cup but only an unexpectedly good campaign there would re-establish his authority. What is worrying is that not only have England gone back to the post-Lords Test situation but we are seeing how devalued the Test win was because the Indians simply were not interested. The only consolation is that we are seeing that Australia are not quite as good as they believed themselves to be and are still vulnerable.

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Vaughan wrote in his column today that the difference between England and the successful ODI sides is that England approach ODIs from a test viewpoint, while India et al come at them from a T20 perspective. It seems to me that he is right - getting 50 over totals in the low 200s is a speeded up test innings, whereas a total in the low 300s is a steady T20 innings. England should make their T20 team the starting point when selecting an ODI side, not the Test team.

    My team for the World Cup: Hales, Roy, Trott (if able), Taylor (c), Ali, Bopara, Buttler(w), Willey, Bresnan, Broad, Tredwell Rest of squad: Billings, Woakes, Finn, Root. Add Ballance if Trott is unable to face another trip down under.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | September 4, 2014, 20:06 GMT

    Come on David, dropping Cook would disrupt England's chances in a years time??? Didn't affect Steve Waugh when he was dropped, nor Ricky Ponting, in fact both had successful seasons in their first test season after it. Surely the game & the the side is bigger than the man.

  • POSTED BY Faz63 on | September 4, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    Dare I suggest that moment has shown that he's a thinking cricketer, and England should bite the bullet on a clean change and appoint him as Odi captain to get him geared up for test captaincy......after all, I thin eoin Morgan is scared from past defeats.

  • POSTED BY Lets-bash-others on | September 4, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    I think that England has all the ingredients to become a good ODI side... They just need to have a proper batting order... They should focus more on Pluncket than stokes/wokes in ODIs.... My playing 11 in the WC would be..

    Cook,Bell,Ali,Root,Bopara,Hales,Butler,Pluncket,Broad,Tredwel/Finn,Anderson..

    Cook and Bell would be needed just to play first 10-15 overs and 70-80 around 15 overs would be great..

    Ali,Root and Bopara would be needed to control the innings from 20-35.. Then Bopara, Hales and Butler can accelerate in the PP and death overs...

    To score 300+ or chase above 300+ score Eng needs Hales down there along with Bopara and Butler...

    I honestly believe that in Aus/Nz the above playing 11 suits more than any other...

    Hales at 6 seems like a joke but seriously all teams have a player like him at 6 like Dhoni/Afridi/C Anderson/T Parera etc...

    So I would like 2 have Hales at 6....

  • POSTED BY SevereCritic on | September 4, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    England realistically has no chances of winning the Ashes next summer. Defeating a green India on fast bouncy tracks is nothing like facing Aussies in those same bouncy tracks. I dare England to prepare the same Green fast tracks for the Ashes. Johnson and Harris will carve them up like the Christmas Goose.

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    I think it's the wrong attitude from India and England if they only care about one form of the game. The game needs both Test and ODI cricket, and it certainly needs T20 to draw in the younger crowds.

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | September 4, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    An interesting article. While giving no particular views as such, it really opens up the debate.

    Are England clinging onto Alastair Cook because they put so much into backing him after the Ashes debacle or do they genuinely believe he is the right man to take the team forward?

    Re the debate do England prefer 1 format to the other, or the Ashes to the World Cup? I know they shouldn't prioritise 1, but next year's gruelling schedule will surely limit availability of players at time, which surely will require England to "prioritise" certain series? Just a thought, would love to hear responses.

    Also, is the supposed preference of Tests over ODIs of English fans/management/players/media- (whoemver, if such a preference exists) meant to be a cause or a consequence of the inability of England to win world cups and have sustained success in white-ball cricket?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | September 4, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    An interesting article. While giving no particular views as such, it really opens up the debate.

    Are England clinging onto Alastair Cook because they put so much into backing him after the Ashes debacle or do they genuinely believe he is the right man to take the team forward?

    Re the debate do England prefer 1 format to the other, or the Ashes to the World Cup? I know they shouldn't prioritise 1, but next year's gruelling schedule will surely limit availability of players at time, which surely will require England to "prioritise" certain series? Just a thought, would love to hear responses.

    Also, is the supposed preference of Tests over ODIs of English fans/management/players/media- (whoemver, if such a preference exists) meant to be a cause or a consequence of the inability of England to win world cups and have sustained success in white-ball cricket?

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    I think it's the wrong attitude from India and England if they only care about one form of the game. The game needs both Test and ODI cricket, and it certainly needs T20 to draw in the younger crowds.

  • POSTED BY SevereCritic on | September 4, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    England realistically has no chances of winning the Ashes next summer. Defeating a green India on fast bouncy tracks is nothing like facing Aussies in those same bouncy tracks. I dare England to prepare the same Green fast tracks for the Ashes. Johnson and Harris will carve them up like the Christmas Goose.

  • POSTED BY Lets-bash-others on | September 4, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    I think that England has all the ingredients to become a good ODI side... They just need to have a proper batting order... They should focus more on Pluncket than stokes/wokes in ODIs.... My playing 11 in the WC would be..

    Cook,Bell,Ali,Root,Bopara,Hales,Butler,Pluncket,Broad,Tredwel/Finn,Anderson..

    Cook and Bell would be needed just to play first 10-15 overs and 70-80 around 15 overs would be great..

    Ali,Root and Bopara would be needed to control the innings from 20-35.. Then Bopara, Hales and Butler can accelerate in the PP and death overs...

    To score 300+ or chase above 300+ score Eng needs Hales down there along with Bopara and Butler...

    I honestly believe that in Aus/Nz the above playing 11 suits more than any other...

    Hales at 6 seems like a joke but seriously all teams have a player like him at 6 like Dhoni/Afridi/C Anderson/T Parera etc...

    So I would like 2 have Hales at 6....

  • POSTED BY Faz63 on | September 4, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    Dare I suggest that moment has shown that he's a thinking cricketer, and England should bite the bullet on a clean change and appoint him as Odi captain to get him geared up for test captaincy......after all, I thin eoin Morgan is scared from past defeats.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | September 4, 2014, 20:06 GMT

    Come on David, dropping Cook would disrupt England's chances in a years time??? Didn't affect Steve Waugh when he was dropped, nor Ricky Ponting, in fact both had successful seasons in their first test season after it. Surely the game & the the side is bigger than the man.

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Vaughan wrote in his column today that the difference between England and the successful ODI sides is that England approach ODIs from a test viewpoint, while India et al come at them from a T20 perspective. It seems to me that he is right - getting 50 over totals in the low 200s is a speeded up test innings, whereas a total in the low 300s is a steady T20 innings. England should make their T20 team the starting point when selecting an ODI side, not the Test team.

    My team for the World Cup: Hales, Roy, Trott (if able), Taylor (c), Ali, Bopara, Buttler(w), Willey, Bresnan, Broad, Tredwell Rest of squad: Billings, Woakes, Finn, Root. Add Ballance if Trott is unable to face another trip down under.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | September 4, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    I can't help remembering how there was a similar debate with Nasser Hussain. After a long battle and a dismal World Cup he was finally replaced with Michael Vaughan. One Day form improved to the extent that Hussain's position as Test captain became untenable and Michael Vaughan took over, taking England from being a decent mid-table side, to serious contenders to be the best for the first time since the late 1970s.

    Right now we know that it is only a matter of when, not if, he will give up the captaincy of the ODI side. He may last until the World Cup but only an unexpectedly good campaign there would re-establish his authority. What is worrying is that not only have England gone back to the post-Lords Test situation but we are seeing how devalued the Test win was because the Indians simply were not interested. The only consolation is that we are seeing that Australia are not quite as good as they believed themselves to be and are still vulnerable.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | September 4, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    I still have plenty of misgivings about the test set up and I feel that India would have made any regular test playing nation look better on their performances.

    But I don't have these doubts about the ODI set up. I am certain it's all wrong.

    For me it's a no brainer. Out Cook and the management and most of the players from the ODI set up. Bring in fresh faces - both in staff and players

    We're not going to do anything in the WC with Cook and the management's strategies so surely all it can do is harm to Cook's preparation to the Ashes?

    If we have as few people from the test set up in the WC squad then there will be less baggage taken from the WC. Sure Eng have (or are suspposed to have) planned for this for some time but the plans are are failing dramatically. So if we go in with little time for planning etc I still don't see how we can do any worse than what we'd do with the current set up. We're even dropping our most consistent bowler now

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    @Lets-bash-others : Cook/Bell to score 70-80 in the first 15 overs? Score at 5 runs an over? Not going to happen with that combination; they don't have the skills/guts to pull of that kind of rate without at least one of them getting out. Either reset your expectations at 50-60 for no loss after 15 overs (which is not bad at all) or get Hales and/or Taylor in there and ask for 70+.

    If you insist on Cook and Bell, let them score 50 in 15, then let the Alis and Roots get to 150 off 35, then ask the Boparas and Buttlers to get past 250 if they can. This way you have a much better chance of your 275+ which will be needed to have a good chance of winning against the better sides.