England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Edgbaston

England must confront failings to improve

There were some admirable aspects to England's cricket in this series but they are going to need to rethink their tactics for the World Cup

George Dobell

June 4, 2014

Comments: 139 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook had to work hard for his runs, England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Edgbaston, June 3, 2014
Alastair Cook limped along at 63.36 runs per 100 balls in the series © Getty Images

England would be deluding themselves if they hid behind the unusual - let us not call a textbook dismissal controversial - wicket of Jos Buttler for their defeat at Edgbaston.

To do so would be to ignore the four catches they dropped in the Sri Lankan innings, the 12 extras they conceded in wides, their failure to bat through 50 overs and that several of their batsmen, yet again, batted without purpose.

It would also ignore that this was the third game they had lost in a series in which conditions were stacked in their favour. And, most of all, it would ignore the fact that, at the time of the Buttler incident, England were 197 for 6 in the 44th over. Twice they had gone seven overs in their innings without hitting a boundary. They were already coming second.

There were some admirable aspects to England's cricket in this match and in this series. The fight they showed in the field, the rediscovered bite in the bowling of James Anderson and the threat offered by James Tredwell were all impressive. And nothing in cricket is more certain than the inclusion of Chris Jordan in England's Test squad to be announced on Thursday.

But after another loss - their 10th in their last 17 completed ODIs - and another series defeat - their third in four series - it has become apparent that England are going to need to rethink their tactics if they are to progress beyond the minimum requirement of the quarter-final stage at the World Cup.

England's batting is their primary concern. Not only do their batsmen score too slowly - Ian Bell was the only one of the top six to score at a rate in excess of 80 runs per 100 balls in this series; Alastair Cook limped along at a strike-rate of 63.63 - but they fail to retain their wickets.

Apart from Buttler's century at Lord's - a century that did much to mask another generally dismal performance by England - their next highest score in the series was just 64. To put it another way, England's top six contributed four half-centuries between them in the entire series with Gary Ballance's 64 remaining the highest score. They continue to miss Jonathan Trott - one of the key men in helping them to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy - terribly.

They also missed an opportunity in this series. They missed the chance to take a look at the likes of James Vince, James Taylor and Alex Hales at this level. They missed the chance to try something new. They missed the chance to formulate a strategy that could serve them at the World Cup. Their selection, like their tactics, was timid. And timid sides win nothing.

So it is a shame that Cook would label Angelo Mathews' decision to sustain the appeal against Buttler "a pretty poor act" in the immediate aftermath of the game. While Cook, to his credit, also admitted that England's batting had been poor throughout the series and that their total at Edgbaston was 20 below par, he must have known that, once he criticised his counterpart, such confessions would be lost amid the fallout. Perhaps a stronger leader would have declined the opportunity to make excuses and admitted his side's failings.

England would be deluding themselves, too, if they hid behind the bowling action of a Sri Lankan spinner. Whether it is suspect or not - independent testing will reveal the answers over the next few weeks - England will face many similar actions around the world. The sooner they accept that the world has moved on, that mystery spin is only a mystery to them, the better.

In years to come, perhaps when Moeen Ali has normalised the doosra in England, mystery spin will be viewed in the same way as reverse swing: a key skill in obtaining movement on flat pitches. And just as England's mistrust of reverse swing eventually turned into acceptance and even affection, the same will happen with mystery spin.

It would be nice, too, if England simply stopped talking about the spirit of cricket. It is not relevant when their batsmen decline to walk. It is not relevant when their batsmen, in fighting for a draw, change their gloves and ask for drinks in order to use up time. It is not relevant when their bowlers sledge or try to persuade the umpire to change a ball that is not swinging. And it is not relevant when they lure coaches from opposition teams weeks before they face them in a series.

All such issues are seen - right or wrong - as part and parcel of the professional game. So to talk of spirit only when they lose leaves them looking weak, graceless and hypocritical. Only by confronting their failings and not grasping for excuses will they start to improve.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sudaththa on (June 10, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

Wail said!!! George!! Good article...

Posted by Negative on (June 8, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

you said it George, you really did. well balanced article & pleased to read. I really hope Cpt Cook got a chance to read this.

Posted by steve48 on (June 7, 2014, 12:02 GMT)

Wow, this article is brilliant in its concise, ruthless criticism. Brutal as it is, nothing is overstated or inaccurate, especially this 'spirit of cricket ' nonsense, which we seem to pick up and put down to suit ourselves. I cringe when thinking of us begging Bell's reinstatement against India whilst defending Broad not walking after middling it! I have nothing against either action, just the two together. As to the ODI batting, the hopelessness of the top order makeup is well pointed out. Truth is, we are so far behind tactically we basically cannot win in good batting conditions unless Buttler or Morgan go mental! As for the doosra, brilliant parallel with reverse swing. Best article on cricinfo for ages!

Posted by SLChucky on (June 7, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

Well said Dobell, love to see articles like these. We were missing truth talking articles in cricinfo but this is brilliant. hats off! First to mention is what ECB done with luring SL's performing and stabilized coach in just weeks ahead of series. SL were in trouble though they didn't mentioned it. But the series win showed what they are specially in English conditions. Series loss specially in months of May, June, July will be heartbreaking to Eng. Yes its because of their lack of performance and they have to admit it without giving false excuses. Inability sustain upcoming mystery spinners is becoming habit. Its not worth blaming or suspect their actions but trying to overcome against their spells is what everyone should do. This series would have been ended very nicely if Eng had admit their lack of performance without making excuses for the failure. On the other hand SL are becoming more n more threatening to world with these performances and a Test win will make them superior

Posted by   on (June 7, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

Well done George Dobell. This is the best article I saw in Cricinfo in recent past. Michael Vaughan should definitely read this

Posted by jatstheword on (June 6, 2014, 11:23 GMT)

Fantastic article, some hard hitting home truths there for Captain Cook!

Posted by   on (June 6, 2014, 8:40 GMT)

absolutely everything in this article I wholeheartedly agree with. England have got to see how poorly we have played throughout this series in general. Personally I think one change that we need is to drop Cook from the side. I think Hales should be opening with Bell. I know that wouldn't change everything but it is a start. We need to start playing a more fearless brand of cricket as well, most of the series we have been so very stale in the batting. I mean at Lord's we batted for 25 overs or something like that without a boundary. Then we come on to spirit of cricket. Not just England but EVERYONE in the world need to stop talking about spirit of cricket. You play by laws, not spirit. No other sport do they complain about something in the laws by saying "it's not in the spirit of the game" it is a nonsense. Shut up about it. Mystery spin as well. Like George said, we just need to accept it and run with it. It's not going away. EVER.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 5, 2014, 20:39 GMT)

Why are people talking about the Buttler dismissal on this thread?

This is supposed to be about England's failings in general. Even talking about KP being reinstated (tired as it is) has more relevance. For me the main issues are that we pick test players for ODIs who are unsuitable. Also we are unflexible with our batting order. In the previous ODI we played Root/Ballance together when we were behind the game chasing a biggish total. They went at 4 an over which was disgraceful under the circumstances. That Jos and Ravi got us close should not mask what a poor show it was from the Yorkies. Not against both being in the side although unconvinced by Ballance in this format and I can see the benfit of them coming in at 3 and 4 on a tricky wicket chasing 230ish but what happened in the 4th ODI was just wrong. I'd like us to try and get ahead of the game when chasing which would also benefit us if DL comes into play and not always rely on Morgan and Buttler.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 20:39 GMT)

It is all too easy to look at specs of dust in SL eyes and not do anything about the planks in England eyes. Do not keep looking for some excuse to justify defeat. The conditions were most favourable to England and alien to Sri Lanka. To get beat like this on home soil is a disgrace of the first order. To get out for 99 too was a disgrace. SL 67 run total needs investigating. Our British umpire did not know how to carry out his job. Jos Butler was run out. End of story. Why drag the fielding captain and create an unpleasant situation. Jos needs to learn not to use utter filth when he is on TV seen by millions.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 19:55 GMT)

Very balanced. Nice article. Those grey men sitiing as ECB members and MCC hierachy will struggle to fathom your article and say cricket is what we think it is !!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Derek_Haines on (June 5, 2014, 19:24 GMT)

I love the English cricket team! As an Aussie, there is nothing better than playing and beating a great Pommie team. But I'm sorry. Captain Cook and his limp, lame and at times pathetic excuses and reasons for losing, don't make for a great cricket team. There's no fun in beating this lot. This team is all about stalling when rain is coming, complaining about their opponents and being totally oblivious to their own failings. I think the new expression goes, 'Time to man up, Cook!'

Posted by ca2ca on (June 5, 2014, 17:40 GMT)

Spirit of cricket is good but it should applied to both sides and specially to whining English team. No words were mentioned when Joe Root stayed at the after the catch off glove. In the name of spirit of the game, he should have walked out.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

If the Spirit of Cricket is questioned, Butler should've walked when Senanayake caught him mankading, not give the innocent stare to the umpire & maththews.

I really don't understand why the umpires are not given full authority to decide on this. Why do they need the fielding captain wherther they want to take it. Its like asking the keeper, get the permission from the captain before you stump or run the batsman out. Ghosh, Utter joke.

Posted by ruester on (June 5, 2014, 13:17 GMT)

Well said George, I am happy you are one of the few journalists that speak out against the ECB. You have always said, why should the fans accept that KP is gone with no reason and now you speak out against the stale old way we insist on playing ODI cricket. I cannot fathom why we believe our way is the best when we have never won the World Cup! Attitudes have to change at the ECB and I thought that Moores might of brought something new........he hasn't ! just another yes man to keep Clarke and Downton happy.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 11:28 GMT)

before the 2015 world cup England should change the ODI captaincy. cook is a failed captain. not gonna work for them. as a captain he cant even accept the truth and blame other teams when they loose a match. this is not english cricket.

Posted by JPratham on (June 5, 2014, 10:25 GMT)

George Dobell......fantastically written.....after a long time read such a article.....ECB learn from this and bring back KP

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 9:45 GMT)

Well said Mr.George Dobell .. good answer to Cook from a gentleman with neutral view..//It would be nice, too, if England simply stopped talking about the spirit of cricket. It is not relevant when their batsmen decline to walk. It is not relevant when their batsmen, in fighting for a draw, change their gloves and ask for drinks in order to use up time. It is not relevant when their bowlers sledge or try to persuade the umpire to change a ball that is not swinging. And it is not relevant when they lure coaches from opposition teams weeks before they face them in a series.//

Posted by Vakbar on (June 5, 2014, 9:23 GMT)

What a great article. Agree with every single word. The most exposed person in this team is Cook. I think we just have to accept he simpy does not have the game for this format - especially in the world cup in Australia, where fast scoring will be de rigeur. More pertinently, Cook has to accept it. Also putting Eoin Morgan in charge will add a little to the inventiveness of the team on the field...

Posted by Rexton87 on (June 5, 2014, 9:20 GMT)

Very well analysed, to the point and professional article, need we say more?

Posted by CodandChips on (June 5, 2014, 8:25 GMT)

All the opening partnerships of successful teams in ODI cricket have at least either one guy who plays shots or somebody who bats through and can be explosive in the end. Australia have Warner and Finch. India have Dhawan and Sharma. South Africa have De Kock and Amla. New Zealand have Guptill and Ryder. Sri Lanka have Dilshan and Perera.

We have Cook and Bell. Neither seems able or willing to score that quickly, though Bell sort of did this series. Neither bat through. Neither would be explosive on the very rare occasion that they do bat through.

Posted by UK_Chap on (June 5, 2014, 8:13 GMT)

I think this is the first time that I have read a truely honest and blunt assesment of any England performance and the general attitude in the sport. Another thing George eluded to in his article was developments in the sport e.g throughout the nineties some regularly labelled Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis as cheats because they were masters of swing bowling. In recent years England developed bowlers that could bowl swing and it suddenly became "legal" and acceptable. They did the same with Saqlain Mustaq and now Saeed Ajmal and various other bowlers in other countries. The refusal to develop and embrace new ideas into batting, bowling and fielding will be the death of the sport itself. I have criticised George Dobell in the past but today I want to thankyou for you candour and salute your bravery.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 8:09 GMT)

Nice Article. Very Neutral.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

An excellent and professional article of George Dobell which I could read. All contents in the article are neutral. What he has written is indeed correct.

Posted by Lord.emsworth on (June 5, 2014, 6:56 GMT)

I really hope Michael Vaughn, Jonathan Agnew, and Geoffrey Boycott read this article. At least Mike Atherton (And now George Dobell) said it as it ought to have been said...The courageous truth...

Posted by Shiri17 on (June 5, 2014, 5:31 GMT)

An excellent article, you mentioned most of the things that have frustrated me for a long time. Timidity is the biggest failing of this England side, resulting in slow scoring. England need to stop giving excuses for poor play, and they need players like Alex Hales and Jos Buttler, certainly in both the short forms. Ian Bell is universally praised by commentators, yet despite all his progress in the long form, he is still barely an ODI player and never should he be included in the t20 side. Cook should be an opener in the test side only, and not as a captain either. His poor skills were exposed last winter when compared with Clarke's excellent captaincy. Prior has not done anything for over a year, so why are they rushing him back? No other test side would do that. If the new selectors go for these old players, then no progress has been made at all.

Posted by Culex on (June 5, 2014, 5:11 GMT)

An excellent summary. Now to see if anybody in the ECB will pay attention...

Posted by amku on (June 5, 2014, 5:06 GMT)

very clear....hope this message is going to ECB

Posted by rezmata on (June 5, 2014, 5:00 GMT)

Respectah Dobel!! This is true journalism!!Hope Cook and Moors have read this!

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 4:31 GMT)

well said..great article! This england performance was laughable and didnt even stretch SL to the limit. Its funny that english players are quick to complain but especially as you said, their bowlers like broad , anderson, jordan are the first ones to sledge opposition when somethin goes wrong etc. And of course its all in good spirit to poach oppositon coaches as soon as another team wins a tournament.

ENG are quick to complain here, but a similar thing happened in the 2008 series vs NZ when colligwood got a NZ guy run out, after he collided with an ENG bowler. guess that was all in good cricket spirit! wonder how many current players played in that game including cook??

but what's funniest is Cook is trying to hide behind excuses for his pathetic ENG team performance, when he was instrumental in getting the only world class player in their team KP who can win games kicked out! world cricket is still laughing at that one!

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 4:19 GMT)

"let us not call a textbook dismissal controversial"

Thank you, Dobell, that's all there is to be said about this runout.

It was lawful and more than fair. Buttler ignored numerous warnings from the opposing captain, bowler and umpires, in this match and the previous, illegally wandered off from his crease, and paid the price for it. Serves him right for his bad sportsmanship (which some use as an excuse against SL's decision).

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 4:15 GMT)

Very good article. Spot on!

Posted by ruester on (June 5, 2014, 4:07 GMT)

Has anyone noticed the ever increasing negativity of our cricket? The play it safe attitude when it comes to selection, attitude and performance on the field. It stems from the teams leader, Cook is not the man to rebuild, he is the cause of such negativity. He should be nowhere near the captaincy or the ODI side. However things wont change because the ECB give their full backing to Cook as captain. The great character judges of Downton and Clarke believe Cook is the man for the job. Sad days for England.

Posted by Patchmaster on (June 5, 2014, 3:51 GMT)

I totally agree with the 'missed opportunity' - we all know that Bell and Bopara and Cook are 'almost players' and all score too slowly.......surely this was the series to try out Hales and two others (picked on form) - but instead, the classic English management policy of 'don't change anything until the whole thing is falling apart beyond repair' - we picked the same slow scorers, and guess what ? we scored too slowly in ALL the games with our top order. Other nations have moved past this, and are picking aggressive openers at the top to get the run rate going straight away. England know best though...oh....hang on...they don't.

Posted by Patchmaster on (June 5, 2014, 3:46 GMT)

ALl other top sides are playing two, at least one aggressive opening batsman. Time to hand captaincy over to someone else (Morgan ?) and Cook to step aside for Hales. Cook just isn;t an ODI player, never mind about captain. Lovely bloke, but ODI's are just too fast moving for him, they didn't used to be, but the game has moved on unfortunately

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 3:41 GMT)

Well written and hit the nail on the head. Captain Cook should read it and not whinge about defeat. Just trying to find excuses for the defeat. Should take a look at himself with regard to the slow rate at which he scored.

Posted by Die_Hard_Indian_Cricket_Lover on (June 5, 2014, 2:59 GMT)

Very good article Mr.George Dobell. I watched all the 5 ODI matches even though I am an Indian cricket fan.(We only had IPL these days).

Regarding this incident I would say England has gone far out of the line. Not only captain Cook but also many other responsible people.

For example in the ODI series Sachithra Senanayake took 9 wickets with economy rate of 3.76. He scored some valuable runs as a tail ender as well. Not to mention that these England wickets have very less support for spinners.

Malinga took only 7 wickets with economy rate of 5.94. Ant yet they decided to give the Man of the Series trophy for Malinga even though Sachithra is the one who deserved it.

Posted by Sri_Lankan_Cricket_Fan on (June 5, 2014, 2:41 GMT)

As it is pointed out in this article England were 197 for 6 in the 44th over. Even if Butler was not out Its highly unlikely they score more than 240 in next 6 overs comparing the strength of death bowling Sri Lanka have.

Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets with 10 balls to spare. Even a target of 250 could have easily chased down. So please stop hiding your weakness inside this incident. Admire at the end of day the better team Wins.

Posted by pandian_ikku on (June 5, 2014, 2:34 GMT)

Well done George Dobell. This is the best article I saw in Cricinfo in recent past. Michael Vaughan should definitely read this.

Posted by pkvedas on (June 5, 2014, 0:05 GMT)

Very well written article. The key for England which was missing in the current squad was some aggressive batsman at the top order. With the amount of resources that ECB have, they should rethink and pick the right eleven to be competitive in the coming world cup. I will go with the below squad based on the experience and current form of England players. And england have a good chance of qualifying for the playoff's (Semi's) since the world cup is played in Non-Asian Conditions (Seeming Conditions)... 1. A Hales 2. M Lumb/ M Ali 3. Bell 4. Morgan (c) 5. B Stokes 6. Butler 7. Bopara 8. Jordan 9. S Broad 10. Tredwell 11. Anderson

Posted by dunger.bob on (June 4, 2014, 23:42 GMT)

I can't help but agree with most of the things George has said in this article. Tredwell has performed better than even his mum would have expected so that's a bonus for you lot. Jordan will definitely liven your Test team up due to his infectious enthusiasm and Buttler is just what you need in your middle order.

All the negative things he mentioned are also true and it was a harsh spotlight he cast on the team. Harsh but fair. .. England have some work to do but there's still time before the WC. Let's see if you can get it all together.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

Finally some on unbiased !!! Thanks to the author for writing this article and putting things in right since most so called experts would side with the other view point ! Thanks again ! Respect from SL

Posted by disco_bob on (June 4, 2014, 22:39 GMT)

That's a tough assessment George. Tough but fair.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 22:24 GMT)

Unbiased journalism #respect :)

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (June 4, 2014, 22:15 GMT)

Ali is nowhere near good enough with the ball and looks totally out of his depth with the bat at the top level.

Posted by wapuser on (June 4, 2014, 22:09 GMT)

Great article mate. It mentioned the truth and covered pretty much all the areas. You mentioned about Cook's comment against Matthews decision, I think you are right, also Cook forgot SL informed Buttler twice. Buttler had to respect to those two chances rather than trying to get extra advantage. That is not sport as other team informed him already. On the other hand they played poor cricket throught out the series. We all know SL team is a top leading ODI team, but it's not a excuse to defeat like this. At least there should be a good performance. Otherwise win and lost are always part of any sport. We respect to that. Cheers

Posted by OneUp2Down on (June 4, 2014, 22:05 GMT)

Well written, George!

The penultimate paragraph should be the "bitter medicine" that English cricketers should swallow to raise their game against any opposition. Play excellently in all departments of the game, then success will be assured.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 22:03 GMT)

It is high time that England and similar sides get a dose of reality. Cook's frustration of losing the series was quite clear during the post match hand shake between the teams. It had nothing to do with Butlers dismissal nor suspect actions of bowlers. Well said Mr. Dobelll.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (June 4, 2014, 21:04 GMT)

England bat like their personalities.. this has to be the most uninteresting Eng top 6 I can remember… It would therefore be fair to describe Eng batting as dull… Not an ounce of flair out there… And (courtesy of A Einstein) game after game Eng are ''doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results'' … Until there is a more dynamic captain & coach and a more attacking steely team culture with a gutsy 'grab it by the scruff of the neck' winning mentality Eng will carry on in this torpid insipid vein…

Posted by rizwan1981 on (June 4, 2014, 20:33 GMT)

Excellent article - England would have won this series if KP had been a part of the team .

Posted by Herath-UK on (June 4, 2014, 20:19 GMT)

Putting things into right perspective the England team should be last in the planet to talk of spirit of the game snatching Farbrace as they did. Then brought the Senanayake's issue right out at the decider; was there a thought that it would stop him playing or demoralise the Sri Lankan team to have a certain win. Though it says umpires reported after the game, his action was questioned by English commentators right from the beginning identifying him (& also Naraine & Ashwin ) as mystery spinners. No wonder the officials followed. England desperately wanted to win this series but underestimated the champion Sri Lankan side,poor Farbrace could not stop it.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (June 4, 2014, 20:01 GMT)

"It would be nice, too, if England simply stopped talking about the spirit of cricket. It is not relevant when their batsmen decline to walk. It is not relevant when their batsmen, in fighting for a draw, change their gloves and ask for drinks in order to use up time. It is not relevant when their bowlers sledge or try to persuade the umpire to change a ball that is not swinging. And it is not relevant when they lure coaches from opposition teams weeks before they face them in a series."


Posted by St.John on (June 4, 2014, 19:43 GMT)

A really honest, refreshing, objective, and strong assessment of the English team. England "hiding behind the actions of a Sri Lankan spinner" tells of Cooks reluctance to admit the real causes for his teams failure. It's good for England to follow Mr. Dobell's advice that the cricket world has moved on to include mystery spinners, and that England will do well to follow suit. (Moeen Ali and hopefully others...)

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 19:12 GMT)

Best cricinfo Article ever!!! wow

Posted by CodandChips on (June 4, 2014, 18:51 GMT)

Continuing from my previous comments I hope England actually try something new next series. Pick a new face. Just 3 debuts in the new Moores regime, 2 belonging to a player who had featured in a squad under Giles, and one to a player who had looked far from convincing in the other formats for England.

I would try the following (assume all are fit) next series vs India, just to look at other options. It's NOT my squad for Australia NOR the team I'd consider the best we can offer. But we need to assess our options and develop a squad. Of course it would likely change over the next couple of months but a basic 14/15 as follows:

1.Hales 2.Lumb (to bat through as he did so superbly on debut with a view to upping it later on) 3.Taylor 4.Ballance 5.Buttler 6.Ali 7.Willey/Stokes 8.Jordan 9.Gurney 10.Topley 11.Briggs/Parry Also I'd select Trego and Vince to make up the 15.

Obviously Stokes has been hugely underwhelming in his ODI career. But if Willey's injured who else is there? Woakes?

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 18:28 GMT)

It would be nice, too, if England simply stopped talking about the spirit of cricket. It is not relevant when their batsmen decline to walk. It is not relevant when their batsmen, in fighting for a draw, change their gloves and ask for drinks in order to use up time. It is not relevant when their bowlers sledge or try to persuade the umpire to change a ball that is not swinging. And it is not relevant when they lure coaches from opposition teams weeks before they face them in a series.

Well said....

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 18:06 GMT)

For goodness sake bring back Pietersen and strip Cook of the captaincy. His style is not suited to one day cricket. More like one month cricket. The man sends the crowds to sleep and lets the opposition dictate play from start to finish.

Posted by billycricket on (June 4, 2014, 17:55 GMT)

Brilliant article. I agree whole heartedly, which as an avid and one eyed England supporter takes some saying. However, its what he doesn't say that intrigues me. Whilst we continue to have these double standards and an insistence on picking the likes of Bopara, Morgan, and indeed Cook himself, then all any captain can do is look for excuses. Im sick of hearing them. The one thing he doesn't address in this otherwise fine piece is the question no-one dares speak of..... The Mankad is fine after a warning, I can live with that, but watching bowling actions that wouldn't be allowed in schools cricket is and hopefully always will be unacceptable.

Posted by DrJez on (June 4, 2014, 17:51 GMT)

Cook stated in an interview that when a wicket falls you have to consolidate. But why??? It is 1980s thinking. Yes, a new batsman might need to play himself in. But simply using up the overs achieves nothing. Numbers 9,10,11 may only manage 10 or 15 runs in the last 5 overs. But why is it better for numbers 3,4,5 to score 10 or 15 runs in the middle 5 overs? Plodding to 200-9 is no better than collapsing for 150 if par is 250 or more.

Posted by Herath-UK on (June 4, 2014, 17:47 GMT)

Putting things into right perspective the England team should be last in the planet to talk of spirit of actions snatching Farbrace as they did. Then brought the Senanayake's issue right out at the decider; was there a thought that it would stop him playing or demoralise the Sri Lankan team to have a certain win. Though it says umpires reported after the game, his action was questioned by English commentators right from the beginning identifying him (& also Naraine & Ashwin ) as mystery spinners. No wonder the officials followed. England desperately wanted to win this series but underestimated the champion Sri Lankan side,poor Farbrace could not stop it.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 17:31 GMT)

England lacking the extra spin option they need all-rounders like Moeen Ali or Samit patel who can bat and ball !!!!

Posted by bobmartin on (June 4, 2014, 17:25 GMT)

I just hope this Buttler thing doesn't become another Pietersen type topic... where people go on and on and on ad infintum about it.. It's over it's done.. No amount of arguing, commenting or expressing your opinion will change the facts... Get over it and move on...

Posted by Dev-Mitra on (June 4, 2014, 17:19 GMT)

Hear hear! Attaboy George!

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 17:18 GMT)

Well done George Dobell !

We need journalists like you mate, telling the truth.

Most of all, these types of articles and opinions will help England or whoever team concerned for them to understand what they actually need to their house in order.

Absolutely brilliant words, simple and to the point!

Posted by vallavarayar on (June 4, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

Well written piece. Exposed the cockeyed attitude of the English thinking.

Posted by aahahaa on (June 4, 2014, 17:07 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith yeah I feel you. cant agree with you abt Morgan and Bell they are class like Buttler,. there are 3 already and there is Anderson and Broad and hopefully if they can uncoach Finn. plus Jordan.now there is a decent mix. wc is deep down below and under and not in the Sub cont.. dont need many spinners. I would take Root alwys and anywhere, add Cook.thats 7 and you need another 5 or 6. are there that many, YES there always are, depends how smart the selectors are.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (June 4, 2014, 16:56 GMT)

At least in the WC Stokes might be the 5th bowler that England need.

Sri Lanka were completely justified in running out Buttler. When Bell was dozily run out on the stroke of tea against India a while back most of the English ex-players said it was his own silly fault. I'm a bit surprised the pundits took a different view on this one, aside from Atherton.

Posted by cricket-india on (June 4, 2014, 16:49 GMT)

"It would be nice, too, if England simply stopped talking about the spirit of cricket. It is not relevant when their batsmen decline to walk. It is not relevant when their batsmen, in fighting for a draw, change their gloves and ask for drinks in order to use up time. It is not relevant when their bowlers sledge or try to persuade the umpire to change a ball that is not swinging. And it is not relevant when they lure coaches from opposition teams weeks before they face them in a series." how well put!!! would love to thrust this entire passage into cook's face.

Posted by KANCHANA623 on (June 4, 2014, 16:47 GMT)

This is perhaps the best article I've read in cricinfo.

Posted by i-lve-SLcricket on (June 4, 2014, 16:47 GMT)

a well written article....it sums up all the action in the series...

Posted by JoshFromJamRock on (June 4, 2014, 16:31 GMT)

For me, a great ODI batting lineup would consist of 4 aggressive batsmen with strike rates above 85, and 2 defensive batsmen with very solid techniques. I would have two aggressive openers which allows to take advantage of the powerplay scoring at 6-7 RPO. Following the openers, the solid batsmen would bat at 3 and 4 to consolidate if needed between overs 20-35 at about 5 RPO. The other aggressive batsmen will bat at 5 and 6, looking to score at 8-10 RPO for the last 15 overs. The wicket keeper and the more capable bowlers can add the finishing touches if needed.

Based on what England Have in player resources it is possible. The team could look like this:

1)Hales 2)Ali 3)Bell 4)Root 5)Morgan 6)Bopara 7)Buttler 8)Jordan 9)Broad 10)Tredwell 11)Anderson

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

very well said....i am sri lankan...and hats off to the author of this article..

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 16:21 GMT)

My england ODI team:

1. Hales 2. KP 3.Morgan 4. Bell* 5. Bopara 6. Ben Stokes 7. Butler 8. Jordan 9. S. Board 10. Tredwell 11. Anderson

Posted by BhaskarHajong on (June 4, 2014, 16:13 GMT)

Well written but i dint read it

Posted by Lalindra2012 on (June 4, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

#Superb Article! Superb insight! Quintessential article that would address and open up the eyes of the Englishmen.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (June 4, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

What I have been saying for years.. (altho most of it you don't publish)… Eng have won nothing (ODI) with these now v senior batsmen… cook morgan bopara bell… and yet they are still in the side…? other countries cannot believe the likes of bopara are still playing international cricket and yet after continually failing the same lot are unfailingly picked .. athers even wants morgan in his test side!!! It has become so cosy that whether they perform or not seems to not matter anymore… it has all become too corporate …

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

truth has been spoken, great article!!

Posted by aahahaa on (June 4, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

@Aditya Anchuri yeah people "not are" but "having been" calling for Hales's inclusion not because he is even remotely as good as KP and Tendulkar was but he is arguably the best there is. and selectors should pick the best there is. sounds simple right ??

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:56 GMT)

Well written forthright analysis of English cricket's present state.....

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

Great read, and spot on. England's top 4 in this series (Cook Bell Ballance Root) just doesn't work in ODI's (they're all fine players and it might make a decent test top 4). There simply isn't the firepower to worry good teams by hitting regular boundaries. This in turn puts a lot of pressure on Morgan, Bopara and Buttler (and now Jordan) to score quickly in the last 20 overs (or whatever is left). At least one of the top 4 needs to have extra power (Hales is an obvious candidate).

So who goes? If Cook is to continue as captain (which shouldn't be a done deal), he opens with Hales. Bell drops to 3, and Ballance goes. Root's offspin is needed. A more drastic solution might be to drop Root too, and play Moeen Ali at 4.

Alternatively, drop Cook, Morgan/Broad to captain, and a top 4 of Hales, Bell, Ballance/Root, Ali might work better.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

George well done. Nice write up. Alister is looking for an alibi for losing the series at home where conditions are in his favour. SL simply adapted better and played better cricket. Alister needs to accept this instead of finding excuses. Butler was warned not once but twice so it was quite justified in Mankad ing him. Why does Alister clamour for three three yards advantage in running between the wickets. Is that fair?

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

what a article

Posted by Shehan_W on (June 4, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

Well said, Mr. Dobell. Thanks for revealing the truth. Englishman, specially the younger generation should concentrate on improving their game to the highest level rather than whinging and blaming the opponents, umpires and the conditions. Most of the young English players seems to be more talented than their predecessors of last two decades, hence they have a better chance to win world titles if they can correct the weaknesses in their game rather than going after the opponents to coverup own mistakes.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:38 GMT)

very well. such a good article.

Posted by wapuser on (June 4, 2014, 15:37 GMT)

Well said mr.Dobell.........!

Posted by pvwadekar on (June 4, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

Wow Dobell has touched a lot of points about the spirit of cricket in this essay and kudos to him for being so forthright about it. About England's ODI performance, it is not surprising. ECB still are playing the 1990 brand of ECB cricket while the rest of the world has moved on. There is no real player(s) (batsman or bowler) who will scare the opposition team by scoring runs or taking wickets..and the players can perform (only sometimes) in English conditions. That's the biggest problem.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:22 GMT)

People are calling for Hales, which is great. He certainly would satisfy a big need in the England team, because he strikes at 100 in List A cricket. The only problem is that we are not sure about the tightness of his technique, and he needs a strong defense if he wants to bat at the top of the order. The ideal ODI batsman is in the KP/Sachin mould -- who were great Test players but also had the aggression to cut it in ODI cricket. England's top order is made up of good Test players but they don't have the natural aggression which you need in ODI cricket.

Posted by sarangsrk on (June 4, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

Well written, George. The issue that I see with England in ODIs is lack of complete focus on ODIs preparation and grooming right players accordingly. There are some good players but not real game changers. There should be more of Hales and Morgan. Also, honestly, I think Cook and Bell are 2 of same kind, slow innings builder.I don't expect them to go past QF in WC if they continue to prepare and play the same way.

Posted by geoffboyc on (June 4, 2014, 15:20 GMT)

As I said earlier George I agree with almost everything you say. However, when it comes to not walking, slowing down the game etc all teams do this when it suits them as you imply. What they do NOT normally do, as statistics show, is to "Mankad" a batsman, largely because they know their own batters do the same thing, and within reason, it's accepted by common consent. I've just watched a recording I made of the Sri Lankan innings in the Lords ODI and in the space of six overs spotted five occasions when an English bowler could have done a "Mankad" if they wished. That's not to say England don't have more serious problems to deal with.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

You have hit the bulls eye, Geroge. I feel that it is time that cricketers started running out the non-striker, with same eagerness they show in running out the batsmn, without talking of this fairy tale "spirit of cricket". This seems to be the only act ( Mankading) in cricket that retains the room for preservation of the spirit of cricket. Who is fooling whom? It must also be mentioned that modern cricket has become a batsmen's game with all the rules and playing conditions heavily stacked against the bowler. This spirit of cricket does not give any quarter to the bowler when his foot lands a few milimeters outside the popping crease. ICC must change this rule to read, to the effect, that bowler is entitled to run the non-striker out if he leaves the crease while he still has the possession of the bowl, without mentioning "delivery stide", " arm swing" etc. The game has already been made so complicated and competitive, with no place for such a " spirit" we fool ourselves with.

Posted by SL_WorldChampions on (June 4, 2014, 15:07 GMT)

The mankading incident by SL, I would say it was totally fair in this case. Butler was warned in this match, and he was doing it consistently in this and previous matches. So, he should have been mankaded.

The flip side of it, people do not see, England, Cook & Moore are dragging this to cover their inefficiency. Media is talking about the controversy, not End loosing the series in home grounds. Let's face that, Eng needed a shell to hide and they have found it here.

Posted by aahahaa on (June 4, 2014, 14:59 GMT)

been advocating the inclusion of hales for the past three years. Finn, who could be such an effective bowler in limited overs is over coached and discarded. Bopara, who is mediocre at best is playing still. Morgan, who is the only shoo in is not the captain. Bell, who has the best technique to anchor an innings and accelerate, is thrust into opening. Ballance, clearly looks out of the league. Gurney, Treadwell, less said the better. only good thing , they got rid of Dernbach. but I said the same thing when India got rid of Zaheer and then he made a comeback. to me, ECB is clueless.

Posted by cricket_slcsupport on (June 4, 2014, 14:38 GMT)

WOW what a wonderful article. A must read for Cook & Co.

Posted by Mike_Tyson on (June 4, 2014, 14:35 GMT)

I wouldn't wory too much about the test series. England should hammer both Sri Lanka and India this summer. Both are poor travellers and Eng are very good at home.

Posted by JustIPL on (June 4, 2014, 14:30 GMT)

Poms have to take it positively as they are beaten by the best of asian teams. The coming series with lesser opponents should lift the pressure on poms and they have sufficiently warmed up against SL quality to face other teams through the season. Cook is a tremendous talent and a short while ago was tipped to surpass the record of most centuries in tests and if he remains clear of controversies then it is good for him. Matt prior has done well so cook was right to say the other keeper need to wait. Also, cook is right not jump to conclusions based on ODI performance and predict test future. At least, he is not that foolish and does not remain in numbers only.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

I'd go for a hyper-aggressive side. Changes things up a bit for god's sake. England have always been a heavily defensive side, but we've got some lightning quick scoring youngsters coming through and they get the crowd riled up. My team would be 4 aggressive quicks in Broad, Anderson, Jordan and Stokes, an aggressive spin option in Kerrigan/Panesar, then get Buttler and Hales in the squad. Stick with Ballance and Root and build a young new team to last a few years rather than picking old timers.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

The rediscovered bite in the bowling of Jimmy Anderson? We know that he always bowls well in England. It is outside of England that he will not measure up especially if he has lot a yard or so in pace.

Posted by wapuser on (June 4, 2014, 14:23 GMT)

Very well said Sir, George. You have clearly pointed out how good is England cricket team and their spirits on and off the field. Show what you can do rather than criticising. You just can't cover up your failures. Grow up boys.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 14:15 GMT)

1.Hales 2.Bell 3.Vince 4.Morgan 5.Bopara 6.Buttler 7.Stokes 8.Jorden 9.Broad 10.Tredwell 11. Anderson. Depending on Cobditions They Can Add another Spinner as Well.. Any one Can Suggest any other player..

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 14:14 GMT)

Much needed article for English players, board but not for English fans who have realized the situation much better than the officials. I'm excited to see how will be the reaction and feeling of Cook and selectors when they go-through the articles reported following the poor performance throughout the tournament. I'm not sure they read the comments blow the articles, if so they would have able to get at-lease a fair idea about where they stand at the moment.

Posted by SuperScorebox on (June 4, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

Excellent article which sums up precisely what many people feel.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

A very good article which highlights recent events in the correct perspective. It is also food for thought for English selectors. when Jos Butler notched up his excellent century it was most surprising that Allistair Cook said that he was still not qualified enough to join the exclusive band of Test crickerters . Maybe he is not but this decision is made by a selection committee not by Cook alone.Thankfully from the Sri Lankan point of view Alex Hale was left out of the 50 over ODI's.In my view English electors are too cautious they should expose young players with potential to the International arena and let them get the opportunity of swimming in the deep so to speak

Posted by samindad123 on (June 4, 2014, 14:07 GMT)

Great article. No point trying to accuse the captain of the opposition team once you lose the match. The biggest mistake they have done is not including some aggressive players with better strike rate such as Alex Hales.

Posted by Balladeer on (June 4, 2014, 13:56 GMT)

Cook, Bopara, and possibly Ballance need to go. Morgan to take captaincy. As replacements, Hales or Lumb, Stokes or Ali, and... the number 3 is tricky. Could always go with a T20-like top order of Lumb/Hales/Bell, but I quite like having an accumulator to open as well. Unlike in T20s, in ODIs you can't/shouldn't be able to slog right the way through.

The attack needs to work on its accuracy but looks good for the future, especially with Broad coming in for Gurney when fit. Those talking about a replacement for Tredwell... England barely have any spinners. Ali is a batsman who bowls. There simply isn't that option.

Enough people have said enough about the run-out issue. I'd rather not join them. England have bigger problems to worry about than Cooky's post-match waffle.

Posted by neil_dyer on (June 4, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

Excellent piece. I'm not sure where to begin with my embarrassment over English cricket at the moment. Giles Clarke is probably there or thereabouts, but as long as he continues to feather his own nest, I don't suppose we shall see too much change. The entire selectorial policy is a joke - indeed, had I not written this comment, I would have been batting at 5 and been first change bowler for the tests this summer.

Posted by MarkTaffin on (June 4, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

Spot on article, George. England lost a match due to poor selections and bad performances. This was made worse by the petulant behaviour of some of the team, and particularly Cook, who wasn't in the strongest position after recent history to begin with.

Posted by bobmartin on (June 4, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

The way I see it.. is that as long as they have this same game plan.. England is unlikely to improve.. After all, why keep trying the same thing when it consistently fails to produce the desired result. Test match mindset amongst the top 5 batters is completely inappropriate in the one-day game. Hanging on to your wicket at the expense of run-rate is the road to failure... I wonder what Hales, Patel, Taylor and a few of the others around the counties have done to upset the selectors..How many more failures can Morgan get away with.. Even allowing for hs century in the Windies, is Root really a one-day batsman... And where are the English bowlers who can bowl yorkers at pace... decidedly absent.. There's a lot of holes in this England one-day squad through which the opposition is pouring... and unless we fill them in and quickly..we're a sinking ship..

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

Spot on, great article. England managed to show some signs of good cricket but the poor batting over-shadowed the all too few good displays. James Taylor, and certainly Alex Hales needed a knock, Cook is a great test player but always leaves you frustrated in the short forms. Same old, same old, it just ain't working. The dismissal, disappointing from an England viewpoint but move on, don't dwell on it.

Posted by hambat on (June 4, 2014, 13:43 GMT)

I don't think Cook is treated fairly here. Sure he would want to push the run rate and carry his bat through if he could. But without a solid, dependable middle order, he would remain overly cautious in his batting as the prospects of a middle orfder collapse is always there with England.. When openers get done early, one can't look up to Morgan and/or Bopara for salvation.They are just not good enough at that level. There's been so much hype about the two of them, esp. Morgan whom many Middx supporters would agree isn't an automatic choice for the county IX. And as for young Root, he need to focus on being a top-class batsman and stop thinking that he's an all-rounder. His contribution with the ball is just a bonus to the team, that is if his service is ever needed.

Posted by Cannuck on (June 4, 2014, 13:34 GMT)

Wow, great write up, especially the last 2 paragraphs. Can't argue with facts & logic. Well done Mr. Dobell… my hat off to you!

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 13:30 GMT)

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the Buttler dismissal. All the way back in the under-11s, we were taught that backing up too much can get you run out. He was even warned, yet continued to do it. No-one's fault but his own.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 13:28 GMT)

The best article I'v ever read in cricinfo. Sachithra's actions were far more 'cricket' [as opposed to not being cricket] than stealing a coach from under the touring team's nose on the eve of a tour. I'm sure there would have been some satisfied handshakes with Paul Farbrace last evening.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

Problem with England is that they have too many one dimensional players in their IX. Cook Ballance And Root they all cant really exlrate and cant even score in access of a 75-80 Strike Rate. They should get hales at the top of the order.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (June 4, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

Things won't change until they decide to look at the option of removing cook from the ODI squad. For all his skills in test matches, he is a misfit in today's ODI world. The challenge for England is to recognize it and not get stuck with him and look every where else for a solution. I firmly believe that Alex Hales might have got them off to better starts and helped build momentum. Instead they tend to hope that Bopara and Butler will rescue the innings every time. They genuinely need a spinner to back up Tredwell. God forbid he gets injured, they would be struggling to put a team together. And they could definitely do with a little less whining every time they lose games.

Posted by Mutukisna on (June 4, 2014, 13:04 GMT)

An excellent article. Food for thought for the England management and players. What's holding up the selection of Alex Hales for the ODIs where a bolder approach is required. Hopefully, we will see a revamped team with an aggressive strategy and application for the ODI series against India, with the 2015 WC only months away.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:58 GMT)

I love the last 2 paragraphs , you hit it right on the head of the nail

Posted by Webba84 on (June 4, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

Second to last paragraph really sums it up.

Posted by sanathhs on (June 4, 2014, 12:56 GMT)

Great article. i love to last two para. It tell real truth.Cook try to hide his defeat by that incident. I think first cook have teach him team mate(Root) to walk after out, then team management to not stole opponent coach , then only he can ask for spirit of Cricket.

Posted by Hush78 on (June 4, 2014, 12:56 GMT)

Unbelievable article and like everyone agree with the last 2 para ..I think the biggest mistake England did was retaing cook as captain after so many failures recently. Cook is a very weak leader as you can see from his dealing of this mankading incident. There are a lot of loop holes in England set up if you see the serious averages of players whack cook need to identify / rectify and acknowledge to improve. But his focus is on 1 incident for which his player shoul be blamed after ignoring rules of the game even after being reminded as a cirtesy. I hope england will choose a strong leader soon and build their team as the way cook continuing he is loosing England fans for n field performance and off field honesty and fair conduct .

Posted by Malik_Murad on (June 4, 2014, 12:51 GMT)

Excellent article ! George has written a nice article. I strongly believe that Cook should read this article and must understand that he can't call a textbook dismissal a controversial one ! Why didn't Cook mention that Buttler was warned atleast 2 times before he was dismissed in this fashion. What about those 22 singles in the last ODI which ENG took while running before the ball is balled. Captain Cook should really think on ares of improvement to move forward from here. Good Luck !

Posted by David_Boon on (June 4, 2014, 12:51 GMT)

Fantastic article George, one of the best I have read in a very long time.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:49 GMT)

what an article......very well said........

Posted by Johnno001 on (June 4, 2014, 12:47 GMT)

George's point about the positive aspects of England's performance in this series are well made, but none of them refer to our batting. Our batting failed totally in the winter and continues to look vulnerable now, and the thing that really worries me is the inability to adapt to anything other than "normal" conditions. In the ODI team, Cook is more of a problem than a solution - he simply doesn't have the range or weight of shot to be a succesful part of the new era, an era where scores of 300 are commonplace. This won't stop him being England's most succesful Test bastman ever, but play to your strengths....

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

SPOT ON ! Nothing to add or coment on.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:44 GMT)

The Fabrace issue alone is enough to show how spiritless in cricket England are. As it was, stealing the opposition's coach didn't really do them much good, did it? Trounced 3-2 in their own backyard says it all. Tactics and selection were shocking. SL were probably laughing at their stupidity at leaving out Alex Hales, the guy who gave them so much trouble during the T20WC and the one-off T20.

Posted by CodandChips on (June 4, 2014, 12:42 GMT)


I agree completeley with what you say George about the "spirit of cricket". I find it's such a grey area. At the end of the day, Buttler was given a warning (which is not a requirement just common practice and trying to be nice) but ignored it.

England also have not looked at a squad of players. What happens if Tredwell gets injured? Who is the back-up? Why was a promising young cricketer of Woakes' time wasted by being in the squad and not playing where as Tim Bresnan was released back to Yorkshire?

Absolutely fantastic article. But unfortunately you'll probably be able to publish it more times in the future, just updating the odd part.

Posted by CodandChips on (June 4, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

Absolutely brilliant article. I've read it through 3 times and can't disagree with a word of it.

The top order are not doing their job of batting through. If you're going to start slowly, you have to bat through. When was the last time Cook or Bell scored 70+? We do miss Trott.

Since Moores took over there have been just 3 debuts. 2 belonging to the same player who had already featured in an England squad, and 1 belonging to a player who had already struggled for England in the other 2 formats.

"They also missed an opportunity in this series. They missed the chance to take a look at the likes of James Vince, James Taylor and Alex Hales at this level. They missed the chance to try something new." Hallelujah. They didn't really try anything new. Same old players. Same old tactics. Taylor had a sensational list a season last year. He can bat through like Cook and Bell are supposed to, but can also clear the ropes easily.


Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:36 GMT)

A very well written piece. The last two paragraphs are brilliant. Not just for the truth they tell, but the elegant way in which they tell it. Good job !

Posted by cricketdebator on (June 4, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

The above is the best article I have read in a very long time. Thank you Mr Dobell for putting things in perspective so aptly, as far as England is concern. Imagine England talking about "spirit of the game." They make me laugh. Has Cook forgotten the incident last year involving Stuart Broad? Ha, ha.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Fantastic Article. I doubt there could have begin better one at this stage.

Posted by BlakeHoulihan on (June 4, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

Powerful stuff from George Dobell. Someone e-mail it to the English team.

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (June 4, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

Root Hales Bell Ballance Morgan Bopara Buttler then the bowlers. Bell isn't an opener. Root is. Cook isn't a one day batsman. Hales is.

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (June 4, 2014, 12:28 GMT)

It is too easy to link the two things together George. I didn't get a sense from what I heard that they were blaming defeat either on either of Sananayake's actions though they may not like either)

Similarly they are trying out players - Ballance, Jordan and Gurney and did try out (all be it under a different regime) Hales, Stokes, Lumb, Ali and Wright in the West Indies with verious degrees of success ( and let's remember Root was the most successful middle order batsman there. At some stage they need to decide on a settled side and that will not please everyone because we all have our favourites. Other wise the complainst (including yours) will be about headless chicken selections.

Given Broad will return anyway I think they need to decide on just two places - the batting fifth bowler (and I assume they hope this will be Stokes) and one attacking batsman ( which could be Ballance, Hales or Patel). They also need Morgan to fire.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

Amazing articulated. I couldn't have done it better myself.

Posted by geoffboyc on (June 4, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

Absolutely right, especially about tunnel-visioned selection and purposeless batting at the top end. England didn't deserve to win the series. I disagree about Chris Jordan though. With so little Championship cricket under his belt I think he's one to keep in reserve for now. I'd go for Liam Plunkett who is bowling with pace and hostility since getting fit again and joining up with Jason Gillespie at Headingley. And he can handle a bat as he's shown this season again.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

I think the last few paragraphs really hit the nail on the head and England's attitude has been quite poor for some time now, I reckon. They really need a hard head in charge to tell them how it is, not a captains choice coach that is going to pander to them. They also need a captain who is going to tell them they simply weren't good enough on the day, not a sympathiser. The leadership around the team really is poor, but who is going to do better? I don't know the county scene well enough to answer that question. I'm not sure England is going to have the same quick turnaround in fortunes like the Aussies recently have without some very hard decisions being met.

Posted by Madpashcrickers on (June 4, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

Agreed re England's top order scoring rate, it's hopeless. England have moved on slightly from the time when Michael Vaughan had the brass neck to actually try to justify England scoring 9 off the first 9 overs of a world cup game as 'building a platform' - but they haven't moved on that much.

The mysteriousness of mystery spin has been aided and abetted somewhat by unnecessary technological obfuscations. Cricket should be a simple game - if it looks like a throw then it is a throw.

The most complicated it should get is - if it looks like a throw to two experienced test umpires on the field, then it's a throw.

Posted by hussyboy81 on (June 4, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

What a fantastic article George... hit the nail on the head.. this like the POT calling the KETTLE black!!! Irrespective of the run-out of Butler, the writing was always on the wall...

Posted by Junglisst on (June 4, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

From "In years to come" to the end of the second paragraph, George captures the totality of this debate. Succintly captured and totally frank. Can't ask for any more fair analysis than that. Thank you Mr Dobell !

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 12:16 GMT)

Very good article. Especially the last two paragraph's.

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