England v West Indies, Twenty20, Trent Bridge June 24, 2012

England tick off each new challenge

Victory in the Twenty20, led by Alex Hales, capped a fine start to the season by England who continue to find new matchwinners
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It is true that sterner tests await, but the first portion of England's summer could hardly have gone better. Victorious in Tests, ODIs and their only Twenty20 international, they have once again made decent opposition look deceptively poor. Whatever their issues in Asian conditions, England remain desperately tough to beat in their own backyard.

Their Test success was not, perhaps, surprising. West Indies were lacking several senior players and, in these conditions, England were always likely to prove too strong. Still, it is worth remembering how England struggled in the winter. No victory should be taken for granted.

But the limited-overs success is particularly impressive. West Indies, blessed with the return of most of their leading payers, looked strong and confident and England were forced to confront a series of unforeseen challenges. The sudden retirement of Kevin Pietersen, for example, could have unsettled both the ODI and the T20I teams.

Instead England adapted with admirable aplomb. Indeed, such was the way that Ian Bell embraced opening in ODIs and Alex Hales flourished in this T20I that Pietersen's departure left barely a ripple. There will, no doubt, be times in the months ahead when he is sorely missed - talents like Pietersen are rare and precious - but it is testament to the strength of the entire England set-up - the county game, the Lions, the England team management, the success of the three-captain experiment et al. - that such a blow can be born so lightly.

"It is an inexperienced batting line-up," Stuart Broad, England's Twenty20 captain admitted afterwards, "but with inexperience you also get fearlessness. Guys just go out and hit the ball. Chasing 170 is quite daunting, but I don't think we ever had any negative thoughts in our mind. We just expected to get it; 170, on that wicket, was very gettable, and we had guys left in the changing room who could have won that game.

"On paper we would all have looked at their line-up, with Gayle and Smith and Samuels and Bravo and Narine all successful in the IPL, and thought of them as favourites. So to have won in the manner we did was hugely pleasing.

"We have guys who are consistently performing on the county circuit and it is good to see them step-up and do it on the international stage as well. It's great to see young players come into the team and perform. It's a sign of the team developing that you give guys responsibility and they really grab their opportunities."

There were some areas of concern for England. Jade Dernbach's last two overs cost 33 runs; Craig Kieswetter has passed 18 only twice in 11 innings and his strike-rate is an underwhelming 113.85; Jos Buttler was unable, through no fault of his own, to provide any further clues of his readiness to prosper at this level. Generally, however, this was an impressive performance with Steven Finn, with the ball, Jonny Bairstow, in the field, and Hales and Ravi Bopara, with the bat, providing the match-winning contributions.

Hales needed this innings. Under some pressure for his place from Alastair Cook - Broad admitted that a recall for Cook had been discussed - he has not made a century in Championship, T20 or one-day cricket for Nottinghamshire this season. Here, however, he showed a welcome ability to play on both sides of the wickets - his reputation as a predominantly off-side player looked silly as he pulled and hooked and worked to leg - and, as his innings progressed, some unusually deft touches which hinted at real class. Aged just 23, too, he has time on his side.

But if is Hales who will win the headlines, Bopara was just as impressive. He timed his innings perfectly, played selflessly and looked a player of some composure and maturity. For a man whose temperament has been question in the past, it was another demonstration that he may well be on the cusp of finally fulfilling his talent in all forms of international cricket.

It was, perhaps, fitting that the moment of defeat should be secured by a West Indies' misfield. For all the hints of improvement West Indies have shown during this tour, the fact is they have lost all five international games in which there was meaningful play. On each occasion, they have promised for a while only to let themselves down with a poor passage of play.

Darren Sammy, looking exhausted, admitted his side had been out played and offered warm praise to England.

"We have just been dominated by the number-one team in the world in all formats of the game," he said. "On paper we had a really strong team, but you need to go out and string together consistently good performances and that's what England have done throughout the series and we haven't.

"We have got to be consistently good in all three departments, batting, bowling and fielding. We are doing some good stuff but we are not doing it consistently for long enough. We have to string together performances that will get the team to win."

Nor will Sammy and his team enjoy any respite. They fly out of England on Monday and start another T20 series against New Zealand, in Florida, on Saturday. "We don't get a break until the August 7," Sammy said with the air of a man who had circled the date in his diary with some anticipation.

Sammy also defended the performance of Sunil Narine, who has been disappointingly innocuous in all formats in England. There was just a suggestion that the mystery of Narine, like Ajantha Mendis before him, had quickly been dispelled.

"To be fair to Sunil, the wickets he's played on haven't always suited his play," Sammy said. "The more he plays out there on the international scene, there is more footage, so batsman find ways to score off you. It happened to Mendis: when he first came out he was very difficult to pick but after a while people got used to him. But I know once Sunil gets the type of wickets that really suit him he will be very difficult to play. Swann has not been so effective in this series and he has been playing here throughout his career. It is Sunil's first away tour, so he will learn from this experience."

Perhaps the most important lesson on this tour from a West Indies perspective was that there will be no quick-fixes to their problems. It will take more than the return of a big-hitting opening batsman or the emergence of a mystery spinner to paper over the cracks of a Caribbean cricket system that is fatally flawed. Sammy has been asked to put out a forest fire with a mug of water. He has an almost impossible task.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on June 27, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    @Valavan on (June 26 2012, 17:02 PM GMT) - British weathermen are more accurate with their predictions

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    @CS - I too would be delighted with any sort of win but admit Aus start as slight favourites. I'm not sure they do put that much emphasis on speed and we all know which particular Oz fan(s) made a big deal about speed and how seriously do we take those comms? I think Lee is like Gul in that on his day he can do serious damage but if his radar is off he can go for runs. Finn can also be like that. Aus are not invincible or unvulnerable as you put it but like Eng in T20 are prob better on the pitch than they look on paper. I also think they could have had just a 3 match OD series and had a few T20s but it is what it is. As an Eng fan I'm still sceptical as we've had so many false alarms in the past. BTW I believe you'll have been happy with the Crusaders performance this evening. Happy with the Sabres - Kirby has become an unlikely Mr Consistent in T20s this year while Alfy seems to be going for quite a few

  • Valavan on June 26, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    @rahulcricket007, though you were predicting Windies fightback about 10 days ago, still you and your mates continue to lick your wounds and biting dust. We have a team and we get it done that way. OK, T20 WC will happen in sometime, then we can speak of it instead tendulkar,india and all your looser stuffs. cricinfo please publish.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    JG, this is going to be a tough series. For both sides. It will not finish 5-0. To be honest, even a 3-2 England win would be an amazing result while, personally, I think that Australia have to start favourites, but they are not as good, nor as invulnerable in this format as they think. Rather than seeing a Lee/Johnson/Doherty attack, which we know all about, I wish that they would play the young bowlers and give us a sighter of the next Ashes squad, which I cannot believe will feature any of the three. Anyway, I continue to feel that the emphasis placed on having "four bowlers who can get up to 150km/h" is probably the wrong one (remember when England tried it in 2006/07 and found that the "quality" part of "quality pace" was fundamental?). An attack like that could blow England away for under 100 but, equally, it could go for 350 if the radar is faulty and the pitch flat.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    @CS - I guess you are talking about Lee as retired or is Hogg in the squad. To be fair I think Lee is still decent in ODIs and I think Mitchell has been surprisingly consistent in ODIs. The way I see it is that Aus must be consistent in this format for a reason. We'll see what happens and re gloating comms I've seen a similar number of English posters who have been as guilty on this one. If we beat Aus it will be a great result.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    @JG, plenty in the parallel threads. And not just from the usual suspects. It seems that this series is hardly worth Australia's time and effort because it will be too easy :-). It is going to be interesting because having told us about the amazing new crop of young fast bowlers for the last year, the attack is going to rest on a bowler who I had thought was retired (honest!!) and another who gives a whole new meaning to "paintspray-like control". Brett Lee is going to be an interesting one to watch because he has never been especially successful in England (in the 2005 Ashes he took a lot of wickets, but at well over 40 each). It looks like the Australians are going for pace, rather than the West Indian mantra of "quality pace": badly directed fast bowling just flies to the boundary faster. It will be interesting to see if Brett Lee, Mitch Johnson, Cummins and the like will be able to deliver quality pace. I am also very interested to see the badly mauled Doherty in action again.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    @Karen, exactly! DRS was not conclusive. There was no obvious error, so the decision stood. DRS worked perfectly, as it does when there is a review and the ball is just clipping leg stump... the decision remains "umpire's call", as it should be.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    Easy to check the Hales lbw. Here is the 1st over from Rampaul: 0.1 Rampaul to Kieswetter, 1 wide, slides down the leg side and makes a dent in the extras column straight up; 0.1 Rampaul to Kieswetter, no run, good length and in line with off stump this time, shows it the full face of the bat; 0.2 Rampaul to Kieswetter, no run, length ball, on the stumps, forward defensive ... Rampaul thinks it was pad first. It might have been but height was also a question; 0.3 Rampaul to Kieswetter, 1 run, length and Kieswetter tries to launch this one out of the park, the ball instead looping just over mid-on running back; First look at Hales for the Windies today; 0.4 Rampaul to Hales, 1 run, straight, good length, nudged wide of mid-on; 0.5 Rampaul to Kieswetter, 1 run, length delivery, swivel pulled to midwicket - they only get one, even though Chris Gayle slips over whilst backing up; 0.6 Rampaul to Hales, 1 run, on the stumps, ticked into the leg side. Don't see too many Hales lbws there.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    @CS - Don't actually see any Aus gloating comms on this thread apart from the usual suspect and does anyone still take him seriously ?

  • jmcilhinney on June 26, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    @Karen Fabien on (June 25 2012, 16:19 PM GMT), you are mistaken. Hales faced two balls in Rampaul's first over and took a single off each of them. You're thinking of Kieswetter, who was out a few balls later anyway, so it made basically no difference. Nice try but you might want to get your facts straight next time.

  • JG2704 on June 27, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    @Valavan on (June 26 2012, 17:02 PM GMT) - British weathermen are more accurate with their predictions

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    @CS - I too would be delighted with any sort of win but admit Aus start as slight favourites. I'm not sure they do put that much emphasis on speed and we all know which particular Oz fan(s) made a big deal about speed and how seriously do we take those comms? I think Lee is like Gul in that on his day he can do serious damage but if his radar is off he can go for runs. Finn can also be like that. Aus are not invincible or unvulnerable as you put it but like Eng in T20 are prob better on the pitch than they look on paper. I also think they could have had just a 3 match OD series and had a few T20s but it is what it is. As an Eng fan I'm still sceptical as we've had so many false alarms in the past. BTW I believe you'll have been happy with the Crusaders performance this evening. Happy with the Sabres - Kirby has become an unlikely Mr Consistent in T20s this year while Alfy seems to be going for quite a few

  • Valavan on June 26, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    @rahulcricket007, though you were predicting Windies fightback about 10 days ago, still you and your mates continue to lick your wounds and biting dust. We have a team and we get it done that way. OK, T20 WC will happen in sometime, then we can speak of it instead tendulkar,india and all your looser stuffs. cricinfo please publish.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    JG, this is going to be a tough series. For both sides. It will not finish 5-0. To be honest, even a 3-2 England win would be an amazing result while, personally, I think that Australia have to start favourites, but they are not as good, nor as invulnerable in this format as they think. Rather than seeing a Lee/Johnson/Doherty attack, which we know all about, I wish that they would play the young bowlers and give us a sighter of the next Ashes squad, which I cannot believe will feature any of the three. Anyway, I continue to feel that the emphasis placed on having "four bowlers who can get up to 150km/h" is probably the wrong one (remember when England tried it in 2006/07 and found that the "quality" part of "quality pace" was fundamental?). An attack like that could blow England away for under 100 but, equally, it could go for 350 if the radar is faulty and the pitch flat.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    @CS - I guess you are talking about Lee as retired or is Hogg in the squad. To be fair I think Lee is still decent in ODIs and I think Mitchell has been surprisingly consistent in ODIs. The way I see it is that Aus must be consistent in this format for a reason. We'll see what happens and re gloating comms I've seen a similar number of English posters who have been as guilty on this one. If we beat Aus it will be a great result.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    @JG, plenty in the parallel threads. And not just from the usual suspects. It seems that this series is hardly worth Australia's time and effort because it will be too easy :-). It is going to be interesting because having told us about the amazing new crop of young fast bowlers for the last year, the attack is going to rest on a bowler who I had thought was retired (honest!!) and another who gives a whole new meaning to "paintspray-like control". Brett Lee is going to be an interesting one to watch because he has never been especially successful in England (in the 2005 Ashes he took a lot of wickets, but at well over 40 each). It looks like the Australians are going for pace, rather than the West Indian mantra of "quality pace": badly directed fast bowling just flies to the boundary faster. It will be interesting to see if Brett Lee, Mitch Johnson, Cummins and the like will be able to deliver quality pace. I am also very interested to see the badly mauled Doherty in action again.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    @Karen, exactly! DRS was not conclusive. There was no obvious error, so the decision stood. DRS worked perfectly, as it does when there is a review and the ball is just clipping leg stump... the decision remains "umpire's call", as it should be.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 26, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    Easy to check the Hales lbw. Here is the 1st over from Rampaul: 0.1 Rampaul to Kieswetter, 1 wide, slides down the leg side and makes a dent in the extras column straight up; 0.1 Rampaul to Kieswetter, no run, good length and in line with off stump this time, shows it the full face of the bat; 0.2 Rampaul to Kieswetter, no run, length ball, on the stumps, forward defensive ... Rampaul thinks it was pad first. It might have been but height was also a question; 0.3 Rampaul to Kieswetter, 1 run, length and Kieswetter tries to launch this one out of the park, the ball instead looping just over mid-on running back; First look at Hales for the Windies today; 0.4 Rampaul to Hales, 1 run, straight, good length, nudged wide of mid-on; 0.5 Rampaul to Kieswetter, 1 run, length delivery, swivel pulled to midwicket - they only get one, even though Chris Gayle slips over whilst backing up; 0.6 Rampaul to Hales, 1 run, on the stumps, ticked into the leg side. Don't see too many Hales lbws there.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    @CS - Don't actually see any Aus gloating comms on this thread apart from the usual suspect and does anyone still take him seriously ?

  • jmcilhinney on June 26, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    @Karen Fabien on (June 25 2012, 16:19 PM GMT), you are mistaken. Hales faced two balls in Rampaul's first over and took a single off each of them. You're thinking of Kieswetter, who was out a few balls later anyway, so it made basically no difference. Nice try but you might want to get your facts straight next time.

  • RandyOZ on June 25, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    @5wombats - cannot wait for you to go deathly quiet AGAIN. Just like you did during the entire UAE and SL series. Fairweather supporter in all sense of the word.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 25, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    I don't rate the play in the Edgbaston test, brief though it was, as meaningless, and West Indies had the better of it, the first time they've really had the better of a test in England in 17 tests they've played here. Some memories are short.

  • on June 25, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    Hales was out LBW to Ravi Ramphal in his 1st over and Umpire said not out, DRS system showed the ball was crashing in middle and leg stump. The game would have changed. Note also Gayle was given out as well when DRS was not conclusive....

  • 5wombats on June 25, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer...."Australia's superiority in ODIs can no longer be taken for granted". Hey mate, good comms, we completely agree. England are hard to beat at home - any format - there is plenty of evidence. Australia have in the past been good, but note 'in the past'. They hoped their competitive juices would retain the ODI WC for them. But they crashed out at the same stage as England. On neutral pitches - say in SA or WI, we would say that England would beat Australia - because Eng have better bowlers. But here in England we have a decisive advantage; swing bowling, about which Australians, even quite good Australians like the 2005 mob, know very little. Pick a format; In England we will beat Australia. True - there is a lot of bluff and swagger about Australian cricketers, but these days England aren't taken in by any of that. As the Australians found in The Ashes 2010/11, England are made of sterner stuff these days.

  • CricketingStargazer on June 25, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    It's noticeable that our Australian friends have got their gloating in before the ODI series starts, rather than waiting to see the results and gloating afterwards. A curious lack of confidence in their side from them. This is going to be an interesting test of where England are. The West Indies caused the Australians almost more problems than they could cope with only a couple of months ago, admitted in their own conditions, but it was still an interesting result that suggests that Australia's superiority in ODIs can no longer be taken for granted.

  • dar268 on June 25, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Surely this was a victory for the much derided county cricket (Hales, Bopara and Finn to the fore) over the massively over-hyped IPL (Gayle, Pollard and Narine to the back)

  • rahulcricket007 on June 25, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    WOW , JUST INNINGS FROM HALES & DOBELL IS REPLACING HIM WITH KP , LOLZ KP WAS THE REASON YOU WON T20 AGAINST INDIA & PAK IN UAE & WON T20 WC .

  • rahulcricket007 on June 25, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    THOUGH ENGLAND ARE NO .1 IN T20S BUT I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN WC IN SL . I BET WC WILL BE WIN BY EITHER SL , PAK OR INDIA . WE ALL KNOW HOW GOOD ENGLISH BATSMEN ARE AGAINST SPINNERS IN SUBCONTINENT .

  • allblue on June 25, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    Since winning the World T20 England have won 10 and lost 3, including victories in Australia, UAE and India. I'm not quite sure why this is, they don't look to be too impressive a side on paper but their record is excellent and fully merits their No. 1 ranking in this format. Like many I'm sure, I had WI as slight favourites yesterday, but for 32 out of the 40 overs England were in complete control, a very fine performance indeed. I do think this format (and ODIs) would benefit from a standardisation, these odd games here and there give it all a disjointed feel. I like the NZ approach of 3-3-3 across the formats for their home series. It gives better context to the shorter forms and banishes the 2 Test double-headers (not series in my view) so beloved by the ICC. As long as allowance is made for 'Icon' Test series, regularising the shorter form series would help to bring some order out of the present chaos.

  • JG2704 on June 25, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    @neerajprasher on (June 25 2012, 03:02 AM GMT) Last time India beat us 5-0 was actually 2011 so you're actually doing yourself short in your boasting there. Maybe you were still in hiding after what happened in England ? It would be quite nice if folk like you would occasionally say "Well played England" even if you have to post a load of gloating comms on the same thread. Please publish

  • JG2704 on June 25, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    @v_singh on (June 25 2012, 05:49 AM GMT) Dull - a combined total of 350 runs where a game looked in the balance up til the last few overs. Maybe a little fake atmosphere and commentary inc the terms City Moment Of Success and DLF maximums and you'd have changed your opinion. Not shallow at all. Please publish

  • SDHM on June 25, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Jackiethepen - we've said it before, but whilst Hales has had a mixed start to season, what has Taylor had? The 100 for Notts on Sky and the other one for the Lions are the only two innings of note he's played in the last year or so, he's had a horror run. He'll get his chance sooner or later, he doesn't have to be thrown in straight away. v_singh - if you're talking about that bugle sound, it's used at all sporting events round the world at the moment it seems, it's hardly an IPL invention! It's an odd thing to claim too - why on earth would Indians watch an England game just because of a musical motif? Hardly the time or place to be arguing over such trivial things though, so I'll stop.

  • 5wombats on June 25, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    It didn't take Finn long to work Gayle over and then get him out. In typical Caribbean fashion someone in the New Stand shouted "stop posing man and give your heart instead" as Gayle walked off. He heard it too. IPL has filled the pockets of some of these WI players and built up their hype - but it doesn't mean they are any good when they play proper international cricket. Meanwhile - Hales was marvellous yesterday. Sure, its only one innings and T20 is a hit n miss affair - but that was as good as KP at his best. Wombat junior loved it! We need to be cautious about the loss of KP - but who's to say that we haven't got players who are just as capable in the short formats? As we saw yesterday - the England talent is there. Now it's going to get it's chance. We think England will win the ODI series v Aus

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on June 25, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    Finally Chris Gayle is back in WI... and ?? and WI still end up losing like they always do , so much for Gayle being the savior of WI cricket

  • JG2704 on June 25, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    @landl47 on (June 25 2012, 00:46 AM GMT) WI lost both games by large margins with Gayle playing in? You actually thought yesterday's was a large margin. I thought it was nip and tuck til the last few overs and even then I didn't feel 100% comfortable. Gayle was highly effective in the 1st ODI until his controversial (IMO correct) dismissal. I do get the gist of what you say but I think KP is different to Gayle is that when playing he is always 100% committed to the team inc intense preparation. I still think we will miss KP and it's still too early to say we don't miss him even if the signs are good.

  • on June 25, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    The big player syndrome is an interesting phenomenon. There was a sense of supporter-panic whenever Flintoff became injured and there was then a media frenzy when Pietersen became 'retired' from T20/ODI. The question is how teams deal with this, all teams have had this from time to time.

    DO teams have the collective strength of character to over-ride the loss of the 'international superstar'? Perhaps the superstar was actually a destructive force in the dressing room or some kind of negative influence?

    Do teams have the depth of talent to deal with the superstar leaving?

    No answers, just questions.....

  • jackiethepen on June 25, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    Hales has had a mixed season. He played a wonderful t20 innings but it is a bit early to say KP won't be missed!! And to talk of Hales opening in the 50 over game! Are the fans mad? Kieswetter couldn't make the crossover and he was given a go three times! The problem is that young guys want six hitting young guys to succeed and this leads to someone like Bairstow being introduced to Test cricket far too early. Morgan not having enough four day skills. etc. It is bad practice and its stops young cricketers thinking they need to learn proper cricket shots, a decent defence and technique etc. Why do you think Australia are suddenly short of decent young batsmen? We don't want England going down the same road. Someone like Taylor should be more promoted.

  • v_singh on June 25, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    "Under some pressure for his place from Alastair Cook - Broad admitted" - Broad must be joking !! Cook for T20 :)

    Watched the match yesterday (am from India).. On TV, each time a 4 / 6 was hit, the IPL tune played in the background !! I do not think ECB would have had "such musical" arrangement on their grounds and so I assume it was to sell English T20 game to Indian audience.. However, I must admit, without the noise, it looked pretty dull watching the T20 match. I kept switching channels to watch football (re-telecast of Euro 2012 match) again & again...

  • jmcilhinney on June 25, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    @landl47 on (June 25 2012, 00:46 AM GMT), some good points there. I'm interested to know who did and didn't turn up to that optional practice. Under the circumstances, I don't understand why it was optional or why everyone didn't turn up anyway. Having just come back into the team and being someone with experience and an almost mythical figure that the younger players could look up to, you'd think that Gayle would want to set the best example possible. If he didn't turn up to that practice and it wasn't because of an injury then any benefit of the doubt goes out the window. If Gayle explicitly or implicitly discourages any other players from giving their all then he does WI cricket a disservice.

  • mikey76 on June 25, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Yeah its been a while since Broad and Swann and Anderson and Bell and Cook and Finn and .....well you get the picture. Maybe Australia should recruit some English players, they might win a match or two!

  • jmcilhinney on June 25, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    I've said more than once that no one player is going to come in and fill KP's shoes but if several players can lift their game a bit then the slack will be picked up. It's early days but we've seen Bell, Hales and Bopara all do their bit so far. If this is a sign of things to come for Hales then that's a big weight off for England. Even if Bell's current form proves to be a flash in the pan, Hales may be able to step into the breach in 50-over cricket too. If England's ODI form improves and they need less to rely on Trott's significant but possibly slowish runs then we could see Hales open and Bell at #3. They may be loathe to move Bell if he keeps up this form though, for fear of his reverting to his old, mediocre ways. Hales may be the reserve opener for the ODI team regardless, stepping in if Cook or Bell are unavailable for whatever reason. I'd say that Kieswetter may be the most at risk. I can see Bairstow taking the gloves at some point and someone like Stokes coming in.

  • neerajprasher on June 25, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    I just cant wait england tour od India.they going to lose oneday series by 5-0 like last time in 2009.all they doing playing at home and wining.they are not strong to beat Australia either.Come on England we are waitng.hurry up

  • Hammond on June 25, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    @RandyOz- "been a while"- what is Bell South African? And why do you think that this forthcoming ODI series isn't lollipop cricket?

  • landl47 on June 25, 2012, 0:46 GMT

    Let's talk about KP and Gayle. KP left, and England has won every game (bar the rain-out) without him. Gayle has come back and WI has lost both games he has played in by large margins. Why is it that the guys who are supposed to be key players haven't had much effect on the cricket? Let me suggest it's because neither of them are team players. England is lucky to have a group of players who really care about playing for England- Cook, Swann, Anderson, etc. It has always been clear that KP plays for KP; his 'jealous of the IPL' comments, for example, which merely said "I'm making more money than you are." He retired because he thought that would be better for him, not for England. Gayle's the same; he wants to play for WI on his terms or not at all, so he really doesn't care about WI cricket. Failing to turn up for an optional practice is a typical example. England has won and will win without KP; WI would do better if they ditched Gayle. Teams don't need selfish players.

  • on June 25, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Darren Sammy is a loser,, a captain needs to be a winner with winnings and killer instincts. He is neither a good bowler, batsman, or fielder or captain. Kick him and make a new young aggressive guy

  • RandyOZ on June 24, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    Good to see an actual Englishman doing well - it's been a while. Anyway it's only lollipop cricket so bring on the real stuff against the Aussies.

  • Optic on June 24, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @OliverWebber Not really the same is it, Flintoff was always injured and sometimes could hardly bowl and yet we still kept picking him, KP is hardly never injured and always gave his all for the side and he particularly carried the T20 side, add to that KP's a genuine world class player has been for years, Flintoff was ruined by injury. Make no mistake about it we are going to miss him, he's one of the best one day players in the world, how would we not, especially abroad where the likes of Hales will be found wanting big time because he's hopeless against the spinning ball. Personally all this not best for the team is nothing but made up media and hater rubbish, KP played all 3 formats for 7/8 years, just because he got out playing a attacking shot from time to time, doesn't mean he isn't a team man, with a player like KP you have to take the rough with the smooth because there's always much more smooth than rough.

  • OliverWebber on June 24, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    The absence of Pietersen is an interesting one: when Flintoff's absences started to become more frequent due to his injuries, the first reaction was "oh no, we've lost our best player and talisman", but then we started to perform better without him. With KP there is some similarity - at his best a genius, terrorising the opposition and a delight to watch, but possibly not always the best man for the team. Look at the Ashes 2009 - won without KP. I wonder if England's limited-over fortunes will actually be lifted without KP's huge personality?

  • SDHM on June 24, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    It's also interesting to note, George, that despite the many problems England had over the winter, they actually won three out of the four T20s they played. Tests and ODIs remain a concern in Asia, but I think they'll still be a threat in Sri Lanka. Not favourites certainly, but sides would do well not to underestimate them.

  • Partyman on June 24, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    There were the naysayers who were predicting 3 - 0 for the WIndies in the ODIs and Gayle cleaning everything up in front of him in that series. When that didn't materialise, they came back saying it will be WIndies all the way in the sole T20 because they have some of the destructive players in that format. Now that didn't go according to plan (my word, what a thrashing they got!!, LOL!!) now the naysayers are back saying wait till the Australians arrive. Pathetic. Now to the WIndians themselves. Hammering some lollypop bowlers in IPL is not a sign of one's prowess. WIndian big boys got found out today. And England as usual went about their business quietly whereas WIndians made a lot of noise creating a lot of hype about themselves and believed it. Now they are going home with the tails between their legs. Will be good if they concentrate on their cricket rather than their shades and hair styles!

  • HatsforBats on June 24, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    That first paragraph is strange; India get torn to shreds when they win at home and are beaten abroad. Good to see Hales play well, he looks a very promising young bat.

  • on June 24, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    So how important was this to England's plans for this summer and the winter ahead....? At the beginning of the summer they would have said 'beat West Indies in the tests, have a good ODI and... Well perhaps have fun in the T20', they ticked all those boxes and in the end won everything quite comfortably. This is the best they could have done to prepare for South Africa, they will go in with confidence - with the minor issue of an ODI series against Australia for more warming up.... They will probably also be aware that the absence of Pietersen need not be a tremendous hindrance and that there are players waiting to take on that position.

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  • on June 24, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    So how important was this to England's plans for this summer and the winter ahead....? At the beginning of the summer they would have said 'beat West Indies in the tests, have a good ODI and... Well perhaps have fun in the T20', they ticked all those boxes and in the end won everything quite comfortably. This is the best they could have done to prepare for South Africa, they will go in with confidence - with the minor issue of an ODI series against Australia for more warming up.... They will probably also be aware that the absence of Pietersen need not be a tremendous hindrance and that there are players waiting to take on that position.

  • HatsforBats on June 24, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    That first paragraph is strange; India get torn to shreds when they win at home and are beaten abroad. Good to see Hales play well, he looks a very promising young bat.

  • Partyman on June 24, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    There were the naysayers who were predicting 3 - 0 for the WIndies in the ODIs and Gayle cleaning everything up in front of him in that series. When that didn't materialise, they came back saying it will be WIndies all the way in the sole T20 because they have some of the destructive players in that format. Now that didn't go according to plan (my word, what a thrashing they got!!, LOL!!) now the naysayers are back saying wait till the Australians arrive. Pathetic. Now to the WIndians themselves. Hammering some lollypop bowlers in IPL is not a sign of one's prowess. WIndian big boys got found out today. And England as usual went about their business quietly whereas WIndians made a lot of noise creating a lot of hype about themselves and believed it. Now they are going home with the tails between their legs. Will be good if they concentrate on their cricket rather than their shades and hair styles!

  • SDHM on June 24, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    It's also interesting to note, George, that despite the many problems England had over the winter, they actually won three out of the four T20s they played. Tests and ODIs remain a concern in Asia, but I think they'll still be a threat in Sri Lanka. Not favourites certainly, but sides would do well not to underestimate them.

  • OliverWebber on June 24, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    The absence of Pietersen is an interesting one: when Flintoff's absences started to become more frequent due to his injuries, the first reaction was "oh no, we've lost our best player and talisman", but then we started to perform better without him. With KP there is some similarity - at his best a genius, terrorising the opposition and a delight to watch, but possibly not always the best man for the team. Look at the Ashes 2009 - won without KP. I wonder if England's limited-over fortunes will actually be lifted without KP's huge personality?

  • Optic on June 24, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @OliverWebber Not really the same is it, Flintoff was always injured and sometimes could hardly bowl and yet we still kept picking him, KP is hardly never injured and always gave his all for the side and he particularly carried the T20 side, add to that KP's a genuine world class player has been for years, Flintoff was ruined by injury. Make no mistake about it we are going to miss him, he's one of the best one day players in the world, how would we not, especially abroad where the likes of Hales will be found wanting big time because he's hopeless against the spinning ball. Personally all this not best for the team is nothing but made up media and hater rubbish, KP played all 3 formats for 7/8 years, just because he got out playing a attacking shot from time to time, doesn't mean he isn't a team man, with a player like KP you have to take the rough with the smooth because there's always much more smooth than rough.

  • RandyOZ on June 24, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    Good to see an actual Englishman doing well - it's been a while. Anyway it's only lollipop cricket so bring on the real stuff against the Aussies.

  • on June 25, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    Darren Sammy is a loser,, a captain needs to be a winner with winnings and killer instincts. He is neither a good bowler, batsman, or fielder or captain. Kick him and make a new young aggressive guy

  • landl47 on June 25, 2012, 0:46 GMT

    Let's talk about KP and Gayle. KP left, and England has won every game (bar the rain-out) without him. Gayle has come back and WI has lost both games he has played in by large margins. Why is it that the guys who are supposed to be key players haven't had much effect on the cricket? Let me suggest it's because neither of them are team players. England is lucky to have a group of players who really care about playing for England- Cook, Swann, Anderson, etc. It has always been clear that KP plays for KP; his 'jealous of the IPL' comments, for example, which merely said "I'm making more money than you are." He retired because he thought that would be better for him, not for England. Gayle's the same; he wants to play for WI on his terms or not at all, so he really doesn't care about WI cricket. Failing to turn up for an optional practice is a typical example. England has won and will win without KP; WI would do better if they ditched Gayle. Teams don't need selfish players.

  • Hammond on June 25, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    @RandyOz- "been a while"- what is Bell South African? And why do you think that this forthcoming ODI series isn't lollipop cricket?