Champions Trophy 2013 May 2, 2013

England look for Pietersen cover

England's one-day team has played a lot without Kevin Pietersen of late, but his absence will still be felt in the Champions Trophy

England will reveal on Friday how they aim to cover for the absence of Kevin Pietersen in the Champions Trophy when their 15-man squad is named. As hosts, and with two years of solid ODI results, especially at home, they had been tipped as one of the favourites but Pietersen's loss removes a key part of their attacking armoury.

However, while missing someone of Pietersen's matchwinning ability is a significant blow England do know how to win without him in one-day cricket. After all, he retired from both limited-overs formats last year and England proceeded to beat West Indies and Australia then draw with South Africa at home. Their most recent victory, away to New Zealand in February, also came when Pietersen was rested.

Those series have allowed England to try other players, recently Joe Root, in the middle order and he is now set to start the tournament whereas he may have been pushed back to the sidelines had Pietersen been fit. For a player with recent scores of 182 and 236, plus an ODI average of 81.50, that is quite a thought.

Pietersen, however, is a unique batsman and was set to play a key role behind the solid, but undynamic, top three of Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott. The key aggressors' role will now be in the hands of Eoin Morgan, although Root has shown outstanding adaptability in the early stages of his career, while Jos Buttler is potentially lethal over a short period batting at No. 6. With two new balls, the tweaked fielding regulations and that the tournament is being held in June, still not high summer, teams could well look to power-packed middle orders.

The reserve batsman will be Jonny Bairstow, who can also provide wicketkeeping cover, and then it is the issue of No. 7. Tim Bresnan's successful return from elbow surgery - reports are his pace is back to somewhere near what it was in 2011 - means he is the favoured option for that position. Chris Woakes, though, continues to make a strong case and there could be room for both in the squad.

Depending on how many allrounders Ashley Giles wants, there may be an international recall for another Warwickshire player. Rikki Clarke is currently sidelined by a hamstring injury, but it is unlikely to be a long-term problem and his revival at Warwickshire, largely under Giles' leadership as coach before he handed the reigns to Dougie Brown, has made him a viable option. Luke Wright, who has impressed in Twenty20 cricket, is also on the fringes.

Another option for a utility player would be Samit Patel, although he has been more effective overseas, while if a specialist batsman was desired (but that would make the squad top-heavy) then Gary Ballance earned plaudits after the Lions tour to Australia which is no mean feat on a winless trip.

The specialist bowling positions largely fill themselves providing the selectors have no concerns over Graeme Swann's prospects following elbow surgery. James Tredwell, who has proved an excellent replacement for Swann, should be included as the second spinner.

Under Cook, England's one-day record is impressive. He has continued a run where England have not been beaten at home since losing 6-1 to Australia in 2009 while Cook himself has flourished into a commanding one-day batsman. He was a driving force in getting Pietersen back into all formats for England, but he also knows about winning without him.

Possible squad Alastair Cook (capt), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Rikki Clarke/Samit Patel

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on May 3, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    I wonder where KP fits back into this England side?

    It may be more tricky than we think.

    I can't see them dropping any of the top 3 accumulators. Morgan seems to be a permenant fixture. Jos keeps wicket and Root has shown himself to be a very useful cricketer and a decent 6th bowling option which is important in these formats.

  • John on May 3, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    @Lmaotsetung on (May 3, 2013, 8:26 GMT)/ cric_J on (May 3, 2013, 7:19 GMT) - I don't think they'll consider Luke. If they were thinking of him I think they'd have played him in either the NZ or Ind OD series. I think they missed an opportunity there and they should have rested Bell from the NZ OD series and played him in one or 2 more CC matches instead. Also , I saw Wright vs RCB the other day and he was playing some really horrible , predictable shots - like he was doing a few years ago so I wonder if he's starting to regress again? Re part time bowlers , I think India's part timers are better than ours - possibly better than some of their full time bowlers in these formats?

  • John on May 3, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    I think ESPN's squad is pretty much what the selectors will go for.

    The player I have a sneaky feeling might get in is Bopara , which I wouldn't be totally against as long as he comes in below Butler and Root.I feel Bopara is more useful as a bowler than a batsman in these formats. He could come in at 7 , in between Butler/Root and the bowlers. And the team could look something like


    I would also not be against Tredwell coming in as part of a 2 man spin attack in which case you could drop one of the pacers or Bopara. The thing I like about Bopara's bowling is that it is something different from the medium/fast stuff and also from the spin. The top 6 picks itself I reckon and while I'd rather have seen a Wright or Hales in the top 3 , they have not been tried so far which makes me feel Eng are perfectly happy with their batting stocks.

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    And again the calls for Prior come, presumably from people who have no idea how poor his limited overs record is.

  • John on May 3, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    I'd pick Luke Wright as the batting all rounder who can bowl a few if Joe Root is in the squad with Trott maybe providing an over or 2. Between Wright, Root and Trott surely England can find 10 overs among them. Kinda going against my preferred 5-1-5 but that's how India plays and they been decently successful with it.

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Woakes is very consistent in County cricket but I think somehow he will be dropped for Luke Wright

  • shashwata on May 3, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    My squad would be : Cook, Bell , Trott, Root, Morgs ,Bairstow , Butler , Broady, Swanny , Jimmy, Finny , Bres, Tredwell, Wright , Woakes . And I am almost 100 % sure that is the one which is gonna be selected.

    As for the tournament predictions , although no English side can be an ideal side without KP , this still is their best team in a long while to win an ODI championship. They have been very good over the last 2 years and have not lost even one home series. But they will have to be aware of the self destruction mode that they so often slip into during the crunch moments.

    IMO there are no clear favourites .SA have been average by their own standards recently (and that choking habit) , Australia have been inconsistent , Pak have been unpredictable as always ,SL and IND have been good at home but average otherwise and NZ would be playing party spoilers the way they do in most ICC tournaments. That way England would probably go in as favourites but there will be other opinions too.

  • Ahnaf on May 3, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Are England that short of allrounders that they need to bring Rikki Clarke? I for one think Wright or Patel shouldn't be in the squad because none is good enough to make an impact in the English conditions. Also, Bresnan was in atrocious form last time he played for England, don't know why selectors are picking him again. Woakes should be given a lengthy run in the side, he's been consistent for a long time now.

  • Pushpakumara on May 3, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    England are hot favorite to win the trophy even without KP.Because their recent ODI record is very impressive.,they are playing in their conditions which suits for their medium pacers than anyone else,they have a brilliant caption, a solid batting line up and power hitters likes of Morgan,Butler,Bresnan and Swann(Broad's batting is also not bad).All they need to do are choose correct XI,set a good plan and execute it in the field.

  • Andrew on May 3, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    Anything can happen in this tournament, but no KP means that Sth Africa would be the favourites (again) before a ball is bowled. I would say England are on the 2nd shelf along with Oz & Pakistan, next SL & India & then NZ & WI. The funny thing is - even though WI & NZ are unlikely to win it, one will have had a fair bit of match practise in England & the other (WI), are the most recent short form world champions & so would be confident. Open field, much of England's chances rest on the shoulders (or elbow) of Swanny.

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