England in India 2012-13

England's top order must respond - Bell

George Dobell

January 21, 2013

Comments: 29 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni leaps after getting Ian Bell out caught, India v England, 3rd ODI, Ranchi, January 19, 2013
The series began well for Ian Bell, and England, but has gone rapidly downhill in the last two matches © BCCI

Ian Bell has acknowledged that England's top-order batsmen will have to perform far better if they are regain a footing in the ODI series against India. England suffered their second crushing loss in succession in the third ODI on Saturday to allow India to take a 2-1 lead with two games to play and Bell knows that, with England having been bowled out for totals of 158 and 155, they will need to improve substantially if they are to prevent India securing a series victory in Wednesday's game in Mohali.

It is no coincidence that England won the first game of the series following a dominant performance from their top-order. Bell and Alastair Cook posted an opening stand of 158 within 28 overs to allow the middle-order to accelerate in the later stages of the innings.

While Bell accepted that India's opening bowlers had performed admirably in the last couple of games, he stressed the need for one of England's top-order to bat through most of the innings to provide a platform for the middle-order. He hopes that the cooler conditions in Mohali might benefit England.

"If we are going to get 150, that's not going to challenge India at all in these conditions," Bell said. "We need to get runs on the board and get a senior batsman batting for the majority of the overs.

"We haven't done that in the last two games and if we do that we can push India. In the final two games we need to get into a position to hurt India at the back end of the innings.

"Their opening bowlers are very good," he added. "They have plenty of skills and swing the ball both ways. They have made us work really hard. But we need a foundation for our big hitters in the middle to get us going.

"It's a little bit more familiar here than the last couple of games and obviously that's nice. It's been very nice here, very English really. That sure helps everyone."

The situation also presents the first significant test of Ashley Giles' new career as an international coach. While Giles' first series as England's limited-overs coach was always likely to prove demanding - England's limited-overs record in India offered little room for optimism - the extent of the last two defeats has been alarming.

But, while Giles will consider changes to the England side ahead of the fourth match, he is also keen not to over-react. He knows, both from the ups and downs of his time as an international player and from his time as director of cricket at Warwickshire, that a calm appraisal of such adversity is infinitely preferable to any hint of panic or knee-jerk reaction.

"I never, or probably only a couple of times, stamped my feet when I was at Warwickshire," Giles said. "If the coach is on an emotional rollercoaster you end up with a team that is second guessing what your reaction will be if you win or lose. That's not how I want to be.

"Honesty is the important thing. You have to analyse where you've gone wrong, look at your personnel, pull those things together and ask 'are we getting it right? Is this the right mix? Are they the right people?' That's the unemotional way of looking at it.

"The hairdryer treatment works occasionally but not very often, not if you're in it for the long term. If I did that after my third game, there would be a lot of worry."

However, Giles did provide the strongest hint yet that there may be changes to the England side. Concern over Craig Kieswetter's form - though it has not been much worse than Eoin Morgan's - has raised the possibility to him making way for his Somerset team-mate, Jos Buttler, though doubts about the latter's wicketkeeping could count against him.

While England's batting has been their main downfall in the last couple of matches there will also be a temptation to make some changes to the bowling attack. Jade Dernbach has conceded his runs at a cost of an average cost of 7.79 an over in the series to date and, after 21 ODIs, concedes more runs per over than anyone to have bowled over 1,000 ODI deliveries: an average 6.28 runs per over. Mohali may provide an opportunity to take a look at Stuart Meaker.

"That statistic is tough on Jade because he's played a lot of cricket in India and it's a hard place to come and play," Giles said. "But again you have to adapt. What the Indians have done very well is hold lengths and lines, so you have to go at them to try to score. Really that's what we've got to do."

Perhaps the most obvious message to England in the series to date is how much they miss Jonathan Trott. England won 12 out of 13 ODIs involving Trott in 2012 and, in that time, were never dismissed for under 200. In three out of four games without him, however, they have failed to reach 200 and been defeated in all three. Rested for this part of the tour, he returns to the side in New Zealand.

In his absence, England might promote Joe Root to bat at No. 3. Root has faced more deliveries than any other England batsman in the last two games and might offer stability at the top of the order and provide Morgan and Kevin Pietersen with some protection from the newer balls. Long-term, though, Root is the only member of the top five unlikely to feature in England's Champions Trophy side, so Giles is expecting more from his experienced players.

"Changes are something that myself, Alastair Cook and the coaches will talk about," Giles said. "We've got options and part of this trip is to look at those options, because we're missing some senior players. This is where you find out about people, under pressure.

"This group has been very refreshing and what we want to avoid is them just feeling beaten up. We have to pick the best team to win the next game of cricket. That will be a hot topic over the next day or two."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 23, 2013, 4:15 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster on (January 22 2013, 17:41 PM GMT), I agree regarding Dinda for Ishant. The India selectors seem loathe to go with a pace attack that lacks an experienced member but it's hard to see how Ishant's experience is helping the team when his performance is poor. All the inexperienced pacers have been bowling well and having success so just let them do it. You have to feel sorry for Rahane whom I really do believe is good enough but has been denied for so long and has now done himself no favours in this series. Hopefully for India the selectors have some long term vision with him but I wouldn't bet on it. While India are winning, I don't think that the selectors will feel the need to find a place for Pujara.

Posted by freemasons on (January 23, 2013, 2:03 GMT)

how ridiculous can some fan's get "" our batters can smash them blind folded..,. and its all psychology"" well i guess time to open the blindfold fellas... cause most of them were not able to manage a respectable score ... even in the practice matches.... but that doesn't matter to u... cause all england cares about is test cricket.. lol i hope u remember south africa's tour?? oh never mind... there's new zealand's and then the ashes... lets see if ur batters blindfold theory works... if it doesn't.. then i suggest einstien to get them a eye check up ....

Posted by JG2704 on (January 22, 2013, 21:40 GMT)

@jmcilhinney on (January 22 2013, 00:51 AM GMT) I do see a reason for KP going in above Bell to open. Just an idea but Bell could be a floating option whereby he comes in at 3 if Cook gets out or lower if KP gets out , so we have 1 accumulator and 1 striker up top. I certainly wouldn't solely blame our last defeat on the slow opening stand but 31 off the first 10 is not good and you're always playing catch up. BTW I think Buttler will come in for Craig

@satish619chandar on (January 22 2013, 05:24 AM GMT) Think we generally need to be less rigid in the batting order.Period. Oh and in the shape of the side too for that matter. I'd bring in Briggs for Dernbach unless the pitch is obviously one which does not take spin so well.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 22, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

@subbass on (January 22 2013, 01:21 AM GMT) I still care about the series. We'll probably lose 4-1 but if we win the next 2 we regain the top ranking - not that it means so much

@Greatest_Game on (January 22 2013, 03:23 AM GMT) Prob no need to use the one SA for another line. I'm not sure if Onions OD figures are all that great but maybe I'm wrong. Regardless , while I see it as a change (M for D) I don't see it as more than a sideways step

Posted by penagamuri on (January 22, 2013, 19:46 GMT)

i think our super fast bowler vinay kumar is better than Dernbach .... LoL I pity your English cricket ....

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 22, 2013, 18:51 GMT)

Eng batting lineup is top heavy. Cook, Bell and KP are their experienced players and they are playing 1,2,3. Combine that with the good spells from Indian new ball bowlers and it is a bad strategy for this series. One of them needs to drop down to 4/5.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 22, 2013, 17:47 GMT)

@subbass: WOW ! Just when I was thinking English fans are graceful in their defeat... out of nowhere we have Mr/Ms Subbass giving the EXCUSE of the century - "We did what we came to do by winning the proper cricket". So if test cricket is "proper" cricket, then why do the ICC formally recognize 2 other formats ? Also, why do we have an ICC World Cup every four years along with a World T20 every 2 years ? Last but not least, WHY do England even bother playing ODI cricket ? They look so miserable in doing so. Even Afghanistan or Ireland would have challenged India if given the opportunity. Dear team England and fans, please pass over your ICC limited overs place to a deserving associate nation. I bet they will play much better ODI cricket than your boys. Fed up with these kinds of comments.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 22, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

I don't know what's happened to Kieswetter. He's a good talent. I have seen him play some blinders for Somerset. I feel sorry for him. Nevertheless, Butler is a good replacement. The rest of the team looks okay. India on the other hand should play Dinda instead of Ishant Sharma and also bring in Pujara for Gambhir/Rahane. Dinda bowled okay in that first game but he's being constantly dropped. Ishant Sharma has leaked runs rapidly than a damaged pipe but he's being persisted with. I guess Dhoni doesn't wish to mentally scar Ishant. Anyway, India should wrap this series up here and now. There is a possibility the game could be abandoned in Dharamshala cause of snow and fog. So best of luck and GO INDIA !!!

Posted by MunafAhmed811 on (January 22, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

AlbertEinstein : Your theory about Eng batters batting blinfolded against Indians is great. Also Indian sloggers will be fooled by mere slow deliveries is great theory too. But hey Einstein, your theory seems to back fire for last few series where scorelines of 5-0 or 4-1 suggest only English batters have taken your theory only partially seriously and come blindfolded to play in all these series.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 22, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

@SevereCritic: Agree with your observation on 20/3 position.But calling Kohli a Malinga-bully is a bit harsh on the young batsman.But more or less, you are spot on with the middle order importance of any particular team.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 22, 2013, 11:53 GMT)

Whatever England do,nothing is going to be changed.They are simply out of sorts.Leaving KP and Cook, and to some extent Bell, the whole England team is medicore. Even with the help of too many SAFFAs, they are not able to turn the tables. So it will remain a distant dream for many English supporters to see their team dominating in ODIs. Also many English supporters are too happy to remain in an artificial bubble created by themselves, of their test performance and glory which was never to be at the first place and if they are boasting of No.1 status,then I guess it was brutally exposed and took a beating when they were humiliated by SA in their own backyard as well as a 3-0 humiliation by Pakistan in UAE.

Posted by AlbertEinstein on (January 22, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

I think the problem with English team is psychological because clearly the likes of Pietersen, Cook et al. can smack the medium fast bowlers of India all day and that too blindfolded. And as for their batting, they just have mere sloggers like Kohli, Yuvraj Dhoni etc. send them a couple of slower balls and they will forget where their legs are.

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 22, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Not sure whether KP should open. Wiat. Why not? KP can devastatingly attack the new ball kids "if clicked" or as some lamely says "if umpire doesn't pick him out". bell can come in at 3 and hold the innings together. But Bell might get out to spin easily which KP might too. Both are equally vulnerable in middle overs whereas KP scores more faster in initial overs allowing Cook to settle(which they did in UAE) which would cause wonders. Root at 4 and Morgan at 5 followed by Butler/Kieswetter(Both are equal in case of wicket falls early and equally deadly with platform) and co. Foremost thing England need to do is, drop the monster in Dernbach. Even if he bowls one 4 run over in the death over, he over compensates it with two 15+ overs making around 36 in 3. Not that effective with new ball as well. better England can pick Meaker or other bowler who can be aggressive and make things happen within first 20 overs rather than picking a death specialist to bowl to Dhoni/Raina/Yuvi/even RJ.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 22, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

Always a chuckle reading these pieces. A big debate whether to replace Dernbach with Meaker. Instead of replacing one Saffer with another, why not bring in some English bowlers? Onions has a list a record on par with Meaker, but he is simply ignored. He should have been playing tests instead of Broad or Finn.

Should Kieswetter be replaced? Why the reluctance drop an underperforming Saffer? He's not been performing for the whole season!Plenty of good young English keepers, starting with Butler.

The team is apparently struggling without Trott! Hmm….is England incapable of fielding a winning team that consists of English players?

Posted by subbass on (January 22, 2013, 1:21 GMT)

Randy - Swann is been rested, he is using the time to go and see Nathan Lyon for some tips on how to become a top class spinner. Then he is gonna pick a fight with Shane Warne over nothing in particular, then he shall warm up against NZ before coming back to Blighty to stuff the Aussies in the Ashes. And all thanks to Nathans tips.

on topic a little more does anyone even care about this odi series in England now ? I certainly don't and it looks like our batters can't be bothered either. We did what we came to do by winning the proper cricket. But I suppose you have to cheer up a 'one sport nation' of a billion people a little by losing a bit of hit and giggle cricket, otherwise they will end up too upset and we can't have that. :p

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 22, 2013, 0:59 GMT)

@Charlie101 on (January 21 2013, 17:21 PM GMT), I agree that playing Buttler over Kieswetter would be a good idea but I don't see it happening this series. As for bowling, unless conditions are different at the remaining two venues, I would bring in Briggs for Dernbach.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 22, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

@SevereCritic, it's a bit soon to call for KP to replace Bell at the top of the order when KP has failed as many times as Bell recently. If England were going to replace Bell, which I don't think is warranted just yet, then I think that they should bring in Hales and leave KP where he is. I get the feeling that they would like to drop Morgan down a spot too, in order to more regularly have him there at the end, but they don't have anyone experienced enough to come in before him. Luke Wright could be that man.

Posted by sugwas on (January 21, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

I think Randy might be right - the cupboard is bare - time to adopt the Australian system that is all for a 38 year old with a handful of test matches making a comeback for the Ashes... Pot & Kettle??

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 21, 2013, 20:53 GMT)

The main problem is the cupboard is bare, so grade cricketers like Swann and Bell continue to get picked.

Posted by frendz27 on (January 21, 2013, 19:43 GMT)

dont understand the logic for persisting with DernBach for so long...he is nt what Gul does for Pakistan

Posted by skilebow on (January 21, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

jackiethepen -What is your evidence and reasoning to say Root is not good enough to bat at 3. i would have thought the evidence so far is contrary to that

Posted by skilebow on (January 21, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

True Dernbach has played a lot of ODIs in India but then i think there are a lot of Indian bowlers who have player a lot of ODIs in India as well and they are all more economical than him

Posted by SevereCritic on (January 21, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

To continue - 20/3 England is very different from 20/3 India. If India is 20/3, it makes little difference since it means they have just lost the walking-wicket Rahane, out-of-form Gambhir and Malinga-bully Kohli and still have the power house of Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni to follow. If England is 20/3, it means that they have lost Cook, Bell and KP -- which is pretty much their top 3 batsmen. Top order will fail occasionally, 20/3 will happen against SA pace attack in place like Wanderers at lease once in a 5 match series. Middle order needs to step up, take responsibility and deliver. Sorely missing the experience of Collingwood in the middle.

Posted by Charlie101 on (January 21, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

I think Meaker and Jos Butler have to play . Unfortunate for Keiswetter and Dernbach but we need to win on Wednesday .

Posted by subbass on (January 21, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

Send for Monty ! Of course the snow means that is not an option, but I think he could be very economical and ALSO take wickets in ODI's, sure uou'd have to hide him in the field but would he really do worse than the woeful Dernbach ?

Posted by jackiethepen on (January 21, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

KP prefers to bat at 4 but I don't think Joe Root is good enough to bat at 3. KP has been hyped as England's best batsman but so far he hasn't really got going. Pity he was wrongly given out though. KP can suddenly deliver and win the game. If the wicket is tough then the openers will need to put on a platform. Let them take their time if need be. KP can easily catch up. He hasn't looked quite on his best form. Ironically he and Bell looked comfortable before he was wrongly given out caught behind. But credit has to be given to the bowler. It was a good ball.

Posted by pull_shot on (January 21, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

next 2 venues r more english conditions that would help england.root @1 down is better that would give stability to england to show some fight

Posted by mush112 on (January 21, 2013, 15:49 GMT)

Root at no.3 is not a good option!!! KP is a high class batsman he can handle pressure if not given out falsely!!! Bring in Meaker instead of Dernbach!!!

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Tour Results
India v England at Dharamsala - Jan 27, 2013
England won by 7 wickets (with 16 balls remaining)
India v England at Mohali - Jan 23, 2013
India won by 5 wickets (with 15 balls remaining)
India v England at Ranchi - Jan 19, 2013
India won by 7 wickets (with 131 balls remaining)
India v England at Kochi - Jan 15, 2013
India won by 127 runs
India v England at Rajkot - Jan 11, 2013
England won by 9 runs
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