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November 16, 2008
Darren Gough, the former England fast bowler, has blamed favouritism in selection for England's recent poor form in limited-overs cricket. Gough said proven performers from the recent Hong Kong Sixes, which the England side won, should have been picked for the seven-match ODI series in India, which began with a massive 158-run defeat for the visitors in Rajkot.
England were drubbed by ten wickets in the Stanford 20/20 for 20 in Antigua before arriving in India. They were bowled out for 98 in their second warm-up game and conceded 387 in Rajkot. In reply, they were bowled out inside 38 overs and the only noteworthy performances were the half-centuries by Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara.
"We kind of have favouritism in selection," Gough told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek. "England have got potential but we seem to ignore players who, for me, are definite starters in one-day cricket. We won the Hong Kong Sixes with Graham Napier, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Tim Bresnan. They deserve a chance."
Bopara scored a fighting unbeaten 54 at No. 8 but lacked support and Gough felt he should have been pushed up the order.
"Ravi's a quality player and should bat higher," Gough said. "If it means Paul Collingwood has to drop down then so be it. You can't have Ravi playing in a one-day international and batting at eight. It doesn't make sense.
"He bats at three for Essex, he gets runs and should bat up the order. I've spoken to Ravi. He's desperate to get that England berth but batting at eight and not bowling?
Gough said one of the reasons for England's inconsistent performances in one-day cricket is that the players are still confused about their roles.
"England lack something in one-day cricket I can't quite put my finger on," he said. "When you speak to other sports coaches and captains they say people have to know their roles. I don't think [those in] England's one-day side know their roles. Our one-day thinking has for years been behind the eight-ball. I played in two World Cups and we never looked like winning - we did well to win a game to be honest.
"We still don't know our best batting order. Matt Prior's batting at the top of the order but has had a few failures now and his confidence might start to go. Luke Wright is a good player for the future, but is he good enough to be in the starting XI?"
The second one-day international is in Indore on Monday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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