England in New Zealand 2007-08 February 10, 2008

Collingwood against major changes

Cricinfo staff


Dimitri Mascarenhas was left out in Christchurch but his form is putting pressure on Ravi Bopara © Getty Images
 
England are likely to resist the temptation to make sudden changes to their side following the six-wicket hammering they suffered in the first ODI against New Zealand in Wellington. The team have arrived in Hamilton ahead of the second match on Tuesday having been a distance second best during the opening encounter.

However, despite the setback Paul Collingwood, the England captain, is remaining upbeat about his young team. "This side has been successful in the past and we've been pretty consistent with selection," he said.

After dominating the two Twenty20 internationals last week, England dropped Luke Wright and Dimitri Mascarenhas, who had both enjoyed success, in favour of Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara. The latter pair played important roles during the series win in Sri Lanka last October but struggled to make an impact on Saturday.

Cook laboured against tight bowling to make 11 off 26 balls and Bopara pulled a short ball to deep square-leg after scoring 3 from 21. Bopara wasn't required to bowl as New Zealand knocked off the runs in 30 overs and, following his poor Test series in Sri Lanka, is facing stiff competition from Mascarenhas who smashed 31 off 14 balls with four consecutive sixes in the first Twenty20.

"When Dimi strikes the ball the way he does he's always going to be close to getting into the side," said Collingwood. "That's the good thing at the moment because the squad is very strong and they are difficult decisions to make. We will go up to Hamilton, have a look at the wicket and assess it."

The slowness of the Wellington pitch surprised England and Mascarenhas' medium pace would also be a useful option if they come across similar surfaces again during the remaining four matches.

Although Collingwood sounded a cautionary note about rapid changes, coach Peter Moores admitted that they probably didn't get the side right for the first game. However, he was quick to highlight that Bopara, especially, has become a key figure in the one-day side.

"They were two tough decisions [Cook and Bopara] and you would have to say that maybe there weren't the right decisions, but it's never an exact science because you never know how the other guys would have gone," he told the Press Association. "We'll look at it again as we should do, it's only fair to the squad.

"Selection is outside players' control and you do the best you can to put yourself forward which Dimi did," Moores added. "He knows the sort of player he is - he's a bowler and a very good striker of a cricket ball.

"He's done well when we've played him and at the same time Ravi Bopara has done some pretty good things recently from breaking into the side at the World Cup to taking us home under pressure at Old Trafford so it's one of those 50-50 decisions."

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