Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 10, 2014

Broad's rest and Finn's form stretches England


England will begin the one-day series against Australia with another significantly under-strength bowling attack after Stuart Broad was given the first two matches off following his Ashes exertions.

Broad will spend time in Melbourne and Sydney before rejoining the squad in a full capacity ahead of the third match of the series in Sydney on January 19. It means that the opening encounter at the MCG will not feature the leading bowler of the Test series from either side with Australia opting to rest Mitchell Johnson.

James Anderson had already been granted the one-day series off, so England's pace attack will come from Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin, Tim Bresnan, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes for the first two matches, along with allrounder Ben Stokes. There remains major concerns over Finn's form - he was the only member of the Ashes squad not to play a Test - while Rankin suffered from cramps on his Test debut, and Bresnan was dropped after the fourth Test.

Jordan, 25, who was born in Barbados, made his England debut in the final match of the previous ODI series against Australia, in September, and claimed 3 for 51 at the Ageas Bowl where he impressed Ashley Giles, England's limited-overs coach, with his pace nudging the 90mph mark. With England keen to unearth some bowlers quicker than the mid-80s, Jordan is one of those likely to benefit from the resting of others during this series.

This one-day series is given added significance by the fact that the World Cup will be staged in Australia and New Zealand next year. England's opening game is against Australia, at the MCG, and although it is still 400 days away - which allows plenty of time for fortunes to change for any of the teams - it is a chance for them to begin, in a small way, the long rebuilding process after the Ashes drubbing.

Eoin Morgan, one of England's limited-overs specialists not scarred by the recent Ashes drubbing, was the man put forward to portray the image of a new start for the battered tourists: "It's important we learn from any mistakes we make and build confidence down this side of the world," he said.

He did his best to suggest a more positive mindset around the squad - all the buzzwords where there; "fresh", "energy", "excited", "keen" - but it sounded a bit too rehearsed to be natural. Quite how many of those words are echoing through Alastair Cook's mind at the moment is unclear as he prepares to revisit the grounds that have brought only misery so far on the tour.

However, with a World Cup just over a year away (and a World Twenty20 in less than three months, for which Cook won't be a part) there is an opportunity for England to see this series as more than just a painful prolonging of their time in Australia.

The one-day squad had their first training session at the MCG on a warm Friday and there was a less hang-dog expression than had characterised the final weeks of the Test campaign, although it would have been disappointing if that was not the case given that strong performances over the next five matches can push World Cup, and even Test, claims.

By the nature of rotation, England are exposing more players to one-day internationals as Giles starts to put his plans in place for the World Cup, and Morgan went as far as to suggest there was almost an embarrassment of riches, which may provoke some wry smiles from Australians. "We will only be able to take 15 and it will be a tight squeeze because we could potentially take 20, so it certainly creates opportunities for youngsters," Morgan said.

Inevitably, though, the name of one person who isn't here will continue to dominate: Kevin Pietersen. Now that England have split their coaching structure, Giles' stance on Pietersen is an intriguing sub-plot to the fall-out that appears set to happen in English cricket, not least whether he wants Pietersen as part of his England sides. Giles has always been confident that he and Flower would be able to work through any selection differences, but if the two don't see eye-to-eye on Pietersen, it could be hard to find a solution.

Pietersen had already been rested for this series before the rumblings of the last few days. Due to injuries or rotation, since Giles has taken charge of the one-day side he has not had a full complement of first-choice batsmen to select from, so has been spared the ultimate decision on who gets in. It is by no means certain that Pietersen would be in that first-choice side. In the nine ODIs he has played under Giles, against India and Australia, he averages 28.44, but leaving a player out for form-related reasons is very different to other issues that may be put forward.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sam on January 11, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    Any which way cant expect any diff. result from the tests and be another 5-0 w/w in ODIs as well. Eng is v ordinary ODI/t20 side and hold little chance to compete with powerful Aus outfit.

  • Joe on January 11, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    Mills, Meaker, Finn, Jordan, Wood, does it matter? They can all get the ball down the other end very sharpish. But, after a bit of exposure to the England cabal of all seeing , all knowing master coaches, they'll soon learn how to bowl medium fast, regulation length seam up. It will be interesting to see how quickly Mills bowls through the summer after a winter away with England, even if he wasn't playing. All money will be on him being at least 5% slower.

  • Jack on January 11, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    I'm a cricket fanatic. I'm Australian to the core. It's taken 10 tests against England and pretty boy Broad, but I'm now prepared to admit he's a very fine cricketer and probably a decent bloke. We gave him heaps, and he ended the series standing tall in every way. I think the Aussie fans grudgingly respected him a bit by the end of the series. Given his history, it's a credit to the guy.

  • John on January 11, 2014, 4:26 GMT

    I think that it's a bit unfair to Bresnan to say that he was dropped after the fourth Test. Sure, he wasn't selected for the last game, but I think that was more a case of giving Rankin a run rather than Bresnan having done anything wrong.

  • Pankaj on January 11, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    @izzidole - that's exactly how England have survived in the past 20 odd years. Allowing for Wales and Scotland, how many true-blue British teams have taken the field since the late eighties? Well if it helps them make a match of it, then there's no law against stepping up the import indent. Go for it with a yo-ho-ho

  • Pankaj on January 11, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    Broad's rest would be no surprise to anyone who's been following his illustrious career. He calibrates his rests so that he can avoid being tired. Even in the Ashes he used to be off for a nourishing bite ever so often. Mark my words, old bean Broad will be the test case used by the ICC to rewrite records of Test matches played by platers - based on actual sessions available. His Tests are likely to drop by 10% in that case

  • Izmi on January 11, 2014, 1:00 GMT

    With so many overseas imports in their limited overs side to choose from England should be able to win this ODI series as well as next years 50 over World Cup easily. The players are Peitersen, Lumb, Keiswetter, Dernbach (South Africa), Jordan(West Indies), Stokes(New Zealand), Rankin and captain of the ODI side Eoin Morgan( Ireland). It's a very formidable side which looks stronger than the team that represented England in the ashes. Even more cricketers who started their cricketing career overseas like Ballance(Zimbabwe) and Robson(Australia) could be expected to join the team for the World Cup next year. This virtually should make up England's team for next years world cup.

  • Scott on January 10, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    @brusselslion, that may be due to the fact that we still can't believe we've actually won it - especially in this fashion! I'm sure we've (myself included) been guilty of heavily gloating, but we couldn't have dreamt this result in our wildest fantasies; and after the year we've had, you couldn't blame us a few indulgences! On the whole the Eng posters have taken it very well also. Rather commendable indeed...

  • Scott on January 10, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    @robinp, I agree. Get Finn and Jordan in the side as they can be dangerous at their pace. On top of which you get Finn back in the mix and blood in a youngster -win/win. He did decently enough in his first ODI in Eng against Aus. Was pretty wayward and got smashed a bit, but he picked up a wicket or 2 as well. With nothing to lose, just let the young lad rip! If I recall rightly, it was the ODIs in 06/07 that got Anderson going after his dismal effort in the test series. Who knows. Woakes had a decent debut against Aus, but hasn't looked much since then. You'd only play one of he or Stokes and I reckon Stokes will/should get the nod. @JG2704, of recent times the losing side in the test series has taken the ODI series - something to keep the spirits up! Though I agree, Eng are certainly going into this as underdogs. Oddly enough, batting seems Aus weakness in tests, but in ltd overs stuff looks to be our strength...

  • Clifford on January 10, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    @Front-Foot_lunge if anyone was talking about England having "depth" they must have been having a laugh mate.

    Re Chris Jordan: he might be nudging the 90s now but a short time in the England "setup" will probably turn him into another mid 80s dobbler like the rest of the "quicks".

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