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January 27, 2014
England one day coach Ashley Giles has identified the tempo of England's batting as a key area for improvement as his side move on from their one-day series defeat to Australia.
A sluggish top order has often been a criticism of England in one-day cricket and there was a marked difference between the opening partnerships of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell and David Warner and Aaron Finch as England lost 4-1.
Giles said England needed to consistently find the tempo achieved in Perth, where England made 316 for 8 - the highest total of the series - and Cook and Bell added 84 in 74 balls for the first wicket.
"We talked about it in Brisbane and we talked about as a side again," Giles said. "That tempo we used in Perth, I know it was a good wicket, is where we have to be as a side.
"If you can bat in that manner you are not always relying on Buttlers and Morgans to really fire to get you to a good score. If they do fire then you get a really really good score and you take the game out of contention."
Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler were two of England's top three runscorers in the series and played with fluency largely absent from the rest of the order. Their ability to find the boundary was also unique among the England batsman, of whom only Ian Bell averaged over 40 in the series.
Kevin Pietersen is an obvious candidate to provide more impetus but Giles said he was open to all cases, including Alex Hales, the No. 1-ranked T20 batsman in world cricket.
"There is a place for anyone who can bring that tempo and get us to win games," Giles said. "We have still not picked the West Indies squad, the T20 World Cup squad and obviously next year's World Cup squad but we have to be careful. We have a lot of experience in that batting line up. We have got to use it better.
"I don't think there is necessarily a direct correlation in the way you bat between T20 and 50 overs. There is a halfway house somewhere. We know Alex is a fantastic 20-over player but that is a really different game.
"Even he would say his record in domestic 50-over competitions is not brilliant compared to some of the other guys but certainly he is a very exciting cricketer and very dangerous which is why he is ranked number one in the world in T20s."
England's next 50-over cricket comes in the West Indies which precedes preparation for the World T20 in Bangladesh. England will leave most of their 50-over specialists at home, providing opportunities for members of the T20 squad to prove their longer-form credentials.
The domestic one-day competition also reverts to 50-overs next season, giving Giles a wider base to look for members of his World Cup squad. He said there were plenty of opportunities for players to move into the reckoning for next year.
"There is always time if guys perform well. County cricket is our base for that and there is also the T20 World Cup coming up and our series in the West Indies so there will be opportunities for guys to impress. All the time we are talking about the tempo of our 50-over cricket so some of those guys might come into contention. But you never discard anyone."
Giles might be eyes peeled for a batsman to change the nature of England's innings but he is content with his bowling group that now has Chris Jordan at the heart of it.
Having made his debut against Australia last summer, Jordan was the cause for most optimism for England in the series reverse in Australia, taking wickets with the new ball and conceding 5.28 runs per over despite bowling most of his overs in the Powerplays.
"Jordan has really impressed," Giles said. "He is very mature and very professional in the way he goes about things. You saw him bowl at the death in Adelaide. It was the first time in an international game he had done that and he got it right.
"We pretty much know our stock of bowlers. The young ones are out there like Overton but at the same time you hope Finn comes back and has a big role to play next year. You put him alongside what we have got then you would be pretty happy."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala