England v Australia, 3rd NatWest ODI, Edgbaston

Giles takes a long-term view

England's selection policy for this one-day series has split opinion - and defeat at Old Trafford suggested they will struggle to match Australia - with the role of Ben Stokes as a third seamer a key issue

George Dobell

September 10, 2013

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Chris Jordan is still waiting for his first England cap, Edgbaston, September 10, 2013
Chris Jordan is one of the other bowlers available should England want to make a change © Getty Images

In 18 months, when the World Cup has been won or lost, it seems fairly safe to assume few will remember the result of this NatWest Series.

As a consequence of the expansion of the international calendar, several sides have identified a need to prioritise. The World Cup has become the goal at the end of each four-year cycle in ODI cricket and almost everything that leads to it is little more than a stepping stone.

Even encounters between these two old rivals. Partially in an attempt to exploit the market for such games, England and Australia have played ODI cricket against one another every year since 2001 with the exception of 2008. Sometimes those meetings have come in global events; usually they have not. It is hard to keep something so commonplace special.

England, certainly, see it that way. By resting five senior players and granting opportunities to several new faces, they have demonstrated that this series has been relegated to the category of 'development opportunity.'

An Australian camp looking to shore-up reputations and build some confidence before heading home may interpret it differently. But make no mistake: it is, as England found after winning the CB Series in early 2007 after their drubbing in the Ashes, little consolation.

England's policy may see them concede a few battles. It will smart to lose any games - as it should - but if it helps them win the war, they will feel the pain was worthwhile.

England's aim is to identify the two or three players who will help them improve from Champions Trophy runners-up to winners of the World Cup. It may prove, in the case of injury or retirements, that their 2013 Champions Trophy squad requires more reinforcement but, for now, England are looking for at least one allrounder, an effective third seamer and a big-hitting batsman. If they turn out to be one person, all well and good.

With that in mind, the selection of their squad is not entirely logical. Quite apart from including red ball performers - the likes of Chris Jordan - for a white ball format, they have also included a 32-year-old opener, Michael Carberry, who has little chance of dislodging any of England's top-order regulars.

England have four men - at least - who are happy in the top three. Carberry is a fine player who is unlucky to have waited so long for such an opportunity, but it is unrealistic to expect him to dislodge Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen or Jonathan Trott from the top four. And Joe Root is their natural successor.

Pietersen missed the Champions Trophy and now he is back at the top of the order it may prove that his return creates a tussle for places among Bell, Trott and Root. With Eoin Morgan, Cook and Ravi Bopara all likely to feature in a first-choice top six, there could well be a high-profile omission over the coming months.

Ashley Giles' view

  • Michael Vaughan's calls for a refund for spectators
  • It's harsh. I think it was said in haste by Michael. It's an exciting side to come and watch. Kevin Pietersen is here and Michael Carberry is an exciting batsman at the top of the order. Then you go Trott, Root, Morgan Bopara, Finn: there are some good names to watch. Then you have the youngsters. I'd hope the cricketing public would want us to bring through some of our young cricketers and expose them to what is the almost the harshest of environments, which is playing Australia.

  • Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara

  • Samit is obviously frustrated. Our balance has changed a little bit with Ravi batting at six and bowling. His record's extremely good in one-day cricket and he's done very well in this last few months. So whilst I can understand Samit's frustrations i'd like to know where he gets into the side right now because we've got some very good cricketers in that eleven. He just needs to keep working hard, keep putting the figures on the board and working hard elsewhere as well.

  • Resting Ashes players

  • Obviously for the bowlers it's mainly the physical wear of playing an Ashes series. That's relevant to the batsmen as well. But there's also the mental ware and tiredness. Bell has had an amazing series. He has been out in the middle for most of the series. And you can't underestimate the amount of wear there is on Cook as captain. So we felt it right that those two guys had a break this series and come back fresh for the second Ashes series.

  • Giles on Overton and Jordan

  • Just having them around the group is really beneficial to the coaches and to them for the experience. Overton is raw but has pace and he's aggressive and fits with our profile of big, tall nasty fast bowlers. Jordan had also been impressive, he bowls and can bat and fields everywhere. They are two very promising cricketers coming through the ranks. We had to rest two of our senior bowlers with back-to-back Ashes coming up and it's a great opportunity to look at these young guys.

But it was not the selection of the squad as much as the selection of the team that was controversial at Old Trafford. By picking a team with Ben Stokes batting at No. 8 and performing the role of third seamer, England left themselves light on bowling options and subsequently conceded 315. Stokes remains, at present, a batting allrounder, and is currently being asked to fulfil a different role in international cricket to the one with which he is familiar in domestic cricket.

However Ashley Giles, England's limited-overs coach, justified the decision and the balance of the side. Admitting that the two Ashes series took priority, he reiterated the desire to use this series to learn more about their most promising players.

"Obviously we want to win the series," Giles said. "We always get upset when we lose. But there are other successes to be had. With an inexperienced bowling attack and someone like Carberry at the top of the order, we've had an opportunity to look at some young players.

"In our strategic objectives right now we've got back to back Ashes. We've got to get through these two Ashes series, we want to win both series, and of course once we get into the new year we move that focus more towards the World Cup. So, at the moment, while it's always frustrating to any coach that you can't have your best side in the middle the reasoning's absolutely spot on. We've got to look after our best players while looking at the next generation coming through."

"If we came through the series and they had some success and they have moved on and improved, it gives us a much greater pools of players to look at with the 2015 World Cup in mind. Experience against this Australia side is hugely valuable for them and for us looking at players.

"A great example would be Ben Stokes, who is playing in our side as a third seamer. His bowling has improved a huge amount over the past 12 months and his one-day record is improving as well. He has the potential to be a genuine all-rounder.

"Him playing in that role - and I think he has already improved game on game - should be a great advantage to us and him. I'm not sure batting at eight and bowling is a role he will play down the line, but the experience of what he is doing right now is going to be hugely valuable.

"Otherwise the balance is what we played in the Champions Trophy when we were very successful. Against New Zealand we played five specialist bowlers and it didn't really work. That's when we brought Ravi back into the side since when he has had a fantastic run in the team so I don't believe we are just fiddling overs.

"But when you have inexperience you are going to have to suffer some pain to get some gain and that's a little bit of what we are looking at. Saying that there is no reason why this team can't win these games of cricket.

There have been suggestions from the likes of former England captain Michael Vaughan that, such is the weakened state of this England team, the ECB should offer refunds to those who have bought tickets for these ODIs. But the argument for rest and rotation is overwhelming and, in the not too distant future, it may well be that it is the likes of Stokes and Jamie Overton that most excite spectators. This series is providing a peak into England's ODI future.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by landl47 on (September 12, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

My issue with this squad and in particular the XI picked for the games so far is not that it's too experimental but that it's not experimental enough. What are England going to learn about Pietersen, Trott and Bopara that they don't know already? Pietersen was complaining about too much cricket- why is he playing at all ahead of the return Ashes?

Give Jordan and Overton a game (they should have had at least 2 each). Why not pick Ballance (the best young batsman in the country, despite his duck in the Ireland game) and Topley, who took 11-85 in a county game as England were losing the first ODI. Topley's 6' 7", left-arm, not express but rapid enough and moves the ball around. He's also only 19.

I think England are getting the worst of both worlds here- they're losing the series and they're not finding out enough about the young talent. If they want to win the series, the first XI have shown that they can handle Australia. If they don't care, bring in the youngsters.

Posted by ball_boy on (September 12, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

gets into the rut of losing everything falls apart,know it the cup is 18 months away, you dont want that to happen,yes you want the seniors to relax at the same time give a good feedback to the public give some juniors a chance it the squad hope some of them get the desire to be given a permanent place in the team fired, all true but the excellence, the psychology that this is a team of winners not losers that gets a bit overshadowed.So encourage but also maintain the intensity quite a fine balance to maintain not forgetting the cycle of losses is not far ahead.Well no harm in trying good luck to you for that.Anyhow your idea is not far way from that of the aussies of today except the aussies figure there is no A tier or B tier everyone is same and everyone should maintain the intensity of winning.Wat they forget an individual's mind is based on the surroundings bring him away from the battle ground and then take him to the next battle he is sure to take time to grease up

Posted by ball_boy on (September 12, 2013, 11:32 GMT)

Admit it, u guys want to keep a second tier team like the Aus team of old,but what you forget is the Aus team of old always hankered on Excellence such that people like Katich,Kasporisz,Mac Gill,and others constantly tried their hardest to come up on the main squad.But if you keep a second tier team the new ones will get the experience but they wont be at the level of the reserve bench of old Aus.There is a pschology matter which will not be removed totally even with the help of a pschologist.The new ones finding it easier to get into the squad will fall back on terms of excellence their desire wetted somewhat the excellence of the full team down a bit,taking into consideration the general squads defeats and their effect on the team psyche ,the assured ones knowing their seats are more or less confirmed , bit realxed which is good but keeping in notion the defeats the team has had a bit overwhelmed at the moment, the overall excellence a bit below par and when the proper team gets int

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

It seems England are always "rebuilding" when it comes to ODI cricket. Surely there comes a time when they are not rebuilding

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 0:43 GMT)

I believe that this is just another illustration of how there is far too much cricket being played now. Giles acknowledges that he can't put England's best XI on the park to ensure they don't burn out for the next Ashes sortie in Australia. I think we understand the need to have this forward thinking for future series of great significance and the development of future players. But in terms of player development, isn't this what the 'Country A' sides are for? Help develop the new or give an experienced player some game time to get back into form? Are these 'A' side games effectively going to be 'B' or even 'C'? International Sport in general is about putting your best person/team forward to represent your country. Obviously not what is going on for England this Series. Afterthought, if AU smash England in this series, would that have been the confidence boost that starts the march to victory for them in the WC? Time will tell. I'm watching ZIM v PAK Test far more interesting!

Posted by krikat on (September 11, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

I think the issue here is not the timing of one day series but the timing of return Ashes tour. Had it not been for the return tour, the senior-pros would have played the one-day series maybe with the exception of Jimmy Anderson. I am a strong proponent of playing one-dayers along with some A games before the test series. This way some players will get to spend more time on the field to prepare for the 5-day games.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

Ideally would like to see the ODI's before test series but it could mean that the test series played in Sept when more likely to get bad weather (as this year). The Test series is more important than the money making ODI series. Also with the ODI's there are so many of them that there is another next month not unique like tests.

Posted by Shan156 on (September 11, 2013, 15:10 GMT)

oh and @humdrum, about losing by "associate level margins", remember the innings and 242 run thrashing at Edgbaston or the Sydney test thrashing when both Clarke and Ponting scored more than India's first innings? wow, India competed fiercely indeed.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

Let's be honest here, England are not so interested in this series and nor should they be. I also don't care. The issue here is why play a series like this after such a big test series. Clever programming would have been to turn these games into a 6th test; or to play it before the tests; or of course not to have the return series so soon. In any case, I don't think anyone should be complaining about the fielding of a B team given the bigger picture.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (September 11, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

really not sure when this England's "Long Term View" will in ODI's. They have not managed to get into last 4 in any world cup since 1992.I don't see them any good in 2015 wc as well.

Posted by dogleash on (September 11, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

I think Ashley Giles comments are a tremendous cop-out. Not many mentioned Australian test team re-building phase after the retirements of many key players. England were doing what they do best, yapping about what a fantastic team they are and how deservedly they won. Very short memories more likely after several ignominious defeats in recent times. As it turned out barring weather the results may have been much closer, and the Australian coach never admitted defeat in this way after only one result. It must be demoralizing for the young players when the coach goes public with statements such as that. I never rated Giles as a gifted player, hopefully he cans those types of comments and proves he is a much better off the field than on. Whatever the series or match the players should be proud to wear the national kit of their countries. They have toiled long and hard to deserve them, and hopefully take the field with the intention of winning every match, as it should be.

Posted by ADB1 on (September 11, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

@humdrum: "Compare that with India v Oz,home and away from 2001 to 2010, see the tremendous level of test match cricket played by both teams."

Test series which India lost. And they still haven't won a series in Oz. Or SA. So Shan156s comments are correct. If Indian fans don't like harsh truths being pointed out to them, they shouldn't use past stats to start slinging mud in the first place, as they so often do.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 11, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

@Patchmaster on (September 10, 2013, 22:56 GMT), have you checked out Bopara's stats with both bat and ball from the last time these two teams met?

Posted by ThinkingCricket on (September 11, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

Patchmaster: Ravinder Singh is actually better than you give him credit for. Highly inconsistent? Yes, but he has real ability under pressure. He has been in terrific form, and given his performance against Srilanka and India in the CT were exemplary. You must be joking about "lack of boundary hitting",,,he scored 33 off 13 against Srilanka when England were struggling for runs at the death, his performances in the YB 40s (even against weak attacks) dispel the notion that he can't blast it.

Meanster, true ODI's do deserve much more attention than they get. I do think England is doing the right things though, and with their first string bowling in place, they will be extremely dangerous.

Posted by humdrum on (September 11, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

@Shan156: Apropos test cricket, we all knpw England's pathetic record against oz when they were at their very best.Compare that with India v Oz,home and away from 2001 to 2010, see the tremendous level of test match cricket played by both teams.A seasoned commentator like Ian Chappel wrote that India beat Oz when oz were at their best and even Peter Roebuck couldn't have enough of these tests.As for Eng v Ind ODIs remember the 5-0 results in 2011 when even english media admitted that the eng team were beaten by " associate level margins'.Please brush up on your cricket history and see things as they ought to be seen.The empire has long ceased to exist.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

Having a long term view is never a bad thing, in fact all sport institutions must try to work towards having a sustainable future. However, Giles needs to be careful that he doesnt forget about the here and now,because these "meaningless bilateral series" are important. ODI is the only format that has a proper WC and when was the last time Eng reached semis. I think if England are the guardians of test cricket, which I think every cricket fan is happy about , they need to show they are improving in ODI and take it more seriously.

Posted by Shan156 on (September 11, 2013, 1:39 GMT)

Stokes as the 3rd seamer is a joke, as pointed out here by others. If Eng. don't select a proper bowler as the 3rd seamer, then it is going to be, most likely, 4-0 to Aus.

Posted by Shan156 on (September 11, 2013, 1:36 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster, "nobody takes them seriously in ODI cricket", is that why you haven't won a bilateral ODI series against us in Eng. for a long time? I am sure you haven't forgotten the 0-3 result in the ODIs in 2011. We also won 4-0 against Aus, and 4-0 in the UAE against Pak. I am sure others don't take us seriously in ODI cricket and that is why we reached the finals of the CT. And, I guess that applies to the other finalist, and eventual winner of the CT, too.

Yes, we have not won a single WC but India have been playing test cricket longer than that and are yet to win a test series in Aus. And, oh, they have not won a series in SA either.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (September 11, 2013, 1:16 GMT)

i am not against any team but the england team need to realise that the shorter format is a future of cricket. I feel that ODI is the best form of cricket than test, need more cricketting abilities than in tests. Look at debt ridden zimb, india's 5 odi tour generates nearly 9 million dollars. Definitely test would not generate that kind of amount for zimb. And in CPL t20, near full ground for all matches and job for all ex players. Why test cricket has not generate? kind of intrest and money. Defntly test is dying, one cant force tests unless people are intrested. I would rather happy to watch 20 short format playing nation than 10 test cricket playing nation. We need to accept the change.

Posted by Patchmaster on (September 10, 2013, 22:56 GMT)

Bopara has done nothing to remain in this side. Scoring his only runs against a weak bowling attack, just doesn't cut it. He scores way way too slowly, and his lack of boundary hitting forces others to have to score too quickly. There's lots of better options that Bopara.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 10, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster - England reached the final of the 2013 Champions Trophy. If it is genuinely the case that 'nobody takes them seriously in ODI cricket', that's quite a few people who haven't a clue.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (September 10, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

We did recently reach the Champion's Trophy Final, which was totally ruined by rain and was played over a ridiculous length as a result. At least give us the credit being that good. What we are doing now is resting our overworked stars-or some of them- and trying some of the new talent. My only argument is that one of legspinners is not there.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

This is a terrible one-day side. Ben Stokes as first-change seamer? Give us a break, Giles! The selections have been a joke, performances have been meek, and 4-0 looms. We will never win a World Cup in the 50-over format, much to the disappointment of England fans who contrary to popular belief DO care about one-day cricket and would love to see success. It is true that Tests are more popular here, but we as fans do not neglect the shorter formats. Unfortunately, our selectors and even former players do - I've heard administrators and armchair critics even say that they would happily consign fans to whitewashes in one-day series as payment for an Ashes win. What we should be doing is treating all games as important and not throwaways.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 10, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

The biggest mistake England and their supporters often do is equate test cricket with ODI cricket. It's blasphemy given England show no ounce of effort to improve their ODI credentials. In spite of their 'Home of cricket' status, England have not won a single World Cup in more than 30 years ever since one day cricket came into existence. The reason is simple; they simply don't give the kind of attention and focus towards ODI cricket as it requires. Sure, nobody will remember the result of this Natwest Series in 2 years time BUT every game England wins in ODI cricket will boost their ICC rankings and also transfer the aura from their test cricket exploits towards their ODI cricket. It will make England a serious contender for the event in 2015. As it stands now, England are a so-so team and nobody takes them seriously in ODI cricket. Hopefully, a few more losses will bring them to their senses.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 10, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Ashley Giles is not going to admit it, but Ben Stokes' inclusion was too clever by half. It's easy to spot the 'thinking'. It goes like this. Here is a batting allrounder who bowls quick, therefore he's our third seamer, who offers late order runs too. So greedy! It is, of course, absolute nonsense. Just because the new great white hope has been a batting allrounder for his county, magically he puts on England kit & hey presto! he's now a complete allrounder - able to bowl as well as he bats, or given that he's batting at 8, actually a better bowler in Eng colours. 10 overs for 66 may resonate with historians, but actually it's an appalling return for someone asked to bowl a full allocation. And this in a side that contains Steve Finn who couldn't bowl dry in a desert! The Aussies would have worked out that Rankin, about whom they knew little, was the only real threat in the Eng seamers.Oz selection thinking is clearer than England's. Eng needs to think again. The OT effort was woeful!

Posted by GHemrajani on (September 10, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

Since the inception of one day cricket, England continue to take a long term view with no success to show for it. I doubt the regulars, Cook and Bell, could have succeeded in chasing 300+.

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