Saturday, 12 February 2011

England's Future ODI Side

In my earlier post (this one here), I had a look at why Kevin Pietersen could walk away from playing ODI cricket. Assuming KP does decide to give it up, and with the likelihood that Paul Collingwood isn't long for international cricket either (as well as a couple of questions over some of the others), England could easily have a very different looking ODI line-up post World Cup.

The period following the World Cup is historically a time of change. New captains are appointed, the old guard either retire triumphantly or are booted out unceremoniously, and the chaff are discarded in favour of younger, fresher models. Of the 15 men England have picked for this World Cup, it's not inconcievable that at least eight are playing their last lot of ODIs for a number of reasons. So if eight go out, there will need to be a new seven to come in. So who could they be?

Well, to start, I'll show my logic behind the figure of the eight to never again play. While KP has denied he's retiring from ODIs, there's often no smoke without fire, and as I said in the earlier article, chances are that he'll walk away. Paul Collingwood has already retired from tests, and following a disgustingly bad run of form, may either choose to retire from internationals full stop, or be given the heave ho as Team England look to get in a new and improved model. James Tredwell seems to have been picked on the basis that it would be mean to leave him out - and the fact that even Andy Flower was being mooted as being selected ahead of him suggests there isn't much confidence in him from the powers that be. And with Adil Rashid knocking on the door, there may no longer be a place for Tredders in the party. Same sort of goes for Mick Yardy, who is probably a better bowler when he has only four overs to be canny, rather than ten, where batsmen are able to eventually score freely off him, and his lack of wicket-taking is fairly glaring. So he could also be on the ODI scrap heap.

Matt Prior has been called up from ODI obscurity for the World Cup, but it wouldn't take much for Davies or Kieswetter to replace him. In fact, chances are Davies would be put back in following the World Cup, and given the chance to bed in and improve in confidence and experience. Ravi Bopara should be in the England team, but for whatever reason, he hasn't been. Some would say this is a personality issue, but the fact that England have been so wary in picking him suggests there isn't much confidence in him from the selectors, so when Morgan returns, Bopara could have pulled on the Three Lions for the last time. And maybe they'll have just have had enough of Luke Wright after this World Cup, and if there's any justice in the world, he won't be playing internationally following the tournament.

So that's seven names. And the last one who potentially could play no more ODI cricket could be captain Strauss, as he may want to bow out at the top of ODI cricket (if England win) in order to prolong his test career. And he hasn't been uber brilliant at ODIs anyway.

So here's the fun part. Naming potential replacements. Unless something odd happens, England will have the nucleus of Bell, Trott, Morgan, Swann, Bresnan, Broad and Anderson (with Shahzad also in there to carry drinks) as 100% cast iron available for ODIs over the next few years. So they'll in all likelihood be in there.

Starting with the bowling attack (as the basis is already there), I'll assume that England will want to go with the 3 fast and 2 spin option (of which one of them is handy enough to bat at seven) going forward. Bres, Broad and Anderson are sorted as the three pacers (with Shahzad, Woakes, Finn or Tremlett as alternatives), with Swann guaranteed to play as well. For my other spinner, who I'd also bat at seven, is Adil Rashid. Rashid is easily good enough to bat seven for England, and is developing into a top-class one day leg spinner. We've seen him recently be a big part of the Redbacks winning the Big Bash, and he clearly has the talents readily available to take into international cricket. While there may be an issue about his attitude, I'm sure he'll be fine.

And now batting. For me, Davies should have the gloves, and could open if there aren't any other alternatives. I'd like to see Kent's Joe Denly given another shot internationally as I think he's class. (The Key-Denly dream team opening for England could yet happen...) So Davies to open with Denly, with Trott, Bell and Morgan at 3, 4 and 5. Leaving a batting berth up for grabs.

Yorkshire's Andy Gale has been maturing into a really good cricketer. With some really good one day performances especially (albeit higher up the order), Gale has thrived under the responsibility of captaining the white rose. So I'd get him in. To captain.

OK, seriously, while I think Gale is a FEC, he's not an immediate FEC. So Gale comes in at 6, and I'd give Jimmy Anderson the proverbial one-day armband. Because I think he'd do the best job.

So that would be my England One Day International side, effective the end of the World Cup. And it probably doesn't bode well that I've already written this World Cup off and am planning for 2015...

My England ODI team for the summer

Joe Denly
Steve Davies (wk)
Jonathan Trott
Ian Bell
Eoin Morgan
Andrew Gale
Adil Rashid
Tim Bresnan
Graeme Swann
Stuart Broad
Jimmy Anderson (c)

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