Wednesday, 26 April 2006

England Ratings

England's marks out of ten for the ODI series in India do not make pleasant reading - unless you happen to be born in South Africa

Pietersen 8.5/10 Top scorer four times out of five, Pietersen is leagues ahead of any other England one-day batsman, combining mass run-scoring with a superlative strike rate. And, though his tendency to get himself out before 100 has attracted criticism, that says far more about the inadequacies of his team-mates than himself.

Collingwood 7 Contributed two 50s, although the 93 did come in a largely dead situation. Well-established as an automatic selection at number six and a more-than-useful change bowler.

Bell 7 Two useful innings that contributed to good opening stands will keep him in the frame. But is he ultimately too orthodox to excel in one-day cricket?

Strauss 7 Rather anonymous series, in that Strauss was neither particularly good nor bad. Still, he is a fine man to play the anchor role and may also benefit when he can once more play alongside a more attacking opener in Trescothick.

Jones 7 At one point seemed to be slipping away from the one-day reckoning rather feebly, but contributed a 49 and a 53 in his last two innings, while his glove work continued its upward curve. There’s only room for one keeper-batsman, and this series showed Jones is the better option.

Prior 3 A specialist batsman with an average of 18 and a strike rate of 65 playing throughout the whole series? It could only happen in England’s one-day team. Now Duncan Fletcher knows for certain who the better ODI keeper-batsman is, Prior’s rash, if clearly promising, stroke play will be confined to county cricket.

Flintoff 6 Terrible batting; reasonable bowling. Needs a break, and it showed. When he returns, he will aim to renew a run-scoring rivalry with Pietersen that, in the one-day game at least, has become totally one-sided.

Anderson 6.5 A touch expensive, perhaps, but usually performed admirably in a makeshift attack and now an automatic selection in one-day cricket once more.

Blackwell 6.5 For the second consecutive series, Blackwell’s left-arm spin surpassed all expectation – indeed, only Harbhajan had a superior economy rate (though Blackwell’s average was 46.) But his batting could hardly have been worse. He appears too hit-and-miss and lacks any confidence, though he must surely eventually contribute.

Solanki 2 For once, Solanki did not do just about enough to remain in the frame. His rash strokes and lapses in concentration will surely finally end his international career.

Mahmood 5 Not exactly earth-shattering, but hints of promise will keep him in the selectors’ thoughts. However, an economy rate of 6.30 suggests he should be made to wait until after the World Cup.

Plunkett 6.5 Confirmed the potential he showed in Pakistan, cutting down on the loose balls while maintaining his wicket-taking threat. The downer was that his batting appeared to regress.

Hoggard 3 Maybe if England played one-day cricket in white Hoggard would be the same as his superb test self. Clearly has a mental block when it comes to one-day cricket, and unlikely to play again.

Shah 1 11 runs in three innings – you do the maths. A huge disappointment given the excellence of his test debut, but Shah still has a chance of appearing at the World Cup.

Batty 3 He’s not Ashley Giles. He isn’t even Ian Blackwell. Out of his depth, and England are surely only too aware of the fact by now.

Ali 5.5 A strange one. One moment he was producing figures of 4-45; the next he was being smashed. That rather epitomises Ali at international level – he has proved he can take wickets, but is probably ultimately too wayward.

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