Sunday, 8 July 2007

England ODI Ratings

After cruising to victory in the Test series against the West Indies, England suffered an ignominious defeat in the one-day series. They learned little new and, depressingly, there was little sign of perennial problems being rectified. Here is how they rated in the ODIs:

Alastair Cook 4
So impressive in the Test series, Cook seemed unsure of how to approach the shorter game. His ability to find the boundary was encouraging; but his inability to get off strike shows he has much work to do in this form of the game, though he must not be discarded.

Matt Prior 6
Opening the batting, Prior displayed impressive shot selection and was not, as some had feared, too rash, showing he could adapt his game depending on circumstances.

Ian Bell 5
Bell made a crucial 56 in the first game, and certainly has the qualities to thrive in ODIs. His problem is not so much his relatively slow scoring, but his apparent incapability of scoring a truly decisive knock.

Kevin Pietersen 2
Five failures, including in the Twenty20, served to highlight England’s unhealthy reliance on his brilliant batting.

Owais Shah 8
Shah scored a superb 55* in the second Twenty20 game and, from tricky situations, scored at least 40 in each ODI. His unorthodoxy, flair and sheer class are certainly meriting of a regular spot in the shorter formats.

Paul Collingwood 4
Collingwood was disappointing all round, though there is no need to panic yet. He averaged only 17 with the bat; his bowling was below par; and his captaincy looked uncertain during the last two ODIs. Collingwood’s decision to move himself from backward point was understandable, but, in future, he really must return there, where he can make such a difference.

Michael Yardy 5
International class? Probably not – Yardy’s darts may have been accurate, albeit unthreatening, but his batting is patently incapable of worrying the opposition: he is far too easy to tie down.

Dimitri Mascarenhas 6
Mascarenhas went wicketless but went for a frugal 3.50 an over with his intelligent wicket-to-wicket bowling, displaying control the envy of the young quicks. However, he was picked as an all-rounder and barely scored a run in the ODIs.

Liam Plunkett 7
Recalled after leading Durham to the Friends Provident Trophy Final, Plunkett clearly has much work still to do but he was England’s best seamer, taking five wickets in 20 overs, though consistency is still palpably lacking.

James Anderson 5
Anderson seems to have become undroppable in England’s ODI side, though he is too often wayward. As a new-ball bowler, he is adequate; but he is cannon fodder later on (he went for 47 in 3 overs in the second ODI) and is certainly not the answer to England’s death-bowling problems.

Stuart Broad 5
Broad was outstanding in the first game, taking 3-20, only to get progressively worse in the last two games. There is no doubting the beanpole’s promise – but some more county cricket would not go amiss.

Monty Panesar 5
Panesar was mystifyingly dropped for the second game and under-used in the third. Though his ODI performances have flattered to deceive to date, the left-armer should be of great use as a middle-over container.

Ryan Sidebottom 5
Sidebottom took 2-56 in the nine overs he bowled before, a little unfairly, being dropped for the decider. However, his exceptional performance in the second Twenty20 game shows he could have the control and cunning England so dearly need in one-day cricket.


Richard Lake said...

There seemed to be a certain amount of "captaincy by numbers" by Collingwood. It was almost as if he had a formula - the three quicks get 6-7 overs at teh start and have to bowl all ten. The other 20 come from him, Macsa and Yardy/Panesar, regardless of how successful they are being.

In the 2nd game, yardy was hugely underused as a bowler (which is his strong suit in international cricket) and Panesar and Masca likewise in the 3rd game.

Absolutely right about Anderson. Excellent at the start of the innings, not up to it as a death bowler. Therefore, why not bowl him out early. Also, why do we have to have fast bowlers at the end of the innings. Colly and Masca bowl straight and mix it up a bit. Lets see them close it out.

Nick Gammons said...

One of England's biggest problems is attitude. They don't play aggressively, as they do in Tests. The use of Panesar is a prime example - he is a great wicket taking spinner, yet he is either underused or asked to contain. He should be trying to rip open the opposition. Time and again the West Indies exploited England's inability to get enough wickets, the same problem that dogged them in the World Cup.

As you rightly say, Tim, Shah came in and attacked using his unorthodox strokeplay and natural aggression. Pietersen clearly can do the same, as can Prior and Flintoff (when he finally returns). Cook does not and is as uncertain in ODIs as he excellent in Tests. I hope he learns quickly.

Bell is no more a number three in ODIs as he is in Tests. If he is to play it must be lower down the order. Pietersen needs to step into the three spot and show his one day class.

Collingwood's captaincy was distinctly average - he was never going to be a Vaughan, but he must step it up if he is to be in the job long term.

The biggest worry by far is the seam bowling. Anderson should either be bowled out, as Richard suggests, or dropped. Broad definitely needs to refine his game, but has the attributes to succeed. I'm not convinced by Sidebottom in the shorter game - his pace means he has no margin for error and if it doesn't swing he's a blunt weapon. In this regard he will suffer as Hoggard did.

As Fidel Edwards showed pace is a killer in ODIs. All the top sides have an out and out pace bowler who can devastate the opposition. With Harmison retired from the shorter game and Jones not back to full fitness and form England are bereft. If no-one can take up this mantle at the moment they should look to attacking spinners.

As I have already said Panesar should be used in an attacking vein, but perhaps Adil rashid should be given an opportunity.

Best of all, though, would be the return of Simon Jones, or the development of a new young quick.

1000yardstare said...

It is very hard to bowl at the death to batsmen that are set. How often has that happened to McGrath? Never, because the rest of the bowlers do their job taking wickets. In the World Cup McGrath, Bracken, Tait and Hogg took roughly the same amount of wickets. It wasn't left to the opening bowlers to take all the wickets. Plunkett, Anderson and Broad took 15 wickets in the 3 games and Collingwood, Mascarenhas and Panesar took 1 between them.

For instance in Pakistan Blackwell was taking middle order wickets. Even though they had big hitters at the end Afridi, Razzak, Naved Anderson and Plunkett did a great job bowling at the death. Big hitters coming at the death is what you expect, not number 3 and 4 that have been batting all afternoon. Anderson was taking the wickets and Plunkett was keeping the batsmen from getting any runs.

Tim said...

I think Flintoff and possibly Bopara could make for quite a useful death-bowling pair, with Colly and Masca other possibilities. Also;why not Blackwell over Yardy?