Saturday, 23 February 2008

England Ratings

Here is how England's players rated in their disappointing 3-1 series defeat to New Zealand:

Alastair Cook 6
For the second consecutive series, Cook finished as England's top run-scorer. He appears to be going in the right direction as a one-day player but an inability to score a steady stream of singles mean doubts still abound. His 70-ball 42 on the final game bordered on the excruciating; while his 69 in game four, scored at a strike-rate of just 78 despite the perfect batting conditions, was also indicative of his limitations.

Phil Mustard 6
Mustard's 83 in the fourth game showed he has real promise as a pinch hitter - but he too often flatters to deceive, and was out to an aberrant slog in the final game. Encouragingly, his keeping was generally excellent - though, typically amongst English keepers, he disappointed with the gloves after making his top score.

Ian Bell 6
Yet again, the feeling is Bell too often fails to assert himself for an international number three. His 73, before being unjustly given out, was sublime, but he must improve his consistency. At least his strike-rate - 80 in this series - has markedly improved in the last year.

Kevin Pietersen 6
Pietersen's average - 33 - and strike-rate - 73 - were both disappointing. In 20 ODIs since the World Cup, he has averaged just 31 - though they were tentative signs of improvement, England need to work out why.

Paul Collingwood 8
In games three and four, Collingwood played two brilliant innings which should banish, once and for all, the misconception that he is a 'nurdler'. His bowling and captaincy were fairly impressive too.

Owais Shah 4
A very disappointing series, which showed Shah is less-than-comfortable attacking from ball one. His talent is beyond question, however, and it would be well worth giving him the chance to open, as he has for Middlesex.

Ravi Bopara 2
Looked out-of-his depth and desperately bereft of confidence. How much he has been over-hyped for one valiant, but ultimately futile, innings a year ago.

Graeme Swann 2
Unceremoniously discarded after two poor games - though it would never be easy defending such meagre totals - and should have played towards the end of the series, given the excellence of his displays in Sri Lanka.

Stuart Broad 7
Undoubtedly on an upward curve, Broad twice took three wickets in an innings but also suffered from bowling too short at times. But, especially given his batting aptitude - 52 runs for once out in this series - he has established himself as a key member of the limited-overs side.

Ryan Sidebottom 7
Now an indispensable member of the side, Sidebottom is the sole bowler with a full grasp of the virtues of line-and-length. That should not detract from his other qualities, however, and his spell with the old-ball in the fifth game was an example of pacey reverse-swing at its best.

James Anderson 2
Enough is enough. Anderson consistently bowls too many loose deliveries, allowing New Zealand's openers to get off to explosive starts - unacceptable in a side playing only three specialist bowlers. His series stats say it all: four wickets at an average of 67 and an egregious economy of 7.3.

Dimitri Mascarenhas 6
There was a major clamour for his inclusion after his superb Twenty20 performances. 29* of 12 balls in the fifth game illustrated why; but, not benefiting from an apparent lack of confidence from his captain, his 14 overs cost 93. If he cannot consistently deliver 10 overs for 50, even his amazing propensity for clearing the ropes may not be enough to claim a regular spot.

Luke Wright 8
Wright's showing was, in many ways, the most encouraging of any England player. He hit the ball hard and far, scoring 71 in the 47 balls he faced, but his clean-striking suggests a highly encouraging talent - for now, however, he should not be brought back up to open, where he failed ignominiously in the Twenty20 World Cup. And his last over in game four suggests a temperament well-suited to international cricket, and real potential as a fifth bowler.

The Verdict
After twice thrashing New Zealand in the Twenty20 games, this was a humbling series indeed for England. Their batting collapsed pathetically in the first two games, while their policy of including only three front-line bowlers is not sustainable. A more flexible batting order is another area England must work on: too often they lack adaptability in games, though Collingwood's use of Shah with the ball showed they can think on their feet. England's one-day side is considerably better off than when they were humbled by the West Indies - but it is very much work in progress.


The Tooting Trumpet said...

I find you generous Third Ump.

I'd have given Cook 5 for using up vital resources at the top of the order. Broad would have scored lower for failing to react to being hit (again). I'd have given Dimi more as he did what was asked and his boundary fileding was excellent. Jimmy was lucky to get 2.

Richard Lake said...

I'd agree with the playing rating for Colly. However, I think his captaincy has been poor during this series. Whether or not he wanted certain players to play, if he has a team of 11 players then he has to use them all.

Masca and Bopara were both marginalised in the field and he got lucky with Wright's last over in the 4th game.