With the One Day series around the corner, it’s selection time again. New Zealand are one of the better One Day teams in world cricket and showed that they are a tough nut to crack during the winter. However, England’s two previous series were wins against India and away to Sri Lanka, so the home team can also take some comfort in recent form.
Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones have not been considered for selection as they continue their recoveries from injury. Otherwise, recent form is a strong factor in the selection of this 15 man squad.
Top Order Batting
The top order should contain one anchorman with the rest being strokeplayers. The England team has plenty of strength in depth with batting due to the number of all-rounders available. Therefore, a more aggressive approach can be taken at the start of the innings. The role of anchorman has been taken in recent games by Ali Cook and Ian Bell (normally in the same match). Both make my squad, but on the understanding that only one will play in a match. The wicket keeper should also be considered to be a top order batsman and with Kevin Pietersen coming in at four, the other specialist batsman should come in at three. Holding onto his place will be Owais Shah, and just seeing off the challenge of his Surrey teammate James Benning for the reserve slot is Usman Afzaal who has had a magnificent FP Trophy.
Middle Order Batting/ Allrounders
Paul Collingwood should continue to captain the side. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his best moment in the test was when he went into One Day mode to finish the game before the tea interval. Also in the team, primarily as batsmen but possibly to share 20 overs with Collingwood, should be Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright both of whom again are scoring a lot of runs. Sharing 20 overs between batting allrounders may be a risky strategy, so bowling all rounders Tim Bresnan and Dimi Mascarenhas are also be selected
Phil Mustard hasn’t done anything in wrong in the last two series. He’s just not really done anything of note either with just the one fifty in ten matches. Tim Ambrose is also clearly a capable batsman and excellent keeper but with a technique which could be found wanting at the top of the order. Matt Prior is the batsman in form in county cricket as a whole and despite an even more indifferent start to his One Day career than Mustard, he is worthy of another chance and gets the nod here.
Graeme Swann is the man in possession and has shown himself to be a good attacking One Day bowler and a better option in this form of the game than Monty Panesar. The three pace bowlers also pick themselves, with only two likely to be used in any match. Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad are the ones likely to make the team, with James Anderson as the reserve bowler and Bresnan providing further cover.