It was as if the incredible 4-0 thumping of South Africa never happened, as England endured a humiliating loss in the first of their seven ODIs in India. England were excellent against South Africa; but they paid the price for stubbornly sticking to the formula that was so successful then. In vastly different conditions, different approaches are needed.
Most fundamentally, England blundered badly in failing to select Graeme Swann. Swann had a very good series against New Zealand in the summer, was extremely unfortunate to be dropped for Samit Patel, and his stats show he should be regarded as England's premier one-day spinner. that is not to say Patel does not have a role to play; but, despite his five wicket haul in the third ODI against South Africa, he is a batting allrounder who should be regarded as the fifth or six bowler. England need both Swann and Patel in these conditions.
Though Ravi Bopara gave a long overdue reminder of his talent, it is bewildering that there is no place even in the squad for Dimitri Mascharenhas. He offers remarkable six-hitting capacity at number eight, canny bowling that could be well-suited to these wickets, smart fielding and a shrewd cricketing brain. Mascharenhas is a fine cricketer and has already done enough to suggest he could have a vital role to play for England.
The opening partnership of Matt Prior and Ian Bell excelled against South Africa, but it feels knee-jerk to critice it so soon on the tour. But, in Indian conditions power hitting, of the sort exhibited by Virender Sehwag, is needed from the off. Prior, the supossed aggressor, may be better utilised lower down the order. But England, having injudiciously selected Cook as the reserve batsman, have few options. They must adapt to survive - select two spinners and show a willingness to tinker with the batting order.