Thursday, 10 September 2009

Groundhog Day no laughing matter for England

Andrew Strauss said England’s batting in the third One Day international of the current NatWest series felt like Groundhog Day. All the elements of a typically insipid English limited overs batting display were indeed present: regular wickets, no match-defining innings and an inability to take advantage of fielding restrictions. We don’t need reminding that it was another case of déjà vu.

As was so often the case in the Test series, Strauss stood alone as the one batsman able to build a substantial knock. He will be privately fuming at his own culpability in not going on to notch three figures, but he knows the problems lay elsewhere.

This obsession with scoring centurions preoccupies the England camp and the pressure felt by the top order is exacerbating their problems. Ravi Bopara is too patient, Matt Prior too loose, Owais Shah too inventive and Paul Collingwood too defensive.

These traits are also the individuals’ strengths and when in form they are the things that their major innings are built on. They are collectively low on confidence and unable to play freely yet in a controlled manner.

Australia have bowled excellently, albeit with too many extras, but the hosts are incapable of disturbing the bowlers’ lines and lengths, especially in power play overs. The absence of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff obviously doesn’t help, but it is questionable as to whether England have the best possible boundary-hitters at the top of the order.

However, wholesale changes are not advisable – we are now closer to the next World Cup than the previous one – and the cure for batting déjà vu is not necessarily new faces, as the revolving door of players is in itself a characteristic of poor England One Day teams.

Joe Denly deserves his chance and Jonathan Trott cannot be ignored for too much longer. England’s recurring batting problems are no longer comic – a 7-0 series whitewash would belong in the horror section.

3 comments:

Freddy said...

At the end of the day its just 50 over cricket. They could lose 100-0 and it still woudn't matter because they won the Ashes.

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