Archive for the ‘ODI’ Category

After the high, the comedown

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

I wouldn’t say the afterglow of England’s Ashes victory has faded, but it’s been tempered slightly by two consecutive losses in this ODI series.

The comedown was perhaps inevitable. England losing two on the trot was not.

After all the joy, the celebration, the glitter cannons, the starry-eyed dream of climbing up the Test rankings, we return to a format at which England are a bit shit.

Not that Australia have been all that great shakes at it either in these two matches, though the results may suggest otherwise. At no time has it been particularly obvious, at Melbourne and at Hobart, that you were watching the no.1 ODI side in the world, and the team that won the Ashes.

Shane Watson won it for Australia in Melbourne; Shaun Marsh, filling in for a hamstrung Mike Hussey, won it for them in Hobart. Both were superb performances. Watson’s knock has, rightly, been hailed one of the great One Day innings, and the inevitable cries of “where has he been?” accompanied Marsh’s century celebrations. There are probably more than a few Australian fans who are hoping Mike Hussey stays stuck in rehab for a bit longer.

Aside from that, it’s mostly been a case of the mediocre versus the barely competent.

England were all out for 184. Their batting was diabolical. Those who performed with the bat at Melbourne failed at Hobart. Steven Davies was dropped in favour of Matt Prior, who coach Andy Flower has decided will keep wicket in the World Cup. Matt Prior went for a duck. What Davies thinks about all this is unrecorded.

There was no way Australia should have been allowed to win with a total of 230. With the exception of Marsh’s brilliant innings, the bar was set low and England still couldn’t get over it.

England’s total batting first at Melbourne was 294 and they didn’t win there, either. The well oiled machine from the Tests, translated to this format with some tweaking, is looking slightly creaky.

It’s true that England are approaching this series as a working laboratory with an eye to selection for the World Cup. So far it’s not really going to plan.

Michael Yardy, picked for the WC squad, sent down dross at Hobart for the most part but ensured ongoing selection confusion by taking two wickets. Chris Woakes, hero of the Adelaide T20, should have played at Hobart instead of James Tredwell. Tredwell is in England’s World Cup squad. The man with the best bowling figures in this match, Chris Tremlett, is not.

Speaking of the World Cup squad, Ravi Bopara must be wondering whether he will ever play for England again, and it looks like management still have no idea what in the world to do with Adil Rashid.

None of this is really filling me with any confidence. Sometimes I wonder whether my growing antipathy towards the ODI format is because England have never been particularly good at it. Perhaps if I was an India fan, I would feel differently.

There are five more matches in this series to go. My patience is running out with these ODIs and there have only been two of them. It would be nice if England could win the next one.

The bloated behemoth that is the World Cup is now slowly heaving its unwieldy corpus over the horizon, blotting out the sun and laying waste to TV schedules and sleep patterns everywhere for the next two and a half months .

God help us all.