In this new Morganian one-day world, with its unexpectedly stumbling approach to a major tournament, we’d like to ask: when should a team start planning for the World Cup?
England have often cobbled together a strategy at the 11th hour, bringing in players with little or no experience of high pressure games in front of big crowds. This is clearly the wrong approach, but for this World Cup, they appear to have gone the other way. Did they commit to plans too early, wedding themselves to a captain despite there being ample time for everything to go tits up? Skyscrapers in earthquake zones are only so robust because they give a little. When does stability become counterproductive rigidity?
Perhaps it makes sense to think of long-term planning in terms of phases. For a four-year World Cup cycle, the first might last two or three years. This is the time for experimentation. Well-established players who are likely to be around for the next World Cup can frequently be omitted from games or even entire tours so that younger players who selectors want to ‘take a look at’ can be included in their place.
Then, with a year to go, things maybe get more serious. You start to settle on your first-choice team and try and give them experience of playing together, performing the roles for which they have been earmarked. One of those roles might be captain. How far out can you commit with some certainty?