As the old saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and if the smoke drifts into the dressing room, you should probably exit there as well.
A number of England one-day players have exited both kitchen and dressing room for this series, although some of them seem to think they’ll be walking back in once the heat has subsided.
A good one-day player at the eye of a storm of mismanagement during the World Cup, Gary Ballance may well return before too long, but what about the others? Ian Bell, James Anderson and Ravi Bopara have all played well over a hundred one-day internationals, none of which we can remember. They have competent to good records, but each retains plenty of detractors.
Then there’s Stuart Broad. His record is not dissimilar, but he’s a few years younger than that trio so is perhaps fractionally more likely to play again. He does however appear to be in denial. Even though the selectors have made it abundantly clear that he’s been dropped, Broad still thinks he’s being rested. In the weeks leading up to the next World Cup, he’ll be telling anyone within earshot that England have been doing the right thing keeping him fresh over the preceding four years.
Oddly, James Taylor – one of the few players to emerge from the winter with reputation marginally enhanced – is unlikely to play today. This seems hard on the man who played England’s best – although admittedly pointless – innings during the World Cup and who had shown great promise leading up to that.
We’re not quite sure how a team that can’t bat can’t find a place for a player who can bat, but actually, once you look at the team, it is quite hard to get him in. Cricinfo are predicting that Hales, Roy, Root and Morgan will be the specialist batsmen with Stokes as a top-order all-rounder and Buttler at six.
Will new-look England fire or will they merely deliver a slightly different brand of self-immolation? Let’s draw conclusions based on today’s match alone and then stick with them for the next few years regardless of what happens in the future.