When should a team start planning for the World Cup?

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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?


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  1. I’d say there’s still plenty of time for England to change their captain and first choice XI at least three more times before the World Cup starts.

    At least it’s not just us, I see West Indies are taking the same approach.

    “Alright Mrs Holder, is your Jason playing out today?”

    Doesn’t work. Sack him.

    1. Pakistan being Pakistan, if they sack their captain and half of their team and spend the next month arguing with each other, that will actually set them up for a strong showing.

  2. I like South Africa’s approach of experimenting in Bi/tri-series so that you build the depth in the extended squad.
    they even have 3 captains. only problem is I know who those 3 are (hash/abd/faf) but keep getting confused on who is captaining which format?

  3. They are a young and bold side. They will play bold cricket. “Fear? Fuck fear” they’ll say. These are not a set of players you want to mess with, they’ll clobber you for a six over midwicket. With their penises. Repeatedly. They won’t hit the Australian ground ambling. No sir. Full throttle, that’s what they’ll aim for. And if it all comes crashing down, they’ll laugh at the world.

    That seems to be the general impression I am getting.

  4. It’s the dithering that causes the problem. Cook was sacked way too late, about six months after normal people had started calling for it. So perhaps the trick is for the press and public to call for someone to be sacked six months before they lose form, while they’re still at the top of their game. Or even before they’ve been picked, just to give the ECB a better chance of realising that at some point they need to go.

    “Fans call for Bert Jr to be removed from England captaincy role. The ECB is maintaining its claim that they’ve never heard of him.”

    1. Bert Jr is only being mistreated in this way because he comes from the North. No southern, public school boy captain would be subjected to this sort of indignity.

      I say stick with him.

      It can only be a matter of time before Bert Jr comes good. He’s due.

    2. He is indeed due. The list of things he is due is absolutely enormous, but for starters it contains an ability to tie shoelaces properly, some effort at homework, and a period of relative room tidiness.

    3. The fact that Bert Jr doesn’t have someone to tie his shoelaces and tidy his room for him strongly suggests that he doesn’t come from the right sort of family, I’m afraid.

    4. I seem to have got on just about OK in life without mastering the first and last of the “due” items on your list, Bert.

      Nor do I have a gentleman’s gentleman to do either of those things for me, I am ashamed to admit. So I suppose I haven’t got on that well after all. Quite right, keep on pushing, Bert.

    5. We have a shoelace tying approach which is infamously lacking in dexterity; we pretty much never did our homework; and we are prone to storing our clothes on our bedroom floor.

      Bert, we’re sorry to break it to you, but Bert Junior may not end up an England cricketer, but an England cricket writer.

  5. If you look back at the world cup since the thing started, every winner has had a mostly settled side with an experienced captain. Although this has been true for South Africa in every world cup too, so it is no guarantee.

  6. No amount of planning will work. Or planning will not work. Or something like that.
    Anyway, what works is “executing the skills”. Are the players planning to do that ?

    1. Importantly, are they planning on executing those skill sets as a unit?

      That element also is vital.

    1. Don’t diss my cognits, Ged. This is simply a case of Stopped Clock Syndrome, which as everyone knows involves usually wrong things being occasionally right. In my house I stop this happening by adjusting the hands on any stopped clock to an impossible time, which does prevent confusion, but also breaks the clock.

  7. I think the crucial aspect is having a team load of good players. Now that Cooky has been dropped, then there are only about 5 places to fill. Will Broady be fit to bowl? Can Jimmy transcend the transcendental tonking he took from George Bailey? Are there any alternatives? Thanks to the ECB long term strategy, the answers are obvious.

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