Why are England so bad at one-day cricket?

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You can come up with immediate reasons, like how badly they’ve been batting of late, but take a step back. Why are England so consistently bad at one-day cricket?

We’ve been thinking about this a bit and our theory revolves around player rotation. One-day internationals, more than Test cricket, revolve around your second choice players and England’s reserve players aren’t as good as those of other nations. We’ll come to why that is later on. First, let’s take a look at a few of the players in this one-day series who could be branded ‘squad players’.

Australia’s squad players

Tim Paine is Australia’s third, maybe even fourth choice wicketkeeper. He scored a hundred in his seventh one-day international. Callum Ferguson probably isn’t in Australia’s first choice XI, despite averaging 51.81.

As for the bowlers, at least two of Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus must be reserves – we’re not sure which. Shaun Tait and Stuart Clark don’t make the squad.

England’s squad players

England’s many one-day all-rounders didn’t have much of an impact in the 6-1 defeat to Australia and then there’s the batting. One-day specialists and promising young players have something in common on top of international underperformance: county cricket.

New players should be given a chance, but why do England’s seem to need so much of a chance. We’ll go into this more tomorrow, using Joe Denly as our example.

How substandard backup has an impact

You might think that it’s all about the first XI, but it’s not. There’s almost always at least one player injured, particularly if you’re not resting players because the backup’s so poor. And if you do rest players, you need others to step in and perform.

Also, if you don’t rest players in this day and age, they start to look shot. Ricky Ponting’s had some time off at the start of this one-day series and Australia have regularly rested other major players for each of the one-day internationals.

For England, Matt Prior, Andrew Strauss and Ravi Bopara could have done with time off. James Anderson and Paul Collingwood could have done with more time off. These players have not been at their best, but England feel they can’t leave them out.

What do you get if you combine jaded first-choice players with substandard reserve players? You get England.


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  1. Maybe central contracts need to be changed to cater for a bigger squad.
    Maybe the counties could emulate Durham and bring on more local talent.

    And as for now is Vic Marks right and they just didn’t want to peak too early for the Champions’ Trophy?

  2. I suggest that Ravi have his time off during the second half of Englands innings each match. That should keep him fresh.
    PS Got the shirt, thanks KC. Love it.

  3. I can see why the selectors like the look of Joe Denly: well-balanced and crisp orthodox technique, very composed at the crease and seems to have a good temperament.

    But for these reasons I’d have thought that he would have been ideally suited to test cricket, not one day cricket. Testing good young players out in one-day cricket seems to be one of the selectors’ problems as KC points out.

    I remain unconvinced by the depth argument e.g. Tim Paine. As you say yourself in an earlier post, Chris Read is a fantastic batsman who has regularly averaged over 50 in county cricket. He is also capable of one-day international hundreds. He is, however, behind Prior, Davis, Kiesweter, Jones, Foster, Ambrose and possibly Pothas in England’s current thinking.

    As a slight aside, I like Paine. It seems to me that he is a much better keeper than Haddin or Manou if not as accomplished as either with the bat.

    The problem is dodgy and muddled selection; not the quality of the players in my view.

  4. Also, England seem to see-saw between being quite good and quite shit with alarming regularity: we find some good players, they start winning, then, for no apparent reason, they become terrible. This time last year we we hammered SA as I recall. The 20-20 world cup encapsulated this even if it was a different format.

    Why is that?

  5. Amazing what dumping Ravi and giving James Anderson a spicy pitch does for a team. Colly was practically unrecognizeable from the ODI series player. Are we sure it wasn’t Boyc’s gran?

    And in that list of Aussie bowlers, unless he really does need a rest, they don’t drop Johnson. None of the others can bat. Not like Mitch can monster it anyway.

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