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.