Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Loss of Root a problem

The unfortunate news that Joe Root will miss the World Twenty20 Cup in Bangladesh for England, is another blow in a cruel winter for England following the debacle of the Ashes tour in Australia.

Root sustained the injury batting during his maiden ODI century in Antigua last week.  The character Root showed in completing the milestone was in stark contrast to the boyish image of innocence we have become accustomed to.  Root was one of the few English batsmen to not show timidity to the Australian bowlers, however like all his colleagues he had no answer to the onslaught.

Yet the loss of Root does not deny England a settled batsmen in a line-up and the alternative to the absent Jonathan Trott, the loss of Root's ability to bowl vital overs of off-spin in the sub-continent in unison with James Tredwell and Stephen Parry.

England utilised Root in the 50 over matches versus the West Indies opening the bowling giving him four overs to stem the flow of runs at the start of the opponents innings, and by and large it worked with Root taking a wicket in each match.

Now the option of Root opening the bowling also helped to hide Stuart Broad's bothersome knee injury by not having the captain bowl his full quota.  Now England need to find an alternative.

Luckily, there is one in the squad in Moeen Ali who bats at the top of the order and also offers leg spin. Ali will probably bat at 3 with the Nottinghamshire pair of Alex Hales and Michael Lumb established atop the order. Ail is a left-hander who can rotate the strike.

A criticism of England's innings is that they too often look for a big shot and face off too many dot balls.  The unexciting Samuel Badree bowled 16 dot balls yet gained three wickets. 16 dot balls out of 24 balls bowled, quite astounding.

England seem to rely too much on their seam attack, yet they need to establish a criteria and gameplan here in the Caribbean for the sub-continent. Pick two seamers, now Dernbach and Bresnan following Broad's injury and supplement with Tredwell (who bowled tidily), Parry, Ali as well as the slower medium pace of Ravi Bopara who was most impressive with his wicket to wicket bowling that frustrated the Windiest batsmen.

Expect an XI of Hales, Lumb, Ali, Stokes (who can bowl but looks worn-out) Morgan, Buttler, Bopara, Bresnan, Parry, Tredwell and Dernbach.

England have called up Ian Bell as Root's replacement as a man of experience, however, it is unlikely Bell will play as he does not have the power required and offers no bowling option.

Joe Root has been mocked in some quarters for his boyish glee and impishness, yet like most players of quality and talent, when they are absent you miss them all that much more

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