Another English cricketing summer has begun again with Sri Lanka being the first of two renowned cricketing titans to tour our country this summer.
However, England despite the new regime change with new performance director, Paul Downton; the return of Peter Moores as Head Coach and a new group of selectors, England are still making the same mistakes in 50 over team selection. With less than a year to go before the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, England are showing their hand to be feeble and weak.
For years, England have refused to join the party of having big hitters at the top of the order as is the want of every other Test side. Whilst there is a credit in maintaining consistency of selection across all formats and familiarity of roles for players, is that not ego massaging of the order by not putting pressure on players to succeed and garner a better quality of performance.
In Alex Hales, England finally have a player who is both bombastic and exciting at the top of the order. One of the best T20 players in the world, he requires the opportunity to be promoted to the fifty over game and yet England are seemingly content with the opening partnership of captain Alastair Cook and Ian Bell. Whilst Bell is scoring runs solidly, if there is someone disposable it is the Warwickshire batsmen whose removal from the limited overs team(s) will prolong his Test career of which he is the most solid of anchors following the dismal Ashes series over the winter.
Cook has shown himself quite adept at adapting to the shorter format of the game, however, do we have to select the Test captain due to his position of seniority or is he being selected on merit? The selection of Cook with Hales would give the left and right hand combination, and allow Cook to bat his way and Hales the freedom to swing his arms much like Sanath Jayasuriya was nearly 20 years ago.
Yet is this a matter of accommodation or a matter of bad management, because the formation of a competitive batting line-up is being ignored for the sake of posterity. Ravi Bopara is possibly the most talented individual all-round cricketer in England, and yet he is mis-managed by England seemingly. This writer has seen Bopara score centuries for Essex at the number 3 position; his experience and now veteran status should not be undermined and utilised.
Bopara at 3 followed by Eoin Morgan at 4 then the developing Gary Ballance at number 5 will allow some solidity to the order as Ben Stokes (in a perfect world) will enter at 6 followed by the wild card of Jos Buttler at number 7, where his inventiveness and unorthodox approach at the death of a first innings can garner bonus runs or be successful in a chase.
This would mean the removal of Joe Root from the team, this is required as Root a good member of the Test side and an important component of the side going forward is being accommodated in this respect of the limited overs side. Whilst he scored a century in the Caribbean, he nonetheless scored at close or less than a run a ball. Until Root shows he can play and score consistently for his county, only then can we add him to the discussion.
Currently England are not sitting pretty in the ODI rankings as a team and individuals, there is still time to make a statement. How about picking the ones making the loudest noises?