By David de Winter – Sports Editor
The England cricket team returned this week from their calamitous performance at the 2015 Cricket World Cup with their tails firmly between their legs. One can only hope that such a debacle perpetuates a seismic shift in the team’s selection and approach to one-day cricket. Everyone from the management to the players needs to take a long hard look at themselves and evaluate what went wrong. I’m here to help them on their way.
Ian Bell – 6/10
Runs: 262 @ 52.40
In the words of Peter Moores, if we look at the data, Bell was easily England’s best batsman: leading run scorer, highest average, three half-centuries in six innings. A steadying influence at the top of the order; still has a part to play in the future of English cricket.
Moeen Ali – 5
Runs: 192 @ 38.40
Wickets: 4 @ 50.25
A chastening tournament for the Worcestershire all-rounder. Apart from an impressive century against the Scots he contributed relatively little. Too often got starts and then got out. His pinch-hitting role needs to be reviewed and may benefit from batting down the order as he does in Test cricket. One of only two batsmen with a strike rate over 100. Bowling lacked penetration like the rest of the England attack.
Alex Hales – 5
Runs: 64 @ 32.00
Got little opportunity to impress having being thrust into the team for the crucial game against Bangladesh. Didn’t quite play at his fluent best as he does in T20’s. Probably should be opening the innings. Worth persevering with though.
Gary Ballance – 2
Runs: 36 @ 9
Ludicrous decision to put him at number 3 and shunt Taylor down at 6 having played so little cricket in the run up to the tournament. Looked all at sea even against Scotland. A strike rate of 50 says it all. Still worth his place in the Test team but the sooner Taylor returns to the number three spot the better.
Joe Root – 6
Runs: 202 @ 40.40
Scored a quality hundred against Sri Lanka and provided England’s only resistance against New Zealand. Bad dismissal when well set against Bangladesh. Coming of age as one England’s key players in all formats of the game. A long and successful career awaits him. Strong candidate for one-day captaincy if England drop Eoin Morgan (they should).
Eoin Morgan – 3
Runs: 90 @ 18
A predictably woeful tournament for a man in terrible form. Arguably shouldn’t have been anywhere near the team on given his record in the previous 18 months, let along captain. Wasted too many balls ‘getting in’ only to get out soon after. For a player identified as a one-day specialist and a ‘finisher’ he failed to finish any matches and recorded a pitiful strike rate of 64.74. Place in the team under serious jeopardy.
James Taylor – 5
Runs: 149 @ 37.25
Unfathomably shunted down the order to number 6 when he had seemingly made the number 3 spot his own. Excellent 98 against Australia in a losing cause but contributed relatively little after. Needs a prolonged run in the side because he is clearly a class player.
Jos Buttler – 7
Runs: 141 @ 35.25
Perhaps the only player to come out of this calamity with his reputation enhanced, Buttler batted with power, improvisation and skill towards the end of his innings against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Scotland. Scored his runs at a strike rate of 135, 30 better than any other England colleague. Calls for to be permanently pushed up the order are premature – he needs to come in when the correct situation demands it. More a damning indictment of the inflexibility of the England management who kept him down at 7 for the entire tournament.
Chris Woakes – 5
Runs: 90 @ 30
Wickets: 5 @ 46.8
As a bowling all-rounder he batted very impressively, almost guiding England over the line against Bangladesh. His bowling was not so pretty – he went for over 6 runs per over in the tournament. Is he international class? A lack of viable alternatives mean he will probably get other chances to stake his claim.
Chris Jordan – 5
Runs: 0 @ 0
Wickets: 4 @ 18
Jordan has impressive bowling stats from the two games he played but they were against Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Seems an effective death bowler which England have been lacking. Complete brain-fade in the denouement against Bangladesh again posed questions over his temperament in high-pressure situations. Again, like Woakes, the best of a rather average bunch.
Stuart Broad – 2
Runs: 13 @ 4.33
Wickets: 4 @ 63.50
A chastening series for England’s T20 captain. Bowled two crackerjacks to get rid of David Warner and Shane Watson in consecutive deliveries in the opening fixture against Australia that had me dancing, rather inebriated, round the living room in delight but it all went downhill from there (for me and Broad). Took very few wickets and bowled expensively – not a great combination in any form of the game, let alone one-day cricket. Worryingly, for a bowler who is meant to be in his prime he looks like his best days might be behind him.
James Anderson – 4
Runs: 9 @ 4.50
Wickets: 5 @ 49.00
An England all-time great, of that there can be no doubt but Anderson could not manage to get the new ball to swing apart from against Bangladesh and therefore his effectiveness was negated. Still some years left in him but may decide to call it a day in the limited overs arena.
Steven Finn – 6
Runs: 2 @ 1
Wickets: 8 @ 25
Again, in Moores speak, the data would suggest that Finn was England’s most successful bowler. He got demolished by Brendon McCullum but which bowler hasn’t in recent times? Despite conceding almost 7 runs per over he took a wicket every 21 balls – that’s every 3.3 overs and he recorded England’s first ever hat-trick in a World Cup. Finn is a bona fide wicket taker and an international class bowler. He just needs to reduce the amount of four balls he bowls. Remember James Anderson used to get carted around until he learned to control the ball effectively from 2007 onwards? England need to persevere with Finn especially given the scarcity of quality pace bowlers at their disposal.
It is clear that there needs to be a marked change in England’s mind-set towards limited-overs cricket. Come the opening one-dayer of the summer against Ireland in Dublin on the 8th of May (three days after the end of the West Indies tour – great scheduling there) one would hope that there would be some new personnel in that squad. This is a chance for England to wipe the slate clean and start afresh with contemporary one day cricketers like Jason Roy of Surrey and Sam Billings of Kent. Let’s stop playing the cricket of yesteryear and start catching up with the rest of the world.
David is the Sports Editor for The London Economic. For enquiries, please e-mail [email protected]