ENGLAND’S problem, in Test matches and now one-day cricket too, is that they have forgotten how to get runs on the board and build a strong start.
And that is why the current malaise afflicting their captain in both forms, Alastair Cook, is a concern that is increasingly difficult to ignore.
Cook managed just four runs on Sunday as England’s nightmare winter in Australia continued with a six-wicket defeat in the first one-day international.
The tourists finally ended a six-game losing streak yesterday against a Prime Minster’s XI, but again Cook went cheaply, this time for one.
It’s been a tough couple of months for the Essex batsman. He’s not a natural one-day player but has worked hard on developing his range of shots.
On flat pitches such as those Down Under, however, he should be scoring runs and he simply cannot go on losing wickets so cheaply.
UP FOR GRABS
I wouldn’t go as far as to say this series will make or break his place in the one-day side, but his form is hampering the team and that is an issue.
Cook must clear his head, because that’s where the problems surely are. He is a class act and there is no question he is trying – maybe too hard.
He needs to relax, see the ball, hit those ones he knows he can and hope for improvement. And if he can’t turn it around, his place in the 50-over side is up for grabs.
As it is, there are a few selection issues to consider before Friday’s second installment of the five-game one-day series.
England simply have to pick a spinner so that Cook has a variety of bowling styles with which to counter Australia, so James Tredwell must play. The player I’d drop is Joe Root, who managed just three off 23 balls at the weekend. That’s not enough for a No3 batsman, and I’d bump Ravi Bopara up the order to take Root’s spot.
Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer. He has also served as captain and chairman of Warwickshire.