England must look to the future now or face being considered also-rans

Andy Lloyd
IT’S no great secret that India are the driving force in world cricket at present, and with their team having just won the World Cup, 50 over cricket is here to stay.

With that in mind, and taking into account their woeful showing in the competition, highlighted by their non-presence in the ICC’s team of the tournament, England really need to get their house in order.

The limited-overs formats are far more popular than Test cricket and many people will judge England’s standing in the game by their performances in one-day cricket.

I’m not saying we need to rip it up and start again, but the use of specialist coaches and the blooding of youngsters such as Chris Woakes and James Taylor would be a step in the right direction. Here are three more to keep an eye on this summer.

The 23-year-old really kicked on last season with Yorkshire and it’s his willingness to attack the new ball that really caught my eye. He’s a left-handed opener and a real clean striker of the ball. He stuttered in the second half of the last campaign with bowlers perhaps having worked him out. It will be interesting to see if he’s refined his technique during the off season.

At 26, the Somerset batsman is hardly a spring chicken but he’s surely next in line as far as an England place is concerned. His critics suggest he profits from playing the majority of his cricket on a Taunton surface which lends itself to scoring big runs. It’s an unfair stick to beat him with though. Indeed, nobody doubted the talent of Marcus Trescothick when he was taking attacks to the cleaners on that deck; it’s not where you get them, it’s how you get them.

Competition for Graeme Swann’s spot as England’s No1 spinner is non-existent. Monty Panesar’s ship has sailed and while Adil Rashid is still young, he hasn’t trained on. Briggs is only 19, but the noises coming out of Hampshire are very encouraging. He’s a traditional left-armer, but he’s got decent variation and with 75 wickets in just 22 first class matches he’s clearly got some talent.