INDIA’S one-day whitewash of England highlights the significance of home advantage. In totally different conditions on the Subcontinent, India were of course far more comfortable and the roles were utterly reversed. But if England have pretensions of being the best one-day team in the world then they have to adapt far better.
Alastair Cook’s men never looked like they knew how to bat. Only on one occasion did they almost make 300 runs, and even then should have gone and racked up a bigger score.
The middle-order batsmen were woeful, and coach Andy Flower has said he intends to shake things up in that department. But as poor as the batting was, the bowling really was not any better and, for me, the whole make-up of the team needs to be looked at.
For starters, Craig Kieswetter’s place at the top of the order should be reconsidered. In Tuesday’s final match, England needed one of the openers to get a big score. Kieswetter made 60 but then got out, and I’m just not sure he will ever be a man to rely on for that sort of innings.
I would like to see one of the main batsmen – either Ian Bell or Kevin Pietersen – go first, with Kieswetter shunted down the order or dropped. Much depends on whether Johnny Bairstow can match his glovework, and I’m not sure he can yet.
I was disappointed that Scott Borthwick did not get more than one game. Samit Patel had his chance on turning pitches and batting down the order but didn’t really take advantage, while Borthwick deserves an extended run in the side.
The results on this tour do not reflect well on Cook, but a captain is only as good as the players at his disposal. No matter what tactics were employed I’m not sure the results would have been different.
Cook tried his best and has a relatively inexperienced side to choose from. Three automatic selections – Eoin Morgan, Stuart Broad and James Anderson – were missing and, while you can’t say that was the difference between losing 5-0 and winning, they would surely have improved performances.
I firmly expect to see an improvement when they face Pakistan early next year. Essentially, England are a good team who just need to get some key players back and rethink the two or three places that aren’t automatic picks.
Finally, let’s not forget what a good year it has been overall. An Ashes win and a superb summer have contributed to an excellent 12 months Test-wise. In the one-day arena England have been good at home, they just seem to forget how to play when they get on a plane.