The various injuries obviously haven’t helped matters but England haven’t really performed at all and have been very guilty of not doing the basics right.
More worrying still, almost no-one is in good form and the ones who aren’t injured look jaded and like they’d rather be elsewhere. And that’s not good for their World Cup chances.
Andrew Strauss was heavily criticised for missing the tour of Bangladesh last year and vowed not to sit out England games in the future but in my opinion he didn’t need to play the whole ODI series. Other than all of the on-field decision-making there’s all the Media stuff and other miscellaneous commitments.
You hardly have a minute to yourself and that wears you down. I know Andrew was on a big high after winning the Test Series and wanted to lead the ODI side as well. He did the right thing by sticking around for it but maybe he could have gone home after the third game when the Series was all but lost.
The same can be said of the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood. I know Colly is desperate to find some form but sometimes a break from cricket with your feet up is the best way of getting yourself out of a slump.
The one guy I’m surprised not to have been given more of a chance is Luke Wright. Unlike Chris Woakes and Steve Finn, Wright is in the World Cup squad. So why is he not playing? I think Luke can consider himself pretty lucky to have selected but if that’s the decision England have made them they need to give him some games so they can work out where he fits into their plans.
His batting is OK but he can’t be in the side just as a batsman and the truth is his bowling hasn’t really improved over the last year or so and remains a little one-paced and predictable. Either way, if England have picked him, they need to play him now rather than throw him in at the deep end at the World Cup after spending the last few weeks carrying the drinks.
As far as this sixth ODI goes, there’s only one way I can see England winning it and that’s by batting first and posting somewhere between 280 and 300. It’s tough batting second at the SCG in a day-nighter because the moisture late on causes the ball to zip through at greater pace.
If you have proper quicks, which Australia do in Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, the short ball can be a lethal weapon and you can find yourself in a position where your top order has been dismissed with not many runs on the board.
If England win the toss and post a big score then they have a chance to pull one back but I can’t see their out-of-form batting line-up chase a big total themselves.
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