Oh Well

‘Oh well’. It’s funny how reactions to ODI defeats are so much milder than Test disasters. Had this been a 5-day game we’d probably all be calling for blood. ‘Useless twonks’ etc.

This is nothing new, of course. ODIs outside of World Cups don’t really matter much. The players might whisper it quietly but I bet they don’t particularly care either. I imagine only those playing for their places or white ball specialists like Eoin Morgan give a hoot or two. It all feels a bit after the Lord Mayor’s show. The Test series was clearly the main event.

However, having said all that, no professional sportsman likes to lose. And they do have pride in their performances too; therefore England will be a bit disappointed with their performance in the first game of the series. It was a bit lacklustre all round really. It certainly wasn’t what you’d expect from recently crowned world champions.

So where did it all go wrong? It all looked predictably rosy when England reached 50 without loss. But there was soon a flurry of wickets that put us on the back foot. And when Root ran himself out, and Morgan poked one to slip, there weren’t many experienced players to dig us out of a hole. Stokes and Buttler, of course, weren’t playing in this game.

Although I was critical of Denly’s inclusion – Dawid Malan is a class above Denly as a white ball batsman at both international and domestic level – thank heavens Joe was playing. He steadied the ship alongside the admirable Chris Woakes and guided us to a semi respectable total. Denly even managed to accelerate towards the end – one in the eye for those who doubted his ability to play expansively during the Tests.

Unfortunately, however, a score barely north of 250 was never realistically going to be enough. You can only defend mediocre totals these days if it’s a particularly tricky pitch or your bowlers take regular wickets. Unfortunately England’s attack in this game wasn’t particularly equipped for the latter.

It’s hard to criticise the individual performances of Woakes (who bowled tidily), the two Currans, Chris Jordan, or Matt Parkinson. However, none of them are really wicket takers. Without Wood, Archer and Stokes our lineup looked rather popgun. I think Parky showed potential, and the others are decent thinking bowlers, but they’re rarely going to blow teams away.

The unfortunate result is that England are now one down in the series and they’ve lost their first game as World Cup winners. It’s a good thing, therefore, that nobody will remember this game (let alone care about it) in a few weeks’ time.

Unless something sensational happens in an ODI they all blend into one over time. I can barely remember what happened in the Pakistan series before the World Cup. In fact, I can’t even say for certain that the opposition was Pakistan. All I remember is that Jofra Archer made his debut. I couldn’t tell you the score.

James Morgan


  • I am not sure how much potential Parky showed, on a first look. He doesn’t get enough body into his action to make the ball swerve or dip, or fizz of the pitch (not that this was a fizzing wicket). And he doesn’t seem to have a googly or a real top-spinner. You could say that he can work on all of these, and be a fantastic Warne-level bowler, or you could go with the evidence, to date, which is that he is not as tight a bowler as Bess, and doesn’t have the attacking potential of Rashid. Probably the right answer is that he will become a bit more formidable with more matches and maturity, but to a limited degree. Meanwhile, Mason Crane is apparently fit, as he is touring in Australia. So I guess this is all on the development budget. He didn’t bowl badly, but he bowled without threat.

    • I’ve seen Parkinson give it more of a rip (and get some dip) in the past. I’m sure that initially he’s just trying to land the ball in the right areas. Once he’s feeling more confident I think we’ll see more venom. He’s hardly bowled for months so it’s bound to take him some time.

  • We lost – so what that can happen if you always go out with all guns blazing. I disagree with all the comments in the media about this not being an experienced team or a “B” team though. All of these guys are top players and have enough experience to know how to play (not too mention the wads of cash they get).

  • The team selection seems very poorly thought out. I get that some new blood needs to be tried and that regulars need some rotation – but why then were Denly and Root playing? The former will be 37 at the next WC and does anyone need a rest more than the latter (except perhaps Stokes)? How did Jordan get back in? He’ll be 35 at the next WC and has a very moderate ODI record after 30+ opportunities.

    Still, I guess a home win was good for generating some interest in an otherwise redundant series.

    Meanwhile in the last few days, two more Saffers have taken Kolpaks, the U19s finish 9th in their WC (ignored by the UK cricket media) and Liam Plunkett has been talking about representing the USA (he could qualify by 2022). The USA is the one place those who run the game are seriously interested in spreading the game to and I reckon they’ll be in an ICC tournament before the decade is over.

    • Joe Root is being rested from the 20-over series that follows; it seems reasonable not to all the resting in teh same series, and he’s less needed in the 20-over team.

      (Though, if England aren’t yet sure whether a player should be in the 20-over World Cup squad, that may actually be *more* reason to play them now, in an attempt to decide one ay or t’other.)

      The thing I think I can remember from the Pakistan series before the World Cup (though, like James, I can’t remember the score) was the team being different for each match, with players being swapped in and out. It seems more useful for Eoin Morgan to find out about different players (and combinations thereof) than to win the match.

  • As we have over 20 days test cricket in a full series and only 5 days ODI its not all that surprising that they don’t stick on the memory, Even though many may be as entertaining there is not the level of drama.
    Secondly would we have got anywhere near the World Cup final with that X1. A puff ball attack, featuring the ‘boy’ Currans in a man’s world and only 2 batsmen with recent competitive cricket behind them, neither of them exactly ODI specialists. Plunkett must be thinking there’s hope for a recall yet.
    All things considered we did pretty well to make a game of it at all. Remember South Africa put together a couple of half decent performances towards the end of last summer and certainly have some incentive to re-engage public interest in their declining fortunes.
    I’m sure we’ll do better next time, as the saying goes, but this game was always something of a mismatch, until our lads get their eye in.

  • The thing is you have to play ODIs if you are going to be any good for the next WC and it’s in India. Considering few of the top players will play in the ECB down graded domestic RLODC this summer because of the dreaded 100, where else will they play 50 over?
    I do agree that most one day cricket whether, 20, 40 or 50 overs are almost immediately forgotten. There are very very few classics that stay in the mind like a Test or an exceptional County 4 day gam, which there are many. I can perhaps remember 5 or 6 and 3 of them were 2 40 overs, 1 55 and 1 60 (remember that!). I other was last year’s WCF and perhaps the ’87 WCF, yes we lost that. ODIs? Two a penny.
    I reckon the next WC could be the last 50 over one, unless T20 falls out of favour anyhow.

  • New toy broken! Hopefully whoever was whispering to the media that there was nothing really wrong will now learn to shut up.

    Who would have guessed that making a fast bowler mostly used to short white-ball spells bowl lots of overs would cause a problem? Before everyone blames Root (and he does deserve some of the blame), there might be some questioning of what guidance he was given from the backroom staff. It seems improbable that the coach and physio wanted Archer used in short spells and Root was just ignoring them.

    I can’t think of many examples of other bowlers with a stress fracture in the elbow. I had been wondering where Archer generates his pace given that he doesn’t have much of a sprint or leap into the crease. There might need to be some re-thinking of his technique.

    • This is interesting. It did strike me that this was an unusual injury, and that might go with an unusual action. Maybe Archer’s extra pace came from a hyperextension of that joint? If so, we may sadly, have seen the last of it. But it does rather strengthen the view that the so-called overbowling may have been less at fault than the occasional very fast bursts. At “normal” pace Archer’s action looks preposterously easy, and unstressful.


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