Our Number’s Up – England Player ODI Ratings


Let’s get this straight. The goal of the recent ODI series was to get some jolly good practice before the World Cup, identify players that might succeed in Australia, and create some optimism and momentum. Our victory in the fifth and final match achieved these goals handsomely. The series was therefore a success … a vindication of Alastair Cook’s captaincy and evidence of Peter Moores’ genius.

Yes, the team has had a rough ride this summer, and lost more games than its won (across all formats), but nobody said it would be easy. Turning England’s fortunes around was always going to take time, and a rare victory against India – the World heavyweight champions in ODI cricket – is a massive step forward. Bring on the World Cup!

Anyway, now that the shifty ECB representative holding a gun to my back has moved away – it’s a bit of a relief as his body odour was terrible – we can return to planet Earth.

Here are the TFT ratings for England’s latest miserable ODI series defeat.

Alastair Cook 3 – I can’t be bothered to criticise Cook anymore. I’ll just quote his series stats, which do the job for me: 118 runs at 29.5 with a strike rate of just 65. Rubbish. What was that about the captain setting the tone …

Alex Hales 4 – Gets a higher mark than Cook because it’s harder for a newbie to bat with a jittery skipper than vice versa. Hales is not a natural partner for Cook. Nobody is. Hales’ job is easier for Notts because he has a dynamo like Michael Lumb at the other end.  That’s why he performs better in England’s T20 team.

Ian Bell 3 – For the first time in a long time, I’m beginning to doubt whether Bell should be playing fifty over cricket. Perhaps he should open, but then who would he open with? Bell is a class act, but his overall record is actually a little disappointing in ODIs. He should be England’s Jayawardene, but at the moment he looks like a classic Aston Martin struggling in a drag race.

Gary Ballance 3 – It’s hard to judge a bloke on one performance, but as England’s management seem happy to, I think I’ll do the same. Unlike Cook and Bell, Ballance is capable of moving through the gears. It would be interesting to see how he bats lower down the order (at five or six) because he’d be forced to attack rather than defend. I’m sure he’s got the talent to succeed.

Eoin Morgan 2 – What on earth has happened to the Irish terrier? He was Mr Cool a couple of years ago: he had all the shots and a penchant for the big occasion. Now he looks unsure of himself and his technique’s as awkward as a drunken teenager having sex. One wonders whether a great technician like Mark Ramprakash can coax better performances from unorthodox hitters.

Joe Root 7 – He really needed that hundred. Before Headingly Root looked good in patches but struggled to raise the tempo. However, his ton yesterday – an innings Richie Benaud might have described as ‘marvellous’ or a ‘super effort’ – has released all the pressure. If England are going to pick a test player capable of batting through the overs then Root should be that man. Although he plays in an orthodox fashion, we mustn’t forget he’s a modern batsman capable of improvising when needed.

Moeen Ali  7 – Bowled well and batted well. His stats with the ball were no worse than Tredwell, and his innings at Birmingham (defying the booing morons) was the second best innings of the series by an England player. Sometimes Mooen’s batting will come off and sometimes it won’t. But whenever he does fire, it’ll be bloody entertaining.

Jos Buttler 6 – We’ve got high expectations for Jos now, but he didn’t quite live up to them this time. He’s sure to make an impact at the World Cup though – unless the Sri Lankan tour totally destroys his confidence. I’m not sure he rotates the strike well against quality spin.

Chris Woakes 4 – Took a few wickets and was possibly England’s fastest bowler (wow, I never thought I’d write that). However, I can’t escape the feeling that Woakes will become Australian slang for the word ‘buffet’ during the World Cup. You can imagine the scenes at Melbourne hotels: “Morning Shane, you ready for breakie mate? They’ve got some sweet tucker at the breakfast Woakes”.

Harry Gurney 3 – Once compared by Simon Hughes to Wasim Akram (the analyst must have consumed the wrong kind of mushrooms in his omelette that morning) Gurney looked poor in his one appearance. Having been an integral member of England’s attack against Sri Lanka earlier in the summer, Gurney must have wondered why he didn’t play more. I’ll give him a hint: our coach is crap.

Chris Jordan 2 – Another one appearance wonder. England’s find of the winter in ODI cricket probably thought he’d cemented his place after the Sri Lanka series. Wrong! Perhaps Jordan would like to compare notes with a certain Ravinder Bopara.

James Tredwell 6 – Tredders was Tredders really. He bowled tidily, didn’t let anyone down, and even got a few runs (which will be no surprise to Kent fans, but probably a shock to everyone else). Having been destroyed by Australia’s batsmen last winter, I’m not sure how often Tredwell will play in the World Cup; therefore expect him to play loads of times in the run up to the tournament. There’s nothing like good planning eh.

Jimmy Anderson 6 – England’s world cup strategy is based upon surviving the new ball when batting, and taking wickets with the new ball when bowling. It would be helpful, therefore, if Jimmy takes more than the two wickets he managed against India in four games. His economy rate was decent though, which is why he gets a decent grade.

Steve Finn 5 – If anyone finds 10mph lying around somewhere – in the street, in a dustbin, down the pub etc – please return it to its rightful owner: Mr S. Finn esq. Watching Finn makes me so sad. A couple of years ago when he played an ODI series in India, Finn was clocking 90-95 mph and looked supremely confident. Now he bowls slower than Chris Woakes. He clearly isn’t back to his best, and quite frankly I’m disturbed that the selectors seem to think he is.

James Morgan


  • Ben Stokes just hit 164 off 113 for Notts against Durham; obviously celebrating his release from the England coaches. ‘Course, it helps that the opening batsmen did their job instead of poking around like a blind man with a staff. Finn’s missing 10 mph is lost somewhere in the ripples of Saker’s belly fat along with Jordan’s grip.

  • KP tweeted earlier today: “I’m not having ANYONE call for @Eoin16 ‘s head…pick a better top order that give him the freedom to bat without always having to rebuild!”

    • It s amazing Clive how the media find someone to drop when our great illustrious leader is under threat. Bell came under pressure during the Test series when we were losing.(Despite his century’s in the ashes last year.) In the ODIS they have dropped Bopara, they dropped Balance after one game. They moved Moeen up and down the order like a New York hotel bell boy. Now they want to drop Morgan.

      Of course it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact the Morgan is a competitor for the role of captain. Just like Bell might have been in the Test series. Playing for England under this captain is like being in the politburo under Stalin. You never know when the whispering campaign will start against you. And then you wake up to find you have been ousted.

      • Yes I agree about the team selection, but don’t know the exact reason either These players are rested or dropped. Any how this is not good for England cricket specially the race has begun towards the World up, no changes and captaincy decision should be changed.

  • I recall that when there was serious talk of Bell’s being made captain, it was that establishment toady Paul Newman who suddenly came up with the fact that Bell had made “a total hash of his leadership task” during a bonding trip a while back (but the dressing room doesn’t leak, so we are told, so where could he have got this idea from?). Of course, these aptitude tests are a complete con, as I know from personal experience. But any stick is good enough to beat someone with when Sheep’s protected status is threatened.

    • Can you imagine the atmosphere in the dressing room.Everyone watching their own backs ( they know exactly what happened to KP. They were there )No trust,No fun anymore.No respect for your captain or your coach.Sheer frustration because you can’t relax and just play your natural game.Oh happy days!!!And giving KP the heave ho was going to fix everything up,was it?????

      • I wonder whether the infamous Melbourne team meeting really was the death-knell for Pietersen. Did his speaking out of turn lead directly to the axe? If so, what would that say about the culture of egality and openness during the autumn of Andy Flower’s reign?

    • That was an interesting little nugget, the leadership task. I wonder what the source of that was. Who would seriously equate captaining an international cricket team with taking part in David Brent-style team-building exercise. Whenever I’ve been involved in these, it normally involves building a raft out of empty gas canisters, or something like that.

      If making a complete hash of a leadership task incurs a black mark, what judgement would one make of day four of the Headingley test in June?

      • “That was an interesting little nugget, the leadership task. I wonder what the source of that was.”

        An observer. Maybe a passer-by, a steward, a doorman, taxi driver, a towel-wallah.

        I’m pretty sure of this. In fact, when Giles Clarke was seen having lunch with Paul Newman a couple of days before that story appeared, I’m pretty sure he was grilling him for info on which passer-by come observer had spilled the beans on this closely guarded secret, in preparation for an investigation which would verge on witch-hunt. James Jesus Angleto is spinning in his grave wishing he had given the same vigour to his investigations as Giles Clarke has given to the Great ECB Mole Hunt.

  • I’ll give it to you lot. Cook’s struggles are bringing out some damned funny mordant writing.

  • The only mark Cook deserves is a question mark at the end of a sentence asking why on earth is he in this team?

    Why does English sport continue to do this to themselves? look at Hodgson with the football, that man is hapless yet the powers that be and the media are content with his haplessness, there are a lot of similarities with the Football and cricket right now.

    The question to always ask is are we (England) giving ourselves the best chance of achieving success? or at least to perform to the best of the teams abilities.

    The answer with our cricket and football teams is a gigantic NO, fair play to the Rugby team though, they have finally sorted themselves out after messing it up after the World Cup win in 03, they will at least go close next year to winning another World Cup.

    • Do you think cricket and football’s problems stem from the same causes? I know too little about football to add much, except to suggest that in that sport, the international game and the FA are a minor sideline compared to the Premier League and power of the clubs. That must play a part in England’s failings.

      In cricket, the international game dominates attention (although the counties get an awful lot of the say). Not everything’s wrong with English cricket, but personally I fear for the talent supply. We rely heavily on international imports, as well as private schools. Where are the state school kids? Moeen Ali is an exception which proves the rule.

  • Well, I don’t rate any of them. It appears Cook has been ‘exonerated’ from playing for Essex again this season – he needs the rest! And the bowlers have also been ‘banned’ from playing for their counties in the last matches of the Championship. So much for England ‘stars’ communicating with the public!!
    Next seasons tours and cups and. of course, Ashes series make it impossible for anyone called up for England to play for their counties at all. Club England is taking away all the best players from the county game, and shunting them around the world in search of ‘honours’ and WEALTH for the ECB. About time the counties told the ECB to F.O. This vainglorious England set up is ruining our best players – what is the point anymore?????????????????????

    • Yes indeed, Ron – Cook is now an Essex player in name only, it seems.

      The counties went along with Clarke & Co’s ideas because they needed the Sky money and now they find that this weird private ECB company has been created, which is taking their best players and flogging a product called ‘Team England’ all around the world. Not a very good product either, and their best players come back broken.

      The counties are the key if anything is to be changed, though – I think constitutionally only the county chairmen can really do anything to affect the ECB. Perhaps people like us should be lobbying harder in that direction.

      • Central contracts were never meant to take players permanently away from their counties. They were to allow players to be rested at the behest of the England management during the season.

        It was to stop the farcical situation that used to occur when a test match would finish on a Monday afternoon and players would jump in their cars and drive across the country to play in a Benson and Hedges or Nat west one day game the next day. Then play a county game the following weekend and turn up knackered on the following Wednesday for the next test match.

        It was particularly important for bowlers to be rested in between matches. I think the 2005 ashes showed the importance of resting bowlers between tests. But there has always been a question mark about whether batsman need more time in the middle instead of just endless net sessions. There is also now an issue about the quality of coaching Team England is providing. They seemed to have messed up numerous bowlers with action changes, and strange theories about lengths they should bowl.

        Only 3000 turned up on Thursday to watch the semi final between Warwickshire vs Kent. They gave free entry to under 16 s but that was meaningless because the schools had just gone back. No doubt the fixture time was decided by SKY. But he who pays the piper calls the tune. Same with England Central contracts.

      • yes Maxie

        I like this paragraph:

        “If that sounds like hyperbole consider this piece of planning. England start their final Test of the series against West Indies in Barbados on May 1. They are, therefore, scheduled to land at Gatwick at just after 5am on May 7. And play an ODI in Ireland on May 8.”

        i wonder, does Giles Clarke have this workload??

        I’ve been watching the Women’s game against South Africa – thinking, listening to Nick Knight pontificating and talking Isa Guha down and concluding there is nowhere to go to watch or listen to cricket anymore – the arrogant toffs and no-marks have taken complete control

  • I don’t think it matters much what England do with or without Cook or Aus for that matter. For once in their lives, SA are not going to **** up in a big tournament.

  • I think this is harsh on Woakes. His new ball spells in the first two matches were excellent: 5 overs, 8 runs, 2 wickets in Cardiff followed by 5-1-20-1 at Trent Bridge. Of course, this good new ball bowling meant for the next game at Edgbaston he was replaced by Gurney – who himself was obviously dropped after just one match. Anyway, Woakes did alright in the 5th ODI too.

    On top of him gaining a couple of mph in his bowling, I even saw him bowl a couple of yorkers and slower balls at the death – though there was admittedly the odd match-figures-ruining over too, at least he looks like he’s developed and expanded his skillset since I last saw him.

    If Anderson’s 2 wickets are worth a 6, Woakes’ handful ought to be worth more than a 4. Woakes has played 3 ODIs in Australia before and has done alright. Talking of buffet bowling, I believe Anderson went for 90 at Sydney a coupla years back? I dunno…

    • Fair point. Maybe Woakes deserved a mark higher. I mostly based my grade on his statistics, which showed an economy rate comfortably over 6 per over. However, come to think of it, those stats were possibly warped by the one horror show he had. I agree that Jimmy can also be expense when batsmen tuck into him. He’s not the best T20 bowler

    • I’m a bit of Woakes fan, he is a quick learner and a hard worker. If Moores-the-Pity and co. don’t bugger him about, he could be one of our key performers in all formats in a couple of years time. Of course, that’s a big ‘if.’

  • We can argue with James’ marks, but then consider that in the Guardian, Andy Wilson, awarding marks for the test series, actually said he was awarding Cook an extra mark for his captaincy. This is like awarding George Bush an extra mark for his generalship in the Iraqi War. I don’t think Wilson was deliberately trolling, I just think he’s not very bright.

    The problem with the ODI series is that no one actually performed at all while the series was alive. Ali was the only batsman to reach 50, none of the bowlers troubled India’s progress at all. So any marks are basically for a dead rubber.

    • Oh, I think he was definitely trolling. He knew exactly what he was saying. Probably got told by Selvey to write it it. ” Be sure to mention how good his captaincy was. “.

      It’s all part of this North Korea coverage of dear leader.

  • Hi I’m new to your website and used to work with Maxie! Happy days. Firstly great site, full of interesting debate.
    Did anyone read the article in the Mail today about Moores wielding the axe. Morgan and Bell could well go ( Morgan might have changed minds today!) whilst Hales ” has been worked out by the Indian bowlers” according to Paul Newman. It is this attitude of not giving new players a chance which is harming us. Remind me…. who has scored an international hundred this year Hales or Cook?

    PS I now teach in a private school and used to teach in the state sector and I can tell you exactly why so many players come from the private system… They play cricket

    • I have no time for Newman. His pro Cook line has become ludicrous. He also seems to run negative stories against players who might threaten Cook. He did a hit piece on Bell at the time of England’s woes in the test series. And now he runs negative stuff against Morgan just as some are suggesting Morgan takes over for the 50 over format.

      Morgans innings today made Newman look a complete Pratt.

      • How dare you, sir? For as Newman states on a recent TMS podcast, he has remained “detached” on the subject of Alastair Cook this summer. Yes, he really made that claim…

  • “Morgans innings today made Newman look a complete Pratt.”

    Again. That guy makes my blood boil! Pathetic journalist.

  • I emphasised to J-Roy that earning your first international cap only earns you the right to play the way you do,” Morgan said. “You should not change anything you do for Surrey and it was encouraging because that expansive way of playing is important for us going forward.”
    Now that’s a proper Captain talking! A massive “Brucie Bonus” for not calling him Roysy


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