This isn’t just a beating, it’s an MS beating

England 298-4 (50 overs), India 300-5 (49.2 overs). India win by 5 wickets – & the series 3-0

It was always likely to happen. In their own backyard, and having had time to regroup after their disastrous tour of England, the World ODI champions proved too strong for our inexperienced side.

Our successes in the 50 over game against India in September just raised false hopes. The opposition were tired, low on confidence after the test matches, and England were hungry. This time India were ready for England and wanted revenge. They’ve got it. And they’ll have even more if, or when, they complete a series whitewash.

At least we played a bit better in the third match. In fact, we really should have won. The reality, however, is that our batsmen started too cautiously and our young bowlers lost their nerve at the death. Then again, losing to MS Dhoni is nothing to be ashamed of. When it comes to ODIs, the charismatic Indian captain is arguably the best finisher in the world right now.

This wouldn’t be a very interesting blog though if we simply held our hands up and said ‘well played MS, we lost to the better side’. There have to be some recriminations …

The main culprit, I’m afraid, was Craig Kieswetter, who had a torrid time. It was arguably the worst performance by an England keeper since Geraint Jones finally shelled his last chance; or maybe that match when Bob Willis dubbed Matt Prior, Matt Dire.

Kieswetter dropped two relatively simply catches at crucial times, then trod on the stumps when trying to run out Jadeja at the death. The batsman was miles short of his ground. It was an embarrassing moment.

Meanwhile his batting continues to disappoint. If I had a quid for every time he made a twenty or thirty, but failed to go on, I’d be able to buy my cricket club a new pair of pads. I fear he simply isn’t good enough. Better players have had fewer chances.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Trott continues to polarise opinion. Although he batted well, and he’s reassuring figure at the crease, he gave his critics plenty of ammunition. If you bat for 47 overs in a ODI, you really need to make a hundred.

Had Trott raised the tempo at the appropriate time, rather than getting bogged down when Pietersen was out, England would have scored 320 and won the game. 298 was a handy total, but only a par score on what was an excellent batting pitch.

Now the series is lost, England can afford to experiment a little. The first thing they must do is recall Bell at the expense of Kieswetter. Bell is a far better batsman, and as we’ve seen, Kieswetter is not a quality keeper. Bairstow could do just as good a job.

We should also tell Dernbach to stick to the basics rather than trying outrageous slower balls every other delivery. The leg-spinner is only a surprise when used sparingly; otherwise it’s not really a surprise, Jade.

 I would also give Meaker a game ahead of Finn. Pace is always a useful weapon to have, but the pitches haven’t given Finn the bounce he thrives on. Meaker is skiddy and bowls with better control (in theory). We should give him a go.

I’d think twice before blooding Borthwick though. Patel has played well, and the Indians tend to eat young spinners for breakfast.

James Morgan


  • I’m somewhat confused by this whole tour. Other than lining the BCCI’s pockets, is their a point to any of this?
    Having Cook Captain a 5-0 whitewash on his first proper tour in charge will do nothing for his confidence and will not help him tactically.
    It’s clear (to me at least) that this is not the team that we will take to the 2015 World Cup, I also think that Cook will not be ODI Captain by then so we are learning nothing by doing any of this. It would be far better at this stage to put together a provisional world cup squad and tell them their places are safe. Kieswetter looks like he is playing for survival every time he bats. Without the pressure he would be able to relax and play his natural game.
    I’m probably alone in this but I think it’s time to give KP his ODI cards and send him off to find a county to play for. Again. It’s clear now that his best years were around 2005 and he is never going to quite hit those heights again.
    Trott is just wrong for ODI cricket. You need at least a 110 strike rate for this type of cricket and he will never have that. A 40% dot ball ratio is just not good enough for the modern game.
    Bell must play, at the expense of cook if necessary. You cannot leave a player of his calibre to carry the drinks then expect him to turn it on when you put him in for one game. He is good enough to play 1-7 in any international team not just ours so why is he drinking tea for a living?
    We’ve had a good look at Dernbach now, he overuses the slower balls and the Indians have worked him out. Can we use what’s left of this tour to have a look at meaker?
    I would love to see a team who are settled, confident and go into every game honestly believing they are the best team in the world and expect to win. I love watching teams with a bit of swagger, the windies had it, grudgingly the Aussies had it and we had it at the world T20. We just need to remember how we got it!

  • Although this tour is a bit of an irrelevant bolt on, I still think it’s important that we do well. That’s why I’m disappointed, albeit not surprised by the performances. We are the No.1 test team in the world, and the next step is to become the No.1 team in the world full stop. In order to do that, we need at ODI team that at the very least wins more than it loses, and is very competitive in all conditions. When the Aussies were No.1, they were the best in all forms of the game. It’s a bit unrealistic to expect England to turn into ODI world beaters over night, but I still think we can claim to be the world’s best overall cricket nation, if we are amongst the best in ODIs. This seems a long way off at the moment.

    At least there is some talent coming through. Perhaps we should stick with the youngsters and hope they learn from their mistakes. However, I somewhat disagree about KP. He has looked our best player in the last 2 matches – and was unlucky to be given out LBW yesterday. Had he survived, we would have made a bigger total for sure. Agree re: Kieswetter though. He needs to improve or make way. At the moment, he looks like approx the 15th best keeper in the country, and about the 25th best batsman. So why is he playing????

  • I think most would agree that England’s ODI performance over the summer flattered them, so we should not be too surprise that we are struggling in India where we have not one a ODI series since, well a very long time ago. Remember India and the WC holders and the summer series was well below their normal standard.

    We need to look towards the 2015 WC, but we need to manage a transition to it by keeping a blend of the older/ more experience players to support the young guns coming through. The like of Dernbach will struggle at times but he needs support and guidance over the coming couple of years.

    As for Trott, I am afraid for the naysayers that his stats are simply better than most England players. He has the best average and one of the best strike rates and whilst it may not be pretty he is doing at least as well as everyone else (why the calls for Bell who has a very average record – and I am a big fan of him). One wonders if he had tried to up the pace when KP got out and got out himself whether England would have got too 300: ah the joys of what ifs.


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