Tour Officially A Disaster Now

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And it was all going so well. Although we lost the warm up to this ODI series, otherwise know as ‘The Ashes’, by four games to nil, the main event was going swimmingly. Our white ball heroes had been in dominant form and looked set to whitewash the beleaguered and hapless Aussies by five games to nil, thus ensuring an emphatic super series win … our first down under since Tom Harrison learned to say the words “mummy” and “TV contract”.

But disaster officially struck at 10.54pm GMT on Friday 26th January when our unbeatable ODI juggernaut came a cropper on a pitch that offered a bit for the bowlers. Therefore, in what must be some kind of aberration that hasn’t happened several times before, we fell over on our arses quite spectacularly. Well, I guess you’ve got to risk losing (by playing terrible impatient shots when good judgement is required) to win occasionally.

It’s all such a shame. And it’s a real setback for the ECB, who not long ago stated very publicly that their ambition was to make England the best ODI team in the world. It’s enough to make a grown man cry into their £5 a pint watered down lager in a plastic cup. After all, it was such a good plan. Getting good at a format of the game that’s being cannibalised by T20 and might not exist in a few years’ time (I’m talking about 50 over cricket not test matches here) was utter genius. Who wants to be good at a format of the game that’s growing anyway?

However, the team’s humiliation in Adelaide today puts a completely different complexion on the tour. Not only has the dream of beating Australia in an ODI series down under – which has always been the Everest of English sporting ambition – been snatched cruelly from our grasp, we now have to contemplate the very real possibility of only winning the series 4-1 or, heaven forbid, 3-2. And I tell you something. If it’s the latter then the ECB will have to call for a public inquiry forthwith. We can tolerate getting humiliated in the Ashes, but losing a couple of ODIs is simply unfathomable.

Then again, I guess there’s always the possibility that our glorious white ball outfit deliberately gave Australia a chance today. It was Australia Day after all. And we’ve always been more than accommodating to our antipodean cousins. In fact, come to think of it I’m almost certain that’s what happened. I mean, a team as brilliant as England can’t get reduced to 8-5 unless they’re trying to throw the game, right? And there’s absolutely no way that Jason Roy, Joe Root and Co would play terrible shots, and fail to adapt to conditions, unless they were trying to be bloody useless.

No. On reflection please ignore everything I said at the start of this piece. England’s winter tour to Australia has still been a brilliant success. We just didn’t want to humiliate our generous hosts in front of their own fans today. Nobody likes a one-sided contest, do they? In fact, someone ought to have words with Chris Woakes for accidentally scoring too many runs and dragging England up to three figures.

So let’s put today down to a learning experience. And what a valuable lesson it’s been. The next time we try to throw a game, we’ll try do it properly. After all, this Australian team looks like they’d struggle to chase a scantily clad lady at a charity dinner. And besides, who actually gives a crap about the result of these matches anyway?

James Morgan

15 comments

  • Trouble is for what it’s worth, our ODI outfit only bat one way whatever the conditions or state of the game. They can’t adapt to maybe playing 10 overs of normal batting when the bowlers are clearly on top. Providing all the pitches for next year’s World Cup are flat batting tracks we may just win it, but we’ll likely bottle it in the semis. If the pitches do anything we don’t stand a chance.
    Anyway I thought it was a more entertaining game than the usual slog feast.
    Is Wood injured again?

    • It has become a recurring problem. I think we all called it on here last week. England are great when the pitch is good but we only have one gear. And most of our batsmen don’t have the technique to survive against top quality bowling when conditions suit the seamers. Flat track bullies? Perhaps. We need to show versatility.

  • Still, the good news is that Smith still seems to be Rashid’s bunny…

    …and Woakes isn’t doing a terrible job of standing in for Stokes.

  • Hello James,

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter.

    What do you think England’s ODI team should be at next year’s World Cup?

    • Pretty much what it’s been in this series. The batsmen just need to adapt to conditions better. We only have one gear and one way of playing. It has been a recurrent problem throughout our white ball revolution.

  • No point of an inquest as it would be an ECB in house job and there will be small print saying that the ECB hierarchy and selectors are not available for comment.

    • How would England’s flat track heroes have coped on that nightmare pitch India and South Africa are currently trying to play a Test on in Johannesburg? Probably incredibly badly – although I suspect the match would already have been abandoned (and perhaps rightly so for safety reasons – don’t get me wrong…) if England were one of the teams involved.

      • The SA test was good fun viewing. Ball dominating bat as it should be in tests.. wouldn’t want to see too many wickets popping like that but its preferable to stake roads or puddings of pitches where every man and his dog can score 50’s..

  • Superseries’ score stands at 20-8 by my dodgy maths.

    It’s been fun today seeing the press stopping themselves saying “it was a dead rubber” because even they’ve realised they can’t play that card and not look like complete hypocrites after they launched that turbo-charged assault of nonsense about dead rubbers during the Melbourne Test.

By James Morgan

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