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India vs England, 5th ODI at Headingley: What the future might hold for the hosts

Ian-Bell-of-England-bats-during-the-Royal-London-One-Day-International-match-between-England-and-Sri-Lanka-at-Edgbasto
Ian Bell is closing in on being England’s highest run-scorer © Getty Images

England have lost the One-Day International (ODI) series against India 0-3 with one match to play. They have now lost their last four home ODIs against India, and have lost four home series in a row. Shiamak Unwalla looks at what England can possibly do to arrest the slide ahead of the ICC World Cup 2015.

England’s present ODI woes could be down to any number of things. To attempt to unravel their problems would be a task best suited to seasoned analysts. That being said, there are a few shortcomings that are rather apparent, and therefore can be worked upon.

Instability at the top: England’s current under-fire opener-cum-captain Alastair Cook has not scored an ODI ton in 39 innings. He last scored a century against West Indies at The Oval on June 19, 2012 — well over two years ago. Since January 1, 2013, his record is pedestrian at best. Below are the runs scored by England’s designated openers, Cook and Ian Bell over the last couple of years.

Player

Period

M

I

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100

50

0

Ian Bell

2013-2014

27

27

2

1049

113*

41.96

82.01

1

8

0

Alastair Cook

2013-2014

29

29

1

918

78

32.78

74.15

0

6

1

As seen above, while Bell’s figures are decent (his strike rate is meagre by modern standards), Cook’s are hardly impressive. The fact that he is the captain of the side — a role he continues to struggle with and has now lost four home series in a row — means that the pressure on the rest of the side is much higher. Unless Cook finds some form fast, he will continue being a liability on his side.

Virtually no impact batsmen: Any good modern ODI side boasts of batsmen who can play the big shots at will while still averaging in the high 30s and 40s. Below is the list of batsmen with a strike rate of over 90 as well as an average of over 35 since January 1, 2013.

Player

Period

M

I

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100

50

Corey Anderson (NZ)

2013-2014

12

11

3

424

131*

53

159.39

1

1

Mohammad Nabi (AFG)

2013-2014

13

12

2

408

77

40.8

104.08

0

3

Denesh Ramdin (WI)

2013-2014

13

11

3

477

169

59.62

102.14

2

1

Shane Watson (AUS)

2013-2014

18

17

0

644

143

37.88

101.25

3

2

AB de Villiers (SA)

2013-2014

33

33

4

1539

136*

53.06

101.18

5

8

Virat Kohli (IND)

2013-2014

46

41

7

1789

136

52.61

98.08

6

9

George Bailey (AUS)

2013-2014

30

28

4

1319

156

54.95

97.84

2

10

MS Dhoni (IND)

2013-2014

34

26

9

1077

139*

63.35

95.3

1

9

Shikhar Dhawan (IND)

2013-2014

37

36

3

1559

119

47.24

92.63

5

7

Suresh Raina (IND)

2013-2014

43

35

6

1063

100

36.65

90.85

1

5

Kumar Sangakkara (SL)

2013-2014

43

41

4

1929

169

52.13

90.81

5

13

Quinton de Kock (SA)

2013-2014

25

25

0

1181

135

47.24

90.56

5

3

As seen above, Indians dominate the list, with as many as four entries in the top 10. England, however, do not have a single batsman who both averages over 35 and has a strike rate of over 90 in this same period:

Player

Period

M

I

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100

50

0

Ian Bell

2013-2014

29

29

2

1078

113*

39.92

81.72

1

8

0

Joe Root

2013-2014

35

33

3

1018

107

33.93

77.53

1

5

2

Eoin Morgan

2013-2014

36

34

4

1016

124*

33.86

88.88

2

4

1

Alastair Cook

2013-2014

29

29

1

918

78

32.78

74.15

0

6

1

Jos Buttler

2013-2014

34

28

3

774

121

30.96

118.71

1

4

3

Jonathan Trott

2013-2013

14

14

4

611

109*

61.1

86.05

1

4

2

Ravi Bopara

2013-2014

25

22

6

554

101*

34.62

89.35

1

2

0

Gary Ballance

2013-2014

12

11

1

261

79

26.1

70.16

0

2

1

While Jonathan Trott’s average of 61.1 is very impressive, his strike rate of 86.05 is also quite good. Unfortunately, he is not a part of the team at the moment, and from the looks of it, is unlikely to make a comeback anytime in the forseeable future.

Jos Buttler is the only man whose strike rate is over 90. In fact, at 118.71, his strike rate is among the best in the world at the moment. However, he is still trying to cement his spot in the team but remains one of England’s brightest young prospects for the future.. Ravi Bopara comes close to matching the criterion, but falls just short on both average (34.62) and strike rate (89.35). He still warrants a place in the side though, and it is perhaps a bit strange that he has been left out of the current series.

Lack of big run-scorers: We have already seen that England do not have the type of batsmen who can race away and score quickly. However, do England have batsmen who can dig in and score the big runs? Below is a table showing the leading run-scorers in the world since January 1, 2013.

Player

Period

M

I

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

BF

SR

100

50

0

Kumar Sangakkara (SL)

2013-2014

43

41

4

1929

169

52.13

2124

91

5

13

4

Virat Kohli (IND)

2013-2014

46

41

7

1789

136

52.61

1824

98

6

9

4

Tillakaratane Dilshan (SL)

2013-2014

38

38

7

1618

125

52.19

1981

82

3

11

0

Misbah-ul-Haq (PAK)

2013-2014

42

40

7

1583

96*

47.96

2160

73

0

17

2

Shikhar Dhawan (IND)

2013-2014

37

36

3

1559

119

47.24

1683

93

5

7

1

Mohammad Hafeez (PAK)

2013-2014

41

41

5

1543

140*

42.86

1850

83

5

7

1

AB de Villiers (SA)

2013-2014

34

33

4

1539

136*

53.06

1521

101

5

8

1

Rohit Sharma (IND)

2013-2014

38

37

5

1501

209

46.9

1908

79

2

11

0

Hashim Amla (SA)

2013-2014

31

30

1

1340

122*

46.2

1574

85

5

5

1

George Bailey (AUS)

2013-2014

30

28

4

1319

156

54.95

1348

98

2

10

1

Curiously, off the top 10 run-scorers since 2013 as many as seven belong to the sub-continent, with the other three being from South Africa and Australia. This could be due to any number of reasons; what is important to note is the lack of any Englishman. The highest is Ian Bell, who comes in 14th on the list.

What about the ability to score tons? If a batsman can show the application to battle it out to play the long innings, it will ultimately benefit the team. Here is the list of the top century-makers since January 2013.

Player

Period

M

I

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

SR

100

50

0

Virat Kohli (IND)

2013-2014

46

41

7

1789

136

52.61

98.08

6

9

4

Hashim Amla (SA)

2013-2014

31

30

1

1340

122*

46.2

85.13

5

5

1

Quinton de Kock (SA)

2013-2014

25

25

0

1181

135

47.24

90.56

5

3

0

AB de Villiers (SA)

2013-2014

34

33

4

1539

136*

53.06

101.18

5

8

1

Shikhar Dhawan (IND)

2013-2014

37

36

3

1559

119

47.24

92.63

5

7

1

Mohammad Hafeez (PAK)

2013-2014

41

41

5

1543

140*

42.86

83.4

5

7

1

Kumar Sangakkara (SL)

2013-2014

43

41

4

1929

169

52.13

90.81

5

13

4

Aaron Finch (AUS)

2013-2014

27

26

0

968

148

37.23

89.71

4

3

2

Ross Taylor (NZ)

2013-2014

21

21

3

920

112*

51.11

82.88

4

5

1

Ahmed Shehzad (PAK)

2013-2014

29

29

0

1152

124

39.72

73.28

3

7

1

Unsurprisingly, the top five is dominated by Indians and South Africans — two of the three best teams in ODI cricket at the moment. To find an Englishman, however, one must search past 20; Eoin Morgan languishes at the21st spot with just two centuries in over two years.

Unless England can find a batsman — three would be ideal — who can either score quick runs or big runs, they do not stand much of a chance in ODIs, especially while chasing a big total — something that teams like India and South Africa revel in .

Absence of penetrative bowling line-up: Considering that England have played a lot of cricket in seaming, swinging home conditions, it is perhaps surprising that their most successful bowler has been a spinner! James Tredwell is at No 10 in the list of top 10 wicket-takers in ODIs since January 2013.

Player

Period

M

I

Maidens

Wickets

BBI

Ave

Econ

SR

4

5

Saeed Ajmal (PAK)

2013-2014

39

39

18

74

5/24

20

4.11

29

2

1

Ravindra Jadeja (IND)

2013-2014

46

46

27

70

5/36

26.08

4.38

36

3

1

Lasith Malinga (SL)

2013-2014

46

45

25

68

5/52

28.58

5.57

31

3

2

Ryan McLaren (SA)

2013-2014

36

35

6

65

4/19

21.96

5.12

26

5

0

Ravichandran Ashwin (IND)

2013-2014

41

41

10

56

3/31

33.42

5.02

40

0

0

Mohammed Shami (IND)

2013-2014

32

32

18

56

4/50

27.64

5.71

29

2

0

Junaid Khan (PAK)

2013-2014

34

34

19

54

4/15

26.51

5.17

31

1

0

Dwayne Bravo (WI)

2013-2014

32

30

7

50

6/43

25.14

5.76

26

2

1

Mitchell McClenaghan (NZ)

2013-2014

22

22

5

48

5/58

22.83

5.82

24

5

1

James Tredwell (ENG)

2013-2014

29

28

13

44

4/41

23.86

4.67

31

2

0

It should be noted that India have three bowlers in the top 10, including Ravindra Jadeja at No 2. This has played a huge role in India’s ODI dominance, and continues to do so for them. England, on the other hand, have another entry only at the 22nd spot, with James Anderson’s 34 wickets in 19 matches. England’s bowling is arguably better than their batting.

With the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and James Tredwell in their side, they have the quality to do well. What they need is a better plan of attack and good backup bowlers who can sustain the pressure created by the main bowlers.

England have lost more than they have won: This last point is perhaps not a surprise. England are in the same boat as West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in that since January 2013, they have lost more ODIs than they have won.

Team

Period

M

Won

Lost

Tied

NR

W/L

Ave

RPO

Inns

HS

LS

India

2013-2014

49

29

16

1

3

1.81

36.98

5.46

48

383

105

Sri Lanka

2013-2014

50

29

18

0

3

1.61

31.33

5.22

50

348

67

South Africa

2013-2014

38

21

15

1

1

1.4

32.92

5.34

38

358

140

Pakistan

2013-2014

42

20

20

2

0

1

28.98

4.94

42

329

102

Australia

2013-2014

33

18

11

0

4

1.63

37.17

5.66

32

362

74

England

2013-2014

38

16

21

0

1

0.76

30.72

5.23

38

325

99

West Indies

2013-2014

34

15

17

2

0

0.88

29.64

5.16

34

363

70

New Zealand

2013-2014

27

13

11

1

2

1.18

31.82

5.63

27

359

156

Afghanistan

2013-2014

14

9

5

0

0

1.8

31.41

4.86

14

302

124

Zimbabwe

2013-2014

24

6

18

0

0

0.33

25.34

4.53

24

273

144

Their batting average of 30.72 is ahead of only Pakistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe. Even Afghanistan has a better win/ loss ratio and a higher collective batting average. The warning signs are evident, and heads will have to roll for England to move ahead from here on. Alastair Cook’s captaincy has been far from inspiring, and England will need to have a second look their personnel to stand even the slightest chance of succeeding in the World Cup.

Catch all the coverage of India’s tour to England here

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time)

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