Preview: Listless England look for mojo in must-win game

England team have their task cut out in the World Cup

Listless England look for mojo in must-win game

By Suneer Chowdhary

Chennai: Mar 17, 2011

The uncertainties surrounding England in this edition of the World Cup 2011 are a throwback to the times in the early 90s. While the ‘can t bat, can t bowl, can t field jibe can hardly be associated with a side which has only recently won the Ashes, their ODI form and some of the obvious on and off-field issues bear a stark resemblance to the side that had toured India in 1993.

The batting has been a bit of a saviour but the bowling and fielding have been, at best, ordinary. Fitness concerns have stemmed at every nook and corner for the side and Graeme Swann-incident against Bangladesh was in all probability a resultant frustration. Even his apology was confusing and there is not too much doubt that the current team wouldn t probably want to be anywhere but at home.

But there is a small matter of playing in a must-win game against West Indies, which will allow them some more breathing space in the competition. Not that the win will definitely push them through but the chances would brighten considerably.

Where the English side would worry is that they have lost their strike bowler in Stuart Broad and James Anderson seems to have landed in the sub-continent thinking that the tracks would be similar to the ones in Headingley. There have already been calls to rest Anderson but the bigger question then is who to have in his place.

To be frank, the manner in which Anderson has bowled in the shorter variety all summer, it may not be such a bad idea to have a Luke Wright coming into the side he wouldn t go for more than what Anderson has already conceded and allows that extra batting cushion.

But there could be two issues associated with this move. One, the pitch at Chennai could be one of those which help the bowling department, easing the pressure off Anderson. And then, there could be the matter of Graeme Swann not being fully fit for the game. The question then will be whether Andrew Strauss himself down with a stomach bug can afford to risk going in with not too many of his experienced bowling personnel.

West Indies will be keenly following this and will look to come hard at England. The good news for them is that Chris Gayle has been declared fit and at the top of the order, he will not take too many prisoners against the flailing English attack.

For someone who had had an average of less than 25 in this format of the game, Devon Smith s sudden finding of form has helped. So has the promotion of Kieron Pollard to the number five and six in the batting order with many overs in spare as compared to his original number eight position.

However, where West Indies seemed to have pulled things back is by getting in the frontline bowlers after the Dwanye Bravo injury. Nikita Miller came into the playing eleven and with Gayle pulling out against Ireland, there was another bowler in Andre Russell who was called up. Gayle s return will most certainly mean that one of Russell or Miller will sit out.

Unless the think-tank puts out either Shivnarine Chanderpaul or Ramnaresh Sarwan!

A loss here will douse the English hopes in the World Cup. It will also mean that India, West Indies and Bangladesh will go through to the next stage. However, if they win this one, they will enhance their chances a great deal. West Indies, on the other hand need a win from one of their remaining two games but even if they lose both, their net run-rate could still get them through.

West Indies (Probable): Chris Gayle, Devin Smith, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (c), Devon Thomas (wk), Sulieman Benn, Kemar Roach, Nikita Miller

England (Probable): Andrew Strauss (c) , Matt Prior (wk) , Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright, Graeme Swann, Ahmad Shahzad, Tim Bresnan, James Anderson

Umpires: Steven Davis (Australia) and Bruce Oxenford (Australia)

Time: 2.30 pm local (09.00 GMT)

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)

By Suneer Chowdhary

Chennai: Mar 17, 2011

The uncertainties surrounding England in this edition of the World Cup 2011 are a throwback to the times in the early 90s. While the ‘can t bat, can t bowl, can t field jibe can hardly be associated with a side which has only recently won the Ashes, their ODI form and some of the obvious on and off-field issues bear a stark resemblance to the side that had toured India in 1993.

The batting has been a bit of a saviour but the bowling and fielding have been, at best, ordinary. Fitness concerns have stemmed at every nook and corner for the side and Graeme Swann-incident against Bangladesh was in all probability a resultant frustration. Even his apology was confusing and there is not too much doubt that the current team wouldn t probably want to be anywhere but at home.

But there is a small matter of playing in a must-win game against West Indies, which will allow them some more breathing space in the competition. Not that the win will definitely push them through but the chances would brighten considerably.

Where the English side would worry is that they have lost their strike bowler in Stuart Broad and James Anderson seems to have landed in the sub-continent thinking that the tracks would be similar to the ones in Headingley. There have already been calls to rest Anderson but the bigger question then is who to have in his place.

To be frank, the manner in which Anderson has bowled in the shorter variety all summer, it may not be such a bad idea to have a Luke Wright coming into the side he wouldn t go for more than what Anderson has already conceded and allows that extra batting cushion.

But there could be two issues associated with this move. One, the pitch at Chennai could be one of those which help the bowling department, easing the pressure off Anderson. And then, there could be the matter of Graeme Swann not being fully fit for the game. The question then will be whether Andrew Strauss himself down with a stomach bug can afford to risk going in with not too many of his experienced bowling personnel.

West Indies will be keenly following this and will look to come hard at England. The good news for them is that Chris Gayle has been declared fit and at the top of the order, he will not take too many prisoners against the flailing English attack.

For someone who had had an average of less than 25 in this format of the game, Devon Smith s sudden finding of form has helped. So has the promotion of Kieron Pollard to the number five and six in the batting order with many overs in spare as compared to his original number eight position.

However, where West Indies seemed to have pulled things back is by getting in the frontline bowlers after the Dwanye Bravo injury. Nikita Miller came into the playing eleven and with Gayle pulling out against Ireland, there was another bowler in Andre Russell who was called up. Gayle s return will most certainly mean that one of Russell or Miller will sit out. Unless the think-tank puts out either Shivnarine Chanderpaul or Ramnaresh Sarwan!

A loss here will douse the English hopes in the World Cup. It will also mean that India, West Indies and Bangladesh will go through to the next stage. However, if they win this one, they will enhance their chances a great deal. West Indies, on the other hand need a win from one of their remaining two games but even if they lose both, their net run-rate could still get them through.

Teams

West Indies (Probable): Chris Gayle, Devin Smith, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (c), Devon Thomas (wk), Sulieman Benn, Kemar Roach, Nikita Miller.

England (Probable): Andrew Strauss (c) , Matt Prior (wk) , Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright, Graeme Swann, Ahmad Shahzad, Tim Bresnan, James Anderson.

Umpires: Steven Davis (Australia) and Bruce Oxenford (Australia).

Time: 2.30 pm local (09.00 GMT).

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)

Pictures Getty Images