England are currently being demolished by India in the One Day series between the two sides. Admittedly, the hosts (and Yuvraj in particular) have been exceptional, but England have been awful. What’s the problem?
- Is it the openers? To some extent. Prior and Bell are not the sort of ODI opening partnership that strikes fear into the hearts of opposition bowlers, and are generally representative of England’s lack of combativeness early in their innings. Prior in particular is now facing accusations that he’s only in the side because he gets on well with Peter Moores, and whilst those are probably unfounded, England’s batting order is certainly a bit odd (Bopara as a specialist batsman at number eight is almost unbelievable).
- Is it the deployment of bowlers? The way in which Anderson has been used, and the continued absence of Graeme Swann, are questionable to say the least. I understand the desire for continuity, but if mistakes have been made, they need to be admitted and rectified rather than swept under the carpet.
- Is it Allen Stanford? The ghosts of the Super Series may still be haunting a large section of the England dressing room, and the distraction of the IPL-ECB negotiations can’t be helping. Confidence is hardly running high.
Chances are that all of these factors are playing a part in England’s slump, but things could still change if the tourists win the next ODI and regain the feel-good factor which characterised Kevin Pietersen‘s first few weeks as captain.