Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Who'd a thunkit?

Cor blimey, strike a light, guv'na - England cricket team in one day cricket success? Read all abaht it, read all abaht it...

The World Cup's back on the agenda, we have the best all-rounder in the world, and the Aussies are on the slide; some welcome light at the end of the long, dark Ashes tunnel. But I think that a first overseas ODI tournament victory since Sharjah should probably be tempered somewhat by the bald statistics of mediocrity that show England lost 22 of the 33 games previous to their winning run to the VB Series final.

Credit where credit is due; you don't beat Australia three times on the bounce without playing the odd session of decent cricket. Missing the batting of Kevin Pietersen, and, in the winning sequence, the swing bowling of James Anderson, England could have justifiably claimed to have been deprived of two of the three or four really world class one day players they have. But with Liam Plunkett bringing along his bag of jaffas, Collingwood batting like it was day two of the second Test in Adelaide again, and some of the bits-and-pieces players finally coming good (hands up Jamie Dalrymple - what a catch in Sydney, by the way - Mal Loye, and Ravi Bopara), they didn't do a half bad job.

I've mused on the flummoxing nature of England's ODI record before, and it's difficult to see everything slotting smoothly into place come the West Indies. It depends who makes the squad, I guess, and fingers should be crossed over Jimmy Anderson's back, Jon Lewis, for some much needed control with the new ball, and someone who can bat as wicket-keeper (although don't hold your breath, as Nixon looks likely to get the nod for his jabbering alone; poor old James Foster). With a decent run of form, they might make a tilt at the semis, and then it's anyone's to play for really. I'll have my fingers crossed, of course, but having observed England splutter at the two World Cups of recent memory, I won't be getting too excited just yet...

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