Dangerous State of Mind

England have been losing one-day matches of varying shades, to varying opponents, for almost as long as I've been alive.

There are always a range of causes (or excuses) for this - too much cricket, too little cricket, too much exposure to the wrong sort of cricket, too little to the right sort, poor technique, lack of application, too much confidence, too little confidence.

One unwelcome characteristic which the typical English professional cricketer has always seemed to me to have in bucketloads is the ability to look down on people who they don't consider to be as good as them; people who play 'club' or even worse, 'village' cricket. Amateurs. Like the Dutch.

True to form I think England took the Dutch lightly on Friday, with their clumsy team selection giving the game away. Why on earth have Robert Key (and an out-of form Robert Key at that), a specialist opener in all forms of the game, batting at six when what was needed down the order was someone who could blast the ball out of the park, such as Dimi Mascarenhas (whom I would favour as he's done it before at international level) or Graham Napier? And why was Rashid playing? He's not a regular in his county's Twenty20 side and I'm sure that in the long term his best forms of the game are likely to prove to be the longer ones.

The answers lie in the fact that England were - perhaps only subconsciously, but that doesn't alter the argument - treating their game against Holland as another warm-up match, a sideshow and a prelude to the matches that really mattered.

It's a dangerous state of mind to get into as it can sap the will to win and affect players' techniques and decision-making, and England, of all one-day teams, ought to be immune to it

Now, if they don't win today, there won't be any more matches.

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