The only conceivable surprise about South Africa's slaughter of England yesterday was that it was quite so quick. Let's face it, with a few notable exceptions (Sharjah 1997, Champions Trophy 2004, CB Series 2007), England have been useless at one-day cricket for years and years and years.

I'm going to take a back seat and let the dust settle for a few days before I say anything else, but most of the British papers seem to be calling for Fletcher's head and, having first done so back in December, I can't see myself bucking the trend now. It's encouraging also that there appears to be widespread recognition that Vaughan's ODI career, never very distinguished, has also run its course. I'm instinctively dubious about the concept of having different captains in Test and one-day cricket, but England simply can't go on like this.

Having seemingly played most of the tournament with only one proper batsman, it was always going to be tough for England when he failed. Throw in a complete inability to take advantage of powerplays in the way that the better sides do, add the consistently inconsistent - and often utterly dreadful - bowling of Sajid Mahmood and Flintoff's range of form and discipline issues and you have a recipe for disaster.

Looking to the longer term, it's difficult at the moment to feel other than that the only good to come out of England's 'campaign' is the feeling that the whole flimsy house of cards has been brought crashing down and that change is now inevitable.

And Ravi Bopara.


Homer said...


We come to your shores to play 4 test and 7 ODIs come June.

How do you see the series shaping up esp in ODIs?

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks, Homer.

As the tour is in the second half of the summer when it tends to be hotter and drier (it's been unusually warm and dry here throughout April so the Test grounds could be dustbowls by July) I can see the pitches suiting Kumble and Harbhajan, as well as the Indian batsmen, so I can see the Test series being quite close. Perhaps England to win by the odd game. Even if England make the chnages they need to - and I wouldn't bet on it - I can only see India winning the ODIs. No matter how many problems India think they have in ODIs, England have many more.

I look forward to seeing how it turns out and discussing it with you - I'll be at the Lord's game.

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