Moeen Ali reckons that he and the other top order English players must throw caution to the wind and get prepared to risk their wickets in the initial phase of the innings.
England’s approach in the power play has been very different from the other teams in the recent times.
While, the other teams look to take advantage of fielding restrictions and get as many runs on the board as possible before the field gets spread, the Three Lions focus on building the innings and they have taken a lot of criticism for that.
The English bosses, be it the selectors or the head coach, have also been very hesitant to slot the attacking players in there at 1 and 2 and give them the licence.
However, this winter, there have been some bold decisions taken. The change in the captaincy is one of them.
Alastair Cook has been shown the door. He is not in the World Cup team. It’s somebody else who would be opening with Moeen for England in Australia/New Zealand.
Whoever is going to be the second opener for England, Moeen wants him to be free flowing and not think about getting out.
Speaking to the press yesterday in Australia, the Worcestershire player said, “I am an instinctive stroke-maker. I go for it from the word go.”
“Obviously, when you play that way, you are always at risk. You might look ungainly while getting dismissed and you might get criticized for your choice of shot, but, when you go well, you would win the game for your team.”
“That should be the mindset of the other top order guys too.
It’s the top order which you expect to set it up for the guys coming lower down. Some intent must be shown at the start.”
Craig Kieswetter might be England’s back up wicketkeeper for the World Cup. He was pretty good behind the wicket for Somerset last season and with the bat too, he did enough to keep himself in contention for the showpiece tournament down under.
Kieswetter’s glove work had always been an issue during his first run with England. But, after having been left out, he seems to have got it sorted out and he is looking pretty efficient even while keeping against the spinners.
The thing because of which the England selectors might opt to prefer Kieswetter over the other names in county cricket for that second keeper role is his batting ability.
The 27-year old is good enough to claim a place in the XI as a specialist batsman. And, he is an opener. So, if he is there in the squad for Australia-New Zealand, England doesn’t need to pick any reserve opener.
Kieswetter has won England matches bating aggressively at the top of the order and that too in big tournaments. In the World T20 Championship final in 2010, he had scored a half century against the arch rivals Australia. So, he has been at big stages before. That’s another positive that he has.
And, Kieswetter is a player of bouncy tracks. He is somebody who relies on playing his shots from the back foot rather than leaning on to the deliveries. So, he can be supposed not to find the Australian conditions as difficult as some of the other players.
Kieswetter has not made appearance in an ODI World Cup so far. He had a chance to be selected last time around in 2011, but, the selectors went with the experienced Matt Prior at the very last minute which had surprised a few former cricketers.
The fingers have started getting pointed towards Alastair Cook again, this time not on his captaincy, but, on his batting in One Day International Cricket.
Even before the start of the 2nd match against India, some of the former England players had said that Cook is not a player for 50-over format and the sooner he leaves that format, the better it would be for him as well for as England cricket and it seems that they were right in their opinions.
Cook again took quite a bit of time at the top of the order yesterday in Cardiff. He ended up with a strike rate of about 67 which could have been much lower if he had not got two boundaries towards the end of his innings.
However, Alex Hales was scoring so freely at the other end that Cook could afford that time, but, definitely, the England selectors need to think about it.
Because, on days, when Hales get out early, England will get stuck with Ian Bell at no. 3 who is also a defensive player like Cook.
Also, Cook’s low strike rate can put unnecessary pressure on Hales who, even if he is not having a great day, will have to go for his shots and he might end up giving his wicket away in that process.
England can afford to play only one out of Cook and Bell in One Day Cricket. Some of the English fans might not agree to it, but, that’s the bitter truth.
In modern day cricket, a-run-a-ball is the minimum that one should score even in the middle overs, forget about the slog overs during which the batsmen tend to go nuts these days. But, the current England set up finds hard to do it because of their conservative approach.
Andrew Flintoff has said that he has seen very few players in his career who can hit the cricket ball harder than Jos Buttler.
Buttler used to play for the Somerset County Cricket Club until the last season, but, this season, he has taken a transfer to Flintoff’s club Lancashire and he has started making impact at Old Trafford straightaway. He has won the club a couple of games with his thundering stroke play.
Buttler has already become a certainty for the Three Lions in 50-over cricket and he is very close to making it to the England test squad as well. He was on the stand-by ahead of the Trent Bridge test match against India. If Matt Prior had not been able to pass the fitness test on the morning of that match, Buttler would have made his test debut there.
Talking about the young wicketkeeper batsman yesterday, Flintoff said, “Jos is phenomenal as far as playing the big hits is concerned. I’ve seen quite a few belligerent hitters over the years and he is as good as any one of them if not better.”
“The thing which impresses me about Jos is that despite having tasted success at a young age, he doesn’t take things for granted. He never misses practice sessions. He is at it all the time. He’s a keen learner.”
When asked if he reckons Buttler can be a good test match wicketkeeper batsman for England, Freddie said, “Yes, off course. Having watched him bat in quite a few innings this season, I do believe that he can succeed at the test level as well.”
Flintoff has recently made a comeback in competitive cricket after being out for a few years. Just a couple of days back, he featured for Lancashire in a match of the Natwest T20 Blast competition.
The young Yorkshire batsman, Joe Root, scored a superb hundred on the first day of the first test match against Sri Lanka which is being played at Lord’s. He came to bat at his new position of 5 and looked extremely comfortably there.
Root had come out in a bit of a tricky situation with England 74 for 3 on a grassy surface, but, he showed a lot of composure and soundness and by building three consecutive big partnerships, he put England into a great position when the play stopped on the first day.
Root had to suffer a lot of criticism for his performances in Australia. The experts were saying that he had flaws in his technique and he needed to go back to domestic circuit and work on them.
In Australia, Root was found wanting on slightly back of length deliveries by Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson used to push the 21 years old back and back by bowling short and then he used to bowl one slightly up to make him edge into the slip cordon or to the keeper. The problem basically for Root there in Australia was that he was not able to transfer his weight from back foot to front foot smoothly.
But, in the inning that he played yesterday, he did that quite well. He handled both short of length and back of length deliveries beautifully and hit some wonderful fours.
He is still unbeaten on 102. He has faced 190 deliveries for that and has sent the ball outside the boundary line 8 times. He has the chance to convert this inning into a big one.
This is the second time that Root has scored a hundred at Lord’s. He had done that against Australia as well last year. He had got 180 at that time.
The English selectors are planning to recall two of the old foxes i.e. Ian Bell and Jimmy Anderson for the one off T20 game against Sri Lanka.
Bell and Anderson have not been featuring for England in the shortest format of the game for quite some time, but, considering the team’s mediocre performances in the recent times, the new selection committee reckons that it’s important to bring in some experience into the set up now.
If Bell gets called back, he would surely be opening the batting along with either Alex Hales or Michael Lumb.
As far as Anderson is concerned, he is a swing bowler and likes to deliver at good length most of the times and that’s why he goes for a lot of runs in the death. In T20 cricket, you need the bowlers to try and bowl yorkers, but, Anderson is not that good at that. But, when it comes to experience, the Lancashire quick is right up there.
The last time that Anderson was seen representing England in the slam bang format was 5 years back in 2009. It was a game against South Africa and despite being his team’s most economical bowler that day, Anderson was left out thereafter and he has been on the sidelines since then in the T20s.
There have been a lot of young bowlers tried by the English selectors in the last few years in the T20s, but, they haven’t got repaid that much and that’s why they are now forced to look back to Anderson.
Anderson has taken a lot of wickets for England in test cricket. He is close to taking his tally past 350 in that format, but, test cricket is a different ball game altogether. You need different skills for different formats.
England have called up Tim Bresnan who has ruled himself fit again. Bresnan, 26, has recovered from a calf injury which ruled him out of all three of the early summer Tests.
On Tuesday, he should be back in for an England side that will be led by Alastair Cook for the first time on home soil as he takes over full-time captaincy of the one-day side. The cricket betting odds make England favourites.
The match follows a heavy defeat by Sri Lanka in Bristol in a one-off Twenty20 match.
Bresnan first picked up his injury during a one-day international in Hobart on 21 January, but battled back in time to play a full part in the World Cup.
Zimbabwe-born Flower will be remaining with England on a permanent role after signing a new contract.
He was offered the role of England Team Director on a permanent basis in 2009. During this two-year period England has risen from sixth in the ICC Test rankings to third behind India and South Africa and has climbed a place from sixth to fifth in the ICC one day rankings.
In 2009 England defeated Australia 2-1 to regain the Ashes and last winter became the first side since 1987 to retain the Ashes with a convincing 3-1 victory in Australia. England has also won a first global title with a seven wicket victory over Australia in the West Indies in 2010 to become the current ICC World Twenty20 Champions.
England will face Sri Lanka this summer in a three match Test Series followed by a Twenty20 and ODI Series. England will then face India in a four match Test Series, followed by an ODI against Ireland in Dublin and will end the summer with a Twenty20 and ODI series against India.
England will have a new logo on their Cricket Helmets for these matches – as Nationwide as just been signed up as a new sponsor.