Sport is adept at finding positives among defeat and England’s One Day cricketers are masters of securing plucky losses against better opposition. Moeen Ali’s first ODI hundred and Ravi Bopara’s 65 gave supporters some hope for the rest of the long Sri Lankan series but with Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan failing, there are evident problems regarding team selection.
Nailing down a crucial slot
Prior to these seven games in Sri Lanka, it had been widely assumed that Alex Hales would be the one to partner Cook at the top of the order and go on to become a key performer in the run in to the World Cup. In their warm up match with Sri Lanka A however, the selectors produced a surprise by including Moeen who hit six straight fours from the first six legitimate deliveries that he faced.
From that moment, the Worcestershire player’s inclusion in the side for the first ODI in Colombo was assured and the decision was vindicated as the 27 year old went on to make 119 in quick time. However, while Moeen flayed 11 fours and five maximums in a rapid knock, his skipper crawled to 10 from 17 deliveries before a straight one from Dilshan put us all out of our misery.
Striking the balance
Any good one day side needs a balance between the biffers and the patient accumulators but in recent times, England’s approach to the 50 over format has been a little too pedestrian. With Alastair Cook and Ian Bell opening the innings, the team lacked an explosive start and the impetus required to accelerate through the middle overs when required.
Alex Hales could have provided that impetus and despite a subdued opening to his international one day career, the Notts Outlaw deserves another chance at this level, even with Moeen Ali in the side. The selectors have given backing to their skipper but surely Cook’s position at the top of the order will become untenable if he makes seven low scores in this protracted series.
Bell’s position at number three could be another concern if Moeen falls early, leaving the Warwickshire man to renew his pairing with the skipper. If England are to compete at the World Cup, they need to recognise that team scores in excess of 300 are now the norm rather than the exception and they need to decide how they can approach that level in every game.
England have a number of players ready to step in if the established men continue to struggle. Alongside Hales, Nottinghamshire team mate James Taylor is with the squad in Sri Lanka and ready to step in and have another crack at international cricket.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance is not with the touring party but many will argue that he should be, after a stunning year in test cricket. The Zimbabwe born left hander can be a natural number 3 at this level and can arguably play the Bell role of controlled aggression far more effectively.
Elsewhere, Jason Roy, James Vince and even forgotten man Luke Wright are all fast scorers who could lift the tempo of this side and create some momentum as the team gets ready for the big event Down Under next February.
As of now, England look hopelessly unprepared for next year’s World Cup and although Sri Lanka’s winning margin of 25 runs may seem narrow, the home side were in control throughout the game. Moeen Ali’s emergence as an international one day opener is a definite positive but elsewhere, serious issues remain throughout this side.
The world of cricket were left shocked when Australia batsman Phil Hughes remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery on a head injury suffered during the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and South Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The 25-year-old left-hander collapsed at the SCG after after being hit by bouncer - a delivery from Sean Abbott.
Here are some of the tweets to the incident, offering their support to the great batsman.
Thoughts are with my little mate Hughsy and his family. He is a fighter and a champion and he will get through this. Praying for you buddy.
— David Warner (@davidwarner31) November 25, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers are with phil and his family! He is a great fighter and a great young man!
— Darren Lehmann (@darren_lehmann) November 25, 2014
Never have I met a stronger more determined person. Fight hard my little brother like I know you can. Love you
— Daniel Smith (@13DSmith) November 25, 2014
Prayers are with Phil Hughes and his family , wishing him all the best cracking lad !
— andrew flintoff (@flintoff11) November 25, 2014
I can't believe what I've just heard about Phil Hughes. Everything crossed for a full and speedy recovery. He's a cracking bloke.
— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) November 25, 2014
Our thoughts are with Phil Hughes and his family. Feeling for everyone that was at the game too. #staystrong
— Jason Gillespie (@YCCCDizzy) November 25, 2014
Thoughts & prayers go out to Phil Hughes with that horrible incident. Hoping for a speedy recovery
— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) November 25, 2014
Dear Lord, if ever the need for footprints in the sand, it's now #PhilHughes #courage #strength
— Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) November 25, 2014
Just heard the news about Phil Hughes, thoughts & prayers are with you & your family. Hang in there buddy, we are all fighting with u !!!
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) November 25, 2014
Awful news about Phil Hughes. Fight hard, everyone's thoughts are with you and your family.
— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) November 25, 2014
Still in shock over Phil Hughes. How quickly life can change! Thoughts & prayers tonight. One of the nicest blokes in the game.
— Michael Slater (@mj_slats) November 25, 2014
Awful news about Phil Hughes. Sickening to hear. Praying for him and his family.
— James Anderson (@jimmy9) November 25, 2014
All my prayers are with Phil Hughes and his family at this time for him to pull through and recover fully and fast from his injury.
— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) November 25, 2014
Thoughts and prayers with Phil Hughes all the way. Fight it out mate. You are a top man. All the strength goes out to you and your family.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 25, 2014
C'mon, Phil Hughes ...you can do this
— David 'Bumble' Lloyd (@BumbleCricket) November 25, 2014
Think we should consider the feelings too of young Sean Abbott, whose bouncer felled Phil Hughes. He will need support as well.
— mike selvey (@selvecricket) November 25, 2014
Thoughts also go out to a great young kid @seanabbott77 Stay strong mate! #CricketFamily
— Marcus North (@Marcus_North) November 25, 2014
Thoughts with Phil Hughes from this side of the Tasman, team @CricketAus ^RI
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 25, 2014
All the thoughts of the global cricketing community are with Australia's Philip Hughes #CricketFamily pic.twitter.com/F5o6GjXzKB
— ICC (@ICC) November 25, 2014
The Guyana batsman - Assad Fudadin has been added to the Caribbean Test Squad for the tour to South Africa, starting next month in December.
The 29-year-old Left-handed batsman has made three Tests appearances for West Indies and will replace Darren Bravo, who withdrew because of his personal reasons.
Dec 17: First Test, Super Sport Park
Dec 26: Second Test, St George’s Park
Jan 2: Third Test, Centurion
West Indies will play three Tests, three T20 and five ODI’s in South Africa.
West Indies Test squad: Denesh Ramdin (capt), Sulieman Benn, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sheldon Cottrell, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Assad Fudadin, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Leon Johnson, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton.
The Indian cricketers - Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir will have to prove the selectors that they are still capable of playing in the 2015 World Cup.
Probably it will be their last chance to prove themselves when Delhi takes on Mumbai in the pre-quarterfinals of Vijay Hazare trophy at Rajkot in-order to get selected for the World Cup, which begins on February 14 in Australia and New Zealand.
It is understood If both Sehwag and Gambhir manage to score a decent runs on scoreboard, the possibilities for their return to national team.
In Yuvraj’s case - Punjab will have to face Gujarat in Rajkot. Despite had a poor performance in the North Zone qualifiers - all eyes will be on the 32-year-old allrounder and the spinner Harbhajan Singh, who will look to improve on their game in order to earn a ticket to the World Cup.
It might be the last opportunity for all these four player to convince the selectors for the World Cup selections.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have announced their 13-man squad for the first two ODIs against Zimbabwe, starting on November 21.
Uncapped Legspinner Jubair Hossain and all-rounder Sabbir Rahman has been included for the first two ODIs series against Zimbabwe.
Nov 21: 1st ODI at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Nov 23: 2nd ODI at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Nov 26: 3rd ODI at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Nov 28: 4th ODI at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Dec 1: 5th ODI at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
*All the ODIs encounters are day and night, 07:30 GMT.
ODI squad: Masrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan (vice-capt), Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah, Shabbir Rahman, Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Al-Amin Hossain, Jubair Hossain.
#BANvsZIM : The Tiger squad for the 1st two ODI's have been announced. To have a look, follow the link: http://t.co/YDNvLP6bgv
— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) November 15, 2014