England v India – My Thoughts

Following a sports team can bring many highs as well as many lows. Especially if that team is the Indian cricket team. I can’t quite bring my self to understand what happened in the test & ODI series, but be sure we won’t be hearing the last of these problems for both sides.

Where to start with India’s problems? The same old problems of a test series abroad still haunt Indian cricket. On paper India should have performed far better than they did in the test series. The only players who can take any consolation from the series are Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Murali Vijay, Ajinke Rahane and MS Dhoni at a push (a big push).

Talking of Dhoni, he did well in patches with the bat but not to the level we expect from him. He seems to be playing within himself. His captaincy was at times to safe in the test series. India started the series very well, with a battling performance on that flat pitch at Trent Bridge, and a great win at Lords. But after that game we saw the same Indian performance that we got in the UK last time around, albeit with different players.

I have said it for a while now but India have a great bowling attack to compliment the star studied batting. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is looking more and more like a young James Anderson, while Sami and Ishant scared the English with their pace. Shame Ishant Sharma got injured after Lords, his injury made a difference. Punkaj Signh tried very hard but wasn’t really up to the standard.

There were two other talking points for India to think about in the test series. The first being the situation between Jadeja and Anderson. This odd little saga, seemed to take the stuffing out of India. For some reason the accuser (Jadeja) was found guilty of his offence, while the accused (Anderson) was not tried at all for another two weeks. What’s more is that Anderson was let off scot free forcing the ICC to re-asses the Jadeja charges also.

There has been lots of talk that Dhoni and his players felt let down by the coach and board not supporting them. Since the Anderson hearing India seemed like a team who didn’t care. I would like to clarify that both players were found innocent, but have you ever seen MS Dhoni so animated, ever? “Captain Cool” got angry, definitely one of the most sporting players around currently. For this reason I know what speculation I should believe. I also believe that Jimmy Anderson is a great bowler but on the field he seems to cross any sporting line constantly.

India bounced back well in the ODI series with Raina even adapting to lots and lots of short pitch bowling. One big disappointment was Virat Kohli, we need him to come good.

England’s main problem is Alistair Cook. He had a poor test series, not reaching three figures once. He was called out by many pundits as being tactically out of his depth as captain also. In many ways India’s shockingly bad batting in the last few test matches has prolonged Cook’s captaincy.

The England selectors now have a massive headache in the selection for the World Cup and Sri Lanka tour before that. Cook is still the ODI captain, yet 99% of people that know anything about cricket know that Alistair Cook does not merit a place in the ODI side.

A special mention needs to go out to Moin Ali, England seem to have found a rough diamond there.

Questions to answer:
Should Dhoni step down a test captain to concentrate on limited overs captaincy?

Should India replace Duncan Fletcher?

Should England pursue with Cook in ODI cricket?

Who are the next captains for both sides?

 

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England back to the captaincy drawing board?

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After another loss for his side, Alistair Cook seems to have cracked. In a frank press conference after the series loss he told the media that he is considering his captaincy future. The future for England is now very uncertain, if Cook ends his captaincy can he still have a place in the ODI side? Can England have three different captains in the three formats?

What’s next for Cook?

It seems Cook will renounce his ODI captaincy but we are unclear if he will call it quits as test skipper. His place in the test side is still guaranteed on past performance but its a whole different ball game in ODI cricket. He has always seemed a little out of his depth when it comes to the shorter formats of the game. It is unclear if he will actually step down yet and if he has been pushed out. All will become clear in the next few weeks.

Who should England pick?

The candidates to replace Cook seem a little limited. The stand out man in ODI cricket would be Eoin Morgan. The only issue with appointing Morgan as ODI skipper would be England cricket would have two if not three different captains. Broad is the captain of the T20 side but it is clear on performances that he is not really an inspirational figure. Ian Bell could also do the job, it is more likely he will get the role if Cook decides to step down in test cricket also. He would provide continuity by being the captain of both tests and ODI cricket.

From being considered one of the best run sides in international cricket, England now look to be one of the worst run. The future looks uncertain for many senior players, with the kids needing time to settle in.