Ashley Giles’ tenure in charge of England’s limited overs side stuttered again as England’s batting unit collapsed for the second time in two games, handing India a 2-1 Series lead.
Rushing into a January revolution might not have been Giles’ immediate intention when given the instructions to rest his key tsars for the Series, with the ‘Bolshy’ Jonathan Trott and lefty (bat) James Anderson most missed, but if Giles ever was that ‘left-field’ then the last two games have highlighted the obvious flaws to any such plan as England have twice successively failed to reach 160.
Trott certainly has his critics; failing to score quickly enough to sate the naive post-modern appetite for easily swatted boundaries, and with a reputation for being selfish. Statistically however he is by far and away England’s best ever ODI batsmen, averaging a smidgen below 50 at a strike rate a smidgen below 75. One imagines that had Trott been playing, England would have used their full allocation of overs at least once in the past two outings; in his 54 ODIs to date they have managed to do so over 75% of the time. He has also reached 50 in 21 of those matches – a staggering 39% of his innings have seen him raise his bat understatedly towards his team-mates. Selfishness for the greater cause.
Without Trott it is up to KP to come in at 3, not necessarily a poor position for someone of his limitless talent, but none of Root, Morgan or Patel even remotely come across as an international standard number 4. If the openers fail, England are one or two wickets away from disaster – not quite on a par with Australia relying on Clarke, but also not the sign of a balanced team – which is exactly what England should be striving for at this juncture, a good and consistent cricketing balance rather than a dominance which cannot ever be guaranteed.
As for James Anderson, no-one minds a player being rested, but surely there has to be some form of conspiracy for his replacement to be the erratic Jade Dernbach over the fine stable of English bowlers to pick from? Those half trackers pretending to be clever slower balls, those 60mph full tosses out the back of the hand, that lack of control with the new ball, that horrendous first name…The bourgeoisie would have you believe it is a joke, but what does the bleeding red heart of the proletariat tell you?