England v Sri Lanka ODI Series Preview

By Zaheer Haque

England begins the ODI series against Sri Lanka at the Oval on Tuesday 28th June at 1pm.
England will go into this ODI series low in confidence after their pathetic performance in the T20 on Saturday and the humiliation suffered against Sri Lanka in the recent World Cup Quarter Final.
Sri Lanka the World Cup Runners up will go into this series very high in confidence and have plenty of match winners which they lacked in the recently concluded Test Series.
England start a new era under the ODI captaincy of Alastair Cook after Andrew Strauss stood down as Captain after the World Cup.  I was very shocked at Cook’s appointment which I mentioned in great detail in a previous blog ‘England’s 3 Lions’ my option would have been Ian Bell for Captain.
Alastair Cook last played an ODI March 2010 and has only played 26 ODI in total even more remarkable to recall him and make him Captain.  I believe giving Cook the Captaincy will put too much pressure on him in ODI as he has never proved himself to be an ODI player and his batting will suffer greatly.
England will also look to Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Morgan who performed well in the recent Test Series to make huge contributions with the bat in the upcoming ODI series.
Ravi Bopara needs to regain his form rapidly in the ODI series as he is badly out of form and has been selected on previous performances.
The omission of Matt Prior from ODI’s is a decision I totally disagree with as he an ideal player to play ODI and his wicket keeping is very good as well. I agree that he hasn’t been in good form in ODI recently but one needs to look at the reasons of his poor form. I believe that Prior bad form is a result of where he has been played in the batting order sometimes and other times at 6 or 7. This meant that he wasn’t mentally ready when he came out to bat and also couldn’t express himself as game to game he didn’t know what position he was batting. I would have kept Prior at number 6 and kept Craig Kieswetter as cover in the squad for Prior if he were to be injured in the series.
I would also have kept faith with Luke Wright who also not been in great form like Prior being messed around with in the batting order and not fully utilised for his bowling. He would have been ideal at number 7 for England. However he has been replaced in the side by Jade Dembach
I feel that it is a huge mistake to play Kieswetter and Dembach instead of Prior and Wright and will fail to make an impact in the ODI Series.
The remaining bowlers in the squad with the exception of Broad deserve to be in the squad and have performed well for England either in Test or ODI. I would have not selected Broad and asked him to play as many county championship matches before the First Test versus India. I would have selected Chris Tremlett who was man of the series in the Test Series against Sri Lanka as he would have troubled them greatly in the ODI Series.
Sri Lanka as shown in reaching the World Cup Final and the way they performed in the T20 on Saturday appear to have the right balance in their squad.
Sri Lanka experienced players both with bat and ball are all in great form and will perform greatly in this ODI Series and will help them to win the series comfortably. 


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