Recently, as painful as it was, I cast my mind back to the shambles that England produced in Australia and New Zealand for the 2015 World Cup. After 2 wins in 6 games, there were multiple heads on the chopping block from the playing and coaching staff to the selectors and the executives of English Cricket.
Now, almost two years into a revolution of the England One-Day set up, led by Eoin Morgan, Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace – they now find themselves with an embarrassment of riches of quality batting options ready to take on the world playing a brand of no fear cricket.
The questions asked now are not as daunting as two years ago when the direction of the side was being decided, yet they are as important in determining how to win games of cricket and as England prepare to face India on their home patch – a positive result could well see them leapfrog one of the better One-Day outfits in the ICC ODI rankings.
The question currently pondered by the England selectors should be that off who should take the field for the ODI’s in India. It was a question that has been on the English selectors mind for a while as some struggled to see how Ben Duckett averaging 41.00 in his first three ODI’s against a tough Bangladesh outfit on home soil didn’t manage to cut the mustard for this tour, especially considering Jonny Bairstow averaged 16.66 for the series although his overall ODI average reads at a decent (with room for improvement) 30.53 across 21 international appearances. Though, now the squad is picked – there is little point in going over what could/should have been.
Within the squad, the burning question now is how do the management get Sam Billings into the line up. There is no doubt that Billings has matured upon the big stage within the last year, a 50 on his IPL debut to go along with a solid 63 on his only outing in Bangladesh in the unfamiliar position of an opener was only backed up by a solid showing for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash where he scored 127 runs across 4 innings at an average of 31.75. The beauty of Billings is that he really can bat anywhere you ask him too and along with his versatility, his ability to play spin makes him a sure fire shoe in for this series when you consider the venue and the opposition’s strengths.
It is fun to speculate on line ups and I am glad I don’t have to make the decision on who to drop because the first choice top 6 in this one-day side (Hales, Roy, Root, Morgan, Stokes, Buttler) have all performed in one way or another within recent times and to drop one seems ridiculously harsh. Though, you’d rather have too many options than not enough – that is for sure.