Cow Corner

Has success gone to England’s heads?

Cow Corner

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England came into this five-match pyjama cricket series with India off the back of a truly monumental summer, but somehow felt the need to drop the world's number one ODI bowler Graeme Swann.

Andy Flower's men had humiliated India at home, and let's not forget the remarkably convincing string of victories which the summer entailed.

England won the Test series 4-0 in a stunning clean-sweep of wins, before winning the solitary Twenty20 at Old Trafford by six wickets, and finally sealing a 3-0 triumph in the five-match ODI series.

But has success now gone to their heads?

Even the staunchest England supporter suspected that it would be a very different result in this return series in India, but it has been an incredibly comprehensive reversal of fortunes.

What makes the stark contrast between the two series so clear is that India really were as bad as the scorelines suggested over the English summer, while Flower's tourists really have been as bad as the scoreline suggests in this series.

Make no mistake about it, India have not only outplayed and outwitted England in this series, but comprehensively thrashed Alastair Cook's side.

Surely this is not a time to be experimenting?

England gave leg-spinner Scott Borthwick a game in place of the world's top one-day bowler Swann, while replacing the man touted as the most inventive limited-overs paceman in the ranks, Jade Dernbach, with debutant Stuart Meaker.

Now Cowers is all for giving young, developing players their heads in 'development' matches appropriate for their standing, but in a hot-headed series in India? No.

Meaker has played just 29 first-class matches with 90 wickets at an average of 30.07, while his Surrey team-mate Dernbach has been a fixture in the England blue and has become an established member of the side.

Equally, Borthwick is a very fine talent and one of the special breed - a leg-spinner who turns the ball - but the result of throwing him in at the expense of Swann was eight overs for 59 runs without a wicket.

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For all the great work Flower has done with England - and the progress under his tenure has been truly remarkable - the selections on this tour have rather bewildered those following the team.

Surely this was a series England needed to battle to the end in, with their strongest possible line-up in every match?

Even if winning the series was considered beyond the group at this time, the tourists were at least expected to field their best players to prove that a victory in 50-over cricket in India was within their capability.

Ian Bell has still yet to appear in a single match in this series, while Swann is not the type of cricketer who would appreciate making way for another spinner when fully fit and desperate to show his credentials on the sub-continent.

The series may have already been lost, but England must head into the final ODI in Kolkata on Tuesday determined to do whatever it takes to secure a solitary victory.

TALKING POINT OF THE
DAY:
What do you think England's XI should be for the fifth ODI on Tuesday?

Post your views and suggested XI's below...

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USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "I think that the biggest
problem we (England) have is that we are afraid of failure because of the censure we will
get in the press. That is why we cannot play ODI format cricket. We play as if
we are afraid to lose wickets, we make bad shot selections and we pay the price
for how we approach the game. India have the same pressures we do, but are not
afraid to take risks and obviously have a better sense for their shot selections."
(David)

TWEET OF THE DAY: "Trott
fact. Today he moved up a place and now has the 6th highest strike rate of all
England specialised batsmen in 42 years of ODIs."
(@countycricketkj)

STAT OF THE DAY: Cook
ignored the stat at the toss that India had won nine of their last 10 matches in
which they have chased. Make that 10 out of their last 11.

SNAP OF THE DAY: Cook made a point of saying prior to the start of this series how much he thoroughly enjoyed captaining England. After another day of desperately trying to shield his eyes from the action which was unfolding out on the pitch in front of him, perhaps he will feel like revising that feedback.

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