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England test team in need of ODI-like reform

ByJonathon Smith

Dec 1, 2019

In 2015, England to qualify for the knockout stage of the ODI World Cup. A team which contained the likes of Ian Bell, Garry Balance and Jimmy Anderson were unfit to compete at the ODI level.

England were criticised for using a team of test match players who were unable to bat aggressively. Their bowlers failed to provide the variation necessary to get out the modern attacking batsmen.

Following that World Cup exit, England embarked on a four-year project to reinvent their one-day side. This revolution led to England winning the world cup. This type of overhaul is required for England in the test arena.

Just as the 2015 ODI team was criticised for using too many test batsmen, this current test squad is placing too much emphasis on one day players. The likes of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy are talented and aggressive batsmen, but over the course of the ashes it became clear that they didn’t have the technique and patience to perform in the test arena.

England need to pack their squad with batsmen that can bat for a long period of time. Batsmen who are willing to occupy the grease for long periods of time. England should roll the dice on their younger talent.

Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley seem like natural choices to come into the team. Sibley can open, supplying some competition to Joe Denly, with Crawley batting at number three. Crawley’s inclusion in the team will allow Joe Root to bat at number four, his more natural position in the order. 

The middle order for England looks solid. With the hero of Edgbaston Ben Stokes batting at five or six, England have license to experiment with their squad to try and find the best combinations of players. This could involve Ollie Pope coming in to bat six. Equally, Jos Buttler could be replaced by Ben Foakes. 

England’s bowling attack is less of a concern than their batting, however changes can be made to improve it. Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes look set be part of the England set up for years, but finding a third seamer is proving difficult. 

Equally, England need to find a spinner. Jack Leach, whilst being a fan favourite, isn’t producing with the ball in hand. England should once again invest in the youth by giving a debut to the leg-spinner, Matt Parkinson.

For England to gain the number one test status, as Joe Root as said he wants to, they need fundamental change. England need to strengthen their top three, bring another player into the middle order and find both another seamer and spinner. However, beyond this, the England team needs to be educated better on how to play test cricket. England need to show that they have the discipline to bat for long periods of time. The bowlers need to show an ability to stick to plans and bowl a consist line and length to exploit batsman’s weaknesses.

England are a long way from being the best test side in the world. They are far away from regaining the ashes, however over the next two years England need to complete a squad overhaul, with cite on improving just as the ODI side did.


Image: M. Lucy Lockett via Flickr