England’s one-day team will aim to bounce back from a humiliating 10-wicket loss when they meet India again at Lord’s on Thursday.
Blow-outs like the one at The Oval on Tuesday, when routed by a Jasprit Bumrah-inspired India for 110, can happen if you play the positive, aggressive style England have embraced since their rebirth in 2015.
This renaissance was inspired in large part by the brilliance of Eoin Morgan’s captaincy. Morgan’s clear vision and commitment to a style that liberated his players from the fear of failure led them to winning the World Cup in the summer of 2019.
There were pitfalls along the way. But the vision and the way forward were always clear.
After Morgan announced his retirement last month, that’s no longer the case. Instead, a white-ball team now led by Jos Buttler and a new coach in Matthew Mott are at a crossroads.
The couple will need time to fall asleep. However, three heavy defeats by India in the T20 and ODI formats last week suggest what many have feared for some time – that England’s white-ball cricket has been on the decline since that World Cup win three years ago.
What is needed is not tearing up a formula that has made England successful since 2015, but incremental changes, both in terms of players and the way things are done off the pitch.
Disturbingly, Mott doesn’t seem to have changed anything yet. When asked about the Australian’s reaction to that defeat at The Oval, Moeen Ali said: “Same thing. He’s settled in really well. He’s very relaxed. The dressing room pretty much runs itself most of the time so the guys are good. We know it can happen anyway how we play. It’s just one of those days.”
The dressing room itself worked when run by Morgan. With Buttler as captain, the dynamic has changed. Mott will certainly have to take a more practical approach now.
Nothing drastic needs to happen, but small, incremental changes that help the team move forward seem necessary.
One of these should be Buttler, who gives up the wicketkeeper gloves so he can lead the team more effectively on the field. It’s up to the coach to convince him it’s the right move.
It also needs to be recognized that England are an aging team who will need to start transitioning some younger players to their first-choice T20s and ODI-XIs sooner rather than later.
Of the side that took on India at The Oval, only four were under 30 and none were under 25. Of the players who were unavailable for this game but are among England’s best side in both formats are Adil Rashid 34, Mark Wood 32 and Jofra Archer 27.
Age doesn’t matter when it comes to the T20 World Championships in Australia this autumn. But can the same game group compete in the next 50-over World Cup in India in 18 months? Probably not.
England’s team vs India at The Oval (and their age at the 2023 World Cup)
- Jason Roy (33)
- Johnny Bairstow (34)
- Joe Root (32)
- Ben Stokes (32)
- Jos Butler (33)
- Liam Livingstone (30)
- Hello Ali (36)
- David Willey (33)
- Craig Overton (29)
- Brydon Carse (28)
- Reece Topley (29)
And three more in England’s best XI:
- mark wood (33)
- Jofra Archer (28)
- Adil Raschid (35)
Looking ahead to this tournament, Phil Salt, Tom Banton, Harry Brook and Matt Parkinson should all be regulars in the one-day squad by then – if not the XI.
That’s not to say that the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Moeen and Rashid should be jettisoned. They will all make it to the 2023 World Cup for sure.
But when some established players falter at the wrong time – as Jason Roy did this summer – don’t be afraid to replace them.
It’s a difficult balancing act for Mott and England. But it’s one they must face if they want to be genuine contenders for the next two major global tournaments.