England Test & One Day Teams
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Posted on Tuesday, 10th January 2017 -
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With the Test series in India behind us now and the One-Day series beginning on Sunday as well as the Twenty20 series that follows at the end of the month, there is a lot of debate still about the future of the England teams across the formats.
what is the best position long term for Joe Root in the Test side? While he is still Englands' best batsmen following a solid performance in India, is number 3 really the best long term position for both parties? Or is there a better option in Keaton Jennings dropping down to 3 following a good start to his Test math career, with Hasseeb Hameed becoming Cooks' opening partner for the foreseeable. Or is there a better option in County Cricket? For example, would Ben Duckett get another chance in the longer format should he have a good run with Lions and start in similar style to which he dominated bowlers in 2016?
Can Moeen Ali be a frontline spinner? Following a less than spectacular series against India with the ball where at times Adil Rashid was not only brought on before Ali but also bowled considerably more overs than him with more success as well (23-10 to Rashid). If Moeen is really going to be considered Englands' long term spinner then tours of India is where he really needs to be leading the way in friendly conditions. He did this in Bangladesh but failed to follow that up against the stronger opposition. Would looking at Ollie Rayner or Jack Leach (as long as his action is cleared) be better long term options for England following their success during 2016 with their respective counties? Moeen has already proved his quality with the bat, is him being a batsman who bowls a bit in the England team a doable option?
The other long term question for England is the futures of senior bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Both of whom have suffered multiple injuries of late keeping them out of the team for muiltiple games at a time. The question is, how long do both still have performing at the highest level in the longest format of the game? Broad you could argue has a bit more time than Anderson due to age and with both not playing limited overs cricket for their country as it stands (Broad currently playing for Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL trying to prove his quality to get back into the one day squad for England), could prioritise only playing the longer formats but would it be beneficial for them to both play four day cricket at their counties when possible? Will they continue to get in on reputation and past glories or are bowlers like Jake Ball, Mark Wood and Toby Roland-Jones, who are similar in ability with the bat and three of the top fast bowlers in the country at present be a better option to try for England?
Then another question which could crop up for England depending on how they choose to construct their team is, will they continue with Jonny Bairstow as the wicket-keeper batsman following his incredible 2016 or if they decide to carry on with Jos Butler in the team is a specialist batsman coming in at number 7 too low and go back to their preferred choice in one day cricket?
Moving on to the limited overs the main question is, should Eoin Morgan be carrying on as England captain following his choice not to tour Bangladesh? With the success of Jos Buttler both as captain alongside his performances with bat and gloves do argue for his continuation as the leader in white ball cricket for England. The other question that is asked with Morgan coming straight back into the team is the omission of the earlier mentioned Ben Duckett. Who despite his struggles in India in the longer format of the game against India was one of the outstanding performers in Bangladesh and has lost his place to the returning Morgan. If he wasn't the captain, would Morgan still have been recalled to the side? On Morgans' side is his return to form with the bat following a successful stint with Sydney Thunder during the Big Bash. His time culminating in a match winning knock and last ball 6 to beat last seasons beaten semi-finalists the Melbourne Stars.
In India the issue that will always crop up is how to fill the team in terms of bowling ability and class and for the 50 over matches this is a question for the selectors. There is one guarenteed selection for the bowlers and that is the premier all-rounder in Ben Stokes. The rest however could be up for debate: Do they go with the raw pace in someone like Liam Plunkett? Do they go for the skiddy pace due of Jake Ball and Chris Woakes? Who alongside Ben Stokes could really exploit reverse swinnging conditions in India, as well as Woakes' ability with the bat and in the field. There is also the option of left-arm swing bowler David Willey whose control and use of the new ball coupled with his batting and field qualities too could really force his name into consideration in the sub-continental conditions.
The spinners could be anyones guess. Depending on what seam options the selectors choose to go with. There is debate for the inclusion of Liam Dawson as a left-arm spinner but would his style of bowling be too similar to Adil Rashid? Who is proven in the shorter formats as well as the success mentioned earlier in the Test Series. You would assume Moeen Ali would get in for his batting so would take one of those positions and be utilised for his bowling as well so it seems like it could be a shoot out between the two spinners for one spot or the two spinners along with Jake Ball, Liam Plunkett or David Willey for three positions in the team.
One inclusion I do hope for from a personal stand point in the team is that of Sam Billings. I was surprised that he was never in contention for the Test Matches given his quality in the sub-continent and how his batting style is almost best suited for those conditions. I believe if given a good run he could be a real top quality run scorer for England in both white ball games. He showed his ability with some good scores in the Big Bash while playing with England team mate Jason Roy for the Sydney Sixers.
My team for the first ODI vs India (Sunday January 15th 2017):
1. Alex Hales
2. Jason Roy
3. Joe Root
4. Ben Stokes
5. Eoin Morgan/Sam Billings
6. Jos Buttler (wk)
7. Moeen Ali
8. Chris Woakes
9. Adil Rashid
10. David Willey
11. Jake Ball
Let me know your thoughts with a comment below.