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Three things England need to fix in ODI cricket

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England’s crushing 100-run defeat by India in Lucknow on Sunday condemned the Cup holders to a fifth loss in six matches and all but ended their semi-final hopes.

Below AFP Sport looks at three things England – who now have fewer wins at this Cup than non-Test nation the Netherlands – need to fix if they are to become a force again in 50-over one-day international cricket.

Batting blues

The huge margin of all of England’s reverses at the Cup — nine wickets against New Zealand, 69 runs (Afghanistan), 229 runs (Proteas), eight wickets (Sri Lanka) and 100 runs (India) shows how a once powerful batting line-up has failed to function in India.

A policy of all-out aggression has served England well in both 50-over and Twenty20 cricket — they are world champions in the shorter format as well.

But research carried out by analysts at CricViz before Sunday’s game showed England’s top seven had lost more wickets (11) to good length deliveries than all the other 10 teams at the tournament except the Netherlands.

The sight of Ben Stokes trying to slog his way out of trouble only for the star all-rounder to be clean bowled for a 10-ball duck by India’s Mohammed Shami seemed to sum up England’s campaign.

That England have been dismissed for modest scores inside 41, 22, 34 and 35 overs in their last four matches suggests they ought to at least consider tempering their approach.

Inflexible bowling plans

England have clearly been looking to take wickets with new-ball swing during the Cup, with pace and spin used in the hope they will control the middle overs.

They have generally delayed the introduction of fast bowler Mark Wood, rather than giving him the new ball, with the express quick’s four wickets in six matches coming at a hugely expensive average of nearly 70 apiece.

Attitude

“Fail to prepare and prepare to fail” runs the old adage. England have the wealth and resources to give themselves the best possible chance of a successful title defence.

Yet in the fours years since winning the 2019 Cup they played 104 international and domestic 50-over games compared to 325 in the previous four year cycle — a cut of 68 percent.

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Meanwhile, England white-ball coach Matthew Mott told reporters on Sunday he was unaware, until “about and hour-and-a-half ago”, that his side, now bottom of the Cup table, risked missing out on qualifying for the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan by failing to finish in the top seven.

“Well, the ICC (International Cricket Council) do change the rules quite a bit with qualification and to be honest I don’t think it would affect in any way the way we’ve played in this tournament so it’s not a big deal,” said Mott.

Maybe, but the Australian is coach of an international side so some critics may suggest he should have known well in advance?

AFP

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