Nick Teale - England must find belief
30 Jan 2011 - 17:45:05
Three weeks ago England wrapped up a comfortable 3-1 Ashes win over Australia, beating them by an innings and 83 runs at the SGC.
But now, two twenty20 matches and five One-Day Internationals later, the tide has completely turned.
- Fifth ODI: Australia beat England by 51 runs
There was no suggestion before the ODIs that Andrew Strauss' side were as good at the short form of the game as they are at winning Test matches but to lose the one-day series so convincingly is quite a surprise.
England went into it high on form and confidence, with Australia backed into a losing corner. However, none of England's four defeats have even been close games - the Ashes winners have been hammered and are now stuck in a corner of their own.
England seem afraid and their confidence has vanished. They must quickly reclaim that belief or their World Cup chances will be gone.
The problem has been the batting - it just hasn't been good enough. Jonathan Trott is alone in having scored an England century while Paul Collingwood is yet to accumulate 50 runs in the series, never mind a single match.
Strauss was right to say England haven't played "smart cricket"; there have been too many silly dismissals. Perhaps the batsmen have forgotten that 50 overs is actually a long time? Long enough, at least, to settle in and craft an assured innings of quality and style.
- Strauss: Smarter Batting Needed
With two games left in a series already lost, England must make sure they play the final matches as World Cup warm-ups. They must find ways to reclaim their batters' confidence and made sure they know which XI is first choice ahead of the trip to India. A couple of those assured innings wouldn't go amiss.
Understandably, England's odds of becoming world champions have dropped since the start of this series against Australia. They were never favourites but with the belief in themselves they held throughout the Ashes, Strauss' men were a force to be reckoned with. Now they just look like easy meat.
Injuries to bowlers are causing problems but at least Chris Woakes should finally be added to the World Cup squad. He did enough to earn a call up to the squad for this one-day series but for some reason he wasn't named in World Cup squad, despite impressing in the twenty20 matches.
He's once again proving his quality and must surely be the man to replace any bowlers England cannot take to India.