The recent series defeat to Sri Lanka was depressing, and English cricket has been in a sorry state for the past 15 months now after Ashes woe and captaincy calamities.
It is about time ComeOn! was put in charge of all things cricket as the current selectors lack the required charisma to make a couple of tough decisions seen in every sport across the planet!
So, starting with our 15-man England one-day squad, we present our revamped England team, sure to at least fare better than in Sri Lanka this month!
There’s an elephant in the room that obviously can’t play cricket and, for the moment at least, neither can Alastair Cook. An exceptional man and batsman has been ruined by the burden of captaincy and revolution within the England squads, and it is fair for both his and the team’s sake that he is omitted from this squad.
Hurrah! That is one decision that needs to be made sooner rather than later. Now for the opening pair. Moeen Ali has impressed and has a decent strike rate, and alongside Alex Hales, could be dynamite for England! Hales has not taken his chances in the Sri Lanka series, which could lead to a promotion for Joe Root, a previous opener at Test level. However, messing about with our star player is risky, and instead we’ll opt for one of Gary Ballance or Michael Lumb.
In: Ali and Ballance
Stars of the series against Sri Lanka, Joe Root and James Taylor, are certainties in our fresh, young squad, and they start alongside Hales, with the out-of-form Eoin Morgan given a few final chances in the warm up games to justify his selection. We’ll stop short of asking Ian Bell to return in spite of his class and experience, this England team in transition is no place for a man of Bell’s quality to step in and out of.
In: Taylor, Root, Hales & Morgan (just)
We know about Moeen Ali’s bowling capabilities, but he’s included already, so in this section we have three more spaces to fill. Presuming Chris Woakes has a big score in him, he’s selected in this category despite no previous proof. He’s always been on the fringe of becoming an England regular, but his showings as an opening bowler have been just about promising enough to earn him a spot as a third/fourth seamer.
Ravi Bopara can perform with the best, and needs to be treated better by England. He’s consistent with either bat or ball and is useful at slowing down the run rate with the ball in his hand. Whether he starts or not, Bops is the right man to go to when called upon. Finally, we are giving a place to David Willey (below), the Northants leftie, who can bat and bowl a bit, and will make for a perfect drinks carrier!
In: Woakes, Willey and Bops
Jos Buttler – simple. Jonny Bairstow as his back-up in case of injury. No arguments here. Both included.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad to return from injury and lead England to glory! Sort of. Whilst the pair might be dreaming of a glorious return, and perhaps fairytale goodbye from Jimmy, they will undoubtedly crank up the quality in England’s bowling attack. Steven Finn is also worthy of a call-up, though might be spared due to his limitations with the bat. This could give rise to either Woakes or Chris Jordan to make their World Cup debuts as England’s third bowling option, presuming Root, Bops and Ali contribute for the remaining overs.
No place for Ben Stokes, who, like Cook, has shown little of what made him so highly rated 12 months ago. Neither has Boyd Rankin earned himself a spot, because he hasn’t shown the sort of qualities worthy of being picked at international level. And don’t even start on Jade Dernbach!
In: Anderson, Broad, Finn and Jordan
The trickiest choice of them all. With Cook excluded, Morgan on the verge of our side and worries about affecting Root’s progression, the captaincy is a sticky topic. We’d love to give it to Root and see him take it in his stride, but it is a gamble. Giving it to Morgan when he’s not in the team would be unwise, whilst Broad is a loose cannon, especially with referrals. If anyone should have it, Jimmy Anderson should. As one of the world’s finest bowlers, he’s well respected in the dressing room and certain of a place in the side.
Although not captain material, Jimmy could be the ideal candidate to relieve the pressure from the youngsters. He’s confident and England’s best player, and not to blame when England suffer a batting collapse (neither is he the worst batsman in the team anymore!). In our ideal yet hypothetical world, Anderson is the man to lead England to World Cup glory!