As dawn broke on Monday, England’s cricket team awoke having signalled their intent to become the world’s best one-day side on top of the already gained honour of looking down on all others in Test cricket. A wicked combination of Mother Nature’s howling wind and vicious rain, lady luck shining down on the home side, and the sort of strength in depth that can see Ravi Bopara taking up Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan’s mantle as one-day star with a huge knock of 94 to push England over the finish line.
With three of the four matches played in this one-day series, England now have an unassailable two game lead with just one game to play. Despite the magnitude of a one-day series victory against India, a side ranked higher than themselves, the home side will be analysing more deeply to find the positives gained during a rain ravaged series against a more than depleted opposition.
…a mature and less naïve display worthy of the talent…
Ravi Bopara has shown a different side to himself in recent games. In the second match of the series, Bopara played a sensible innings that allowed Samit Patel the freedom to win the game with some fine stroke play. Consider this innings in light of his massive 94 in Sunday’s match and it may seem fairly inconsequential, but the hope is that we are finally seeing a new side to Bopara, a mature and less naive display worthy of the talent that he undoubtedly has. Bopara could be absolutely key to England’s future in all forms of the game with his all round ability much underrated.
While Bopara may have stolen the show with a match-winning performance and a joint man of the match display in Sunday’s game, for my money, Craig Kieswetter is thus far the major success story for this fledgling England side. Kieswetter is young, precocious and very, very talented, and if England are to progress to become the best one day side in the world as they so wish, then it should be with Kieswetter at the top of the order. There is still work to be done on his performances behind the stumps, but now England have found an aggressive, six-hitting opening batsmen who has brought consistency to his game.
…I pray that the England selectors will not wield the axe too soon…
Perhaps, in-amongst this positivity about the new(ish) guard that is taking on the mantle as England’s run scorers, we should save a thought for Ben Stokes of County Durham. I myself have hailed him as a man to fill some of the gap left by Andrew Flintoff, and despite a poor series with the bat and in the field, I pray that the England selectors will not wield the axe too soon, for this is a man with incredible talent and the sort of potential to go to the top of one day cricket.
Image courtesy of Ravi Bopara