In the hazy and somewhat disappointing light of day, it is time to consider the vast disappointment of England being completely and utterly humiliated on the sub-continent. Having claimed their place as world number one in Test cricket, it had been expected that a youthful, and more exciting England side would stake their claim for a higher place in the One Day International rankings. However, after some impressive form at home with a swinging ball and clouds in the sky, England have thoroughly failed, once again, to adapt to life in the dust bowls of the East, with orthodoxy and conservatism offering no solutions against an Indian side who know their trade at home.
Since the disappointment is vivid, and obituaries and analyses are already widespread, it seems the time may be right to address a rather more positive issue: just who are the best One Day cricketers that have donned the Three Lion emblazoned whites?
5. Paul Collingwood
Paul Collingwood is one of those characters who may never be sufficiently appreciated due to such a gritty and unfashionable playing style. Despite the doubters, however, Collingwood has played a vital part in England’s recent One day history, captaining the side on occasion, as well as holding the record for the highest amount of accumulated runs. Moreover, his fielding influence simply cannot be understated. The England team of recent times has been widely heralded as setting the gold standard for fielding excellence, and Collingwood had been the standard bearer of these lofty skills for some time prior to his retirement.
4. Marcus Trescothick
Marcus Trescothick has had a colourful career, taking in the highs of Ashes wins and countless runs in the domestic County Championship, but the verve and pure brilliance that Trescothick brought to the England top order in One Day cricket has been sorely missed for some time now. Amassing more hundreds in the shorter format than any man before or since, Trescothick’s legacy is to have set the standard for an opener capable of being unorthodox, playing shots and setting the tone from the first ball.
3. Graham Gooch
Graham Gooch deserves a place in any best of list simply due to the sheer weight of runs that he has amassed in his lengthy career. Now batting coach for the national side, and credited to a massive degree with the confidence and ability that the top and middle orders of the England side have shown in the past two years, as a one day cricketer, Gooch’s total runs remain the fourth highest of any Englishman, and the strength and power with which he played was remarkable.
2. Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff
‘Freddie’ Flintoff has provided every England cricket fan with some of the most memorable moments in recent times. A player, and character of huge personality and ability, Flintoff held the cricketing public and spectators in the palm of his hand at many times, and with over three thousand One Day International runs, and 169 runs at just over 24, Flintoff has a hugely impressive record on paper. It is perhaps not simply for his paper based record, but for the memories left with us that Flintoff takes his place on this list.
1. Darren Gough
Darren Gough is the only bowling specialist that makes my list, perhaps unsurprisingly given the fairly unimpressive nature of English One Day, bowling reserves for a fairly significant amount of time now. Gough was perhaps the first truly great modern English One Day bowler. Possessing the sort of variations that England are currently desperate to find in the likes of Jade Dernbach, Gough had pace and guile, and holds the record for the most amount of wickets taken in One Day internationals.
Images courtesy of Paul Collingwood, Marcus Trescothick, Graham Gooch, ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and Darren Gough