Cricket: Morgan’s England underdogs in Tri-Series tussle

England are rejuvenated under Eoin Morgan writes Christopher Clark, but Australia and India will prove to be a class apart.

England after an inevitable series defeat away to Sri Lanka before Christmas, finally dispensed with the services of Alastair Cook as One Day captain. Whilst this was the right decision, it was at least 6 months too late.

Now under the stewardship of Eoin Morgan, England are in Australia to prepare for the World Cup. What England need are some confidence boosting victories to get themselves in the right mindset for the 50 over World Cup which starts in February 2015.

Unfortunately for England they are in a tournament with two of the best one day sides in the World. The sides will play each other twice, and the top two sides will play each other in a one-off final. Those two sides will be Australia and India.

England will be looking to take some positives from this tournament, and before the competition starts, let’s have a look at what they will be:

  1. More aggressive field placements from the new captain Eoin Morgan
  2. The return to fitness of Stuart Broad
  3. James Anderson spearheading the attack

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What sets Australia and India apart from England, is that both the Aussies and Indians have game changers in their sides. Australia will open with David Warner and Aaron Finch. Australia will be aiming for 80+ in the opening powerplay from those two. Likewise India have Dhawan and Rahane hopefully blazing a trail for them.

England, now that Cook will no longer be opening, had been expected to have Alex Hales and Mooen Ali opening the batting. Alex Hales played in the Big Bash to gain some form for the one-dayers, unfortunately his spell with the Hobart Hurricanes was unproductive. In England’s warm up game, Hales didn’t even play. Ian Bell opened with Mooen Ali. It will be interesting to see if England go for safe and steady Bell, or are prepared to back the explosive, but erratic Hales.

England’s middle order batting is equally as good as their opponents in this tri-series, but what will let England down in this competition and the World Cup, is that there is no strength in depth to their bowling.

Whilst Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and James Tredwell are steady County performers, it is highly unlikely that any of this trio would get into any of the top 4 international sides in one day cricket. During the World Cup these three bowlers are going to have to bowl approximately 20 overs a game. The better sides in the World Cup will be looking to score at 6 to 7 runs an over during these overs. Potential game-breakers.

England will give the new ball to Anderson and Broad in the tri-series, tried and tested at this level. However it has been a while since either had real success with the white ball, so England will be hoping that Steven Finn, on the hard bouncy Australian wickets can be the wicket taking bowler he has always promised to be. Under Eoin Morgan, England will be going all out to get wickets. With their limited attack, they know they won’t be able to stop the flow of runs. If Anderson, Broad and Finn don’t pick up wickets, England could be on the end of some tough run-chases in this tri-series.

The next few months promise to be a festival of cricket for fans. However there won’t be much fun in supporting England.