England ponder options after Ian Botham blast

England will have criticism from all-round great Ian Botham ringing in their ears as they try to get back on level terms with India in the third one-day international at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 29, 2014, 09:23 AM IST
England ponder options after Ian Botham blast

London: England will have criticism from all-round great Ian Botham ringing in their ears as they try to get back on level terms with India in the third one-day international at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

Wednesday`s huge 133-run defeat by India in Cardiff was almost a textbook demonstration of what have been England`s major weaknesses in one-day cricket in recent years.

It prompted a disillusioned Botham, now a commentator with Sky Sports, to write off England`s chances at next year`s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"We have absolutely no chance of winning the World Cup as on the evidence I`ve seen here we are miles behind the rest," said Botham.

After the match, England captain Alastair Cook labelled retired former team-mate Graeme Swann a "so-called friend" for suggesting in his new role as a radio commentator that England "do not have a cat in hell`s chance" of winning the World Cup and that the team would be better off if he didn`t lead them at the tournament.

England did have India in trouble early on at 19 for two but that didn`t stop them compiling 304 for six on the back of Suresh Raina`s hundred.

England`s chase never got out of first gear and they were bowled out for 161 in pursuit of a rain-revised target of 295 as they struggled against spin after Mohammed Shami removed opener Cook and Ian Bell in quick succession.

For Botham, it was a wearyingly familiar scene

"We had batsmen not scoring and too many dot balls and we have three of the top four batters -- Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root - all scoring at around the same pace, around mid-70s.

"Most other countries have rates in the high 80s or 90s and that`s what wins you games, as India showed by recovering from 19-2 after eight overs to amass over 300."Botham, a member of the England side that lost to Pakistan in the final of the 1992 World Cup when the tournament was last staged in Australia and New Zealand, added: "India also knew that all they needed to do was bring on the spinners to make England look absolutely clueless.

"That`s what happened...something we see everywhere we go.

"We also didn`t have the discipline to keep the opposition under pressure when we had them in all kinds of trouble when we were bowling."

India made hay against England`s change seamers, with Chris Jordan`s return of none for 73 containing a worrying 12 wides.

Botham urged the Sussex paceman to be left out for his own good and England do have alternative options in their squad in left-armer Harry Gurney and Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn.

Finn a proven performer at international level who has been making his way back after effectively losing his action in Australia where he didn`t feature in the team`s 5-0 Ashes drubbing.

"I would give Finn, whose record in one-day cricket is exceptional, a go because in Australia and New Zealand his pace and bounce will be what you want," Botham said of the 25-year-old, whose 59 ODI wickets have come at under 28 apiece.

For Cook the knowledge that he resisted the calls of Botham and several other ex-England skippers to stand down during the preceding Test series with India before leading the team to a 3-1 win is some kind of consolation.

"It`s one game, isn`t it?...It`s not the end of the world at all," he said after the Cardiff loss.

But too many more performances like that and it may be the end of England`s World Cup.