May 19 2013 Latest news:
By Harry Kemble in India
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
England’s one-day touring party went to India as a bunch of fledgling international players but will leave a far more proficient team, according to Ashley Giles.
The limited-overs coach saw an opportunity to redefine his young squad in the absence of Jonathan Trott, Graeme Swann and James Anderson.
In his first series, Giles knows that a 3-2 defeat against the might of India certainly does not represent a disaster five months from the ICC Champions Trophy.
“We’ve seen a lot of different guys and learnt a lot of different things even in games we’ve lost,” said Giles, before adding: “If we weren’t learning I’d be worried.
“I guess when I came here that you couldn’t have got a much tougher start. In reflection if I’d been offered 3-2 maybe I would have taken it.”
The list of absent stars ensured each player had to assume new responsibilities within the team.
Stuart Broad was missing too after heavy snowfall in England thwarted his scheduled arrival midway through the series.
The top four, including the “phenomenal” ODI debutant Joe Root, were instructed to consolidate a platform from which the middle order could expand.
Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan and the series leading wicket taker James Tredwell admirably shouldered the brunt of the bowling admirably without Anderson and Swann.
Of course, not all could cope with the added expectation. Craig Kieswetter was dropped at Ranchi after a run of 34 games while Jade Dernbach was replaced with his radar continuing to frustrate.
Samit Patel also flattered to deceive, often falling short when England needed him most.
Despite losing their number one ranking to India during the series, England have high hopes of winning the Champions Trophy in June - a competition they are hosting.
At home England have played four pacemen and the one spinner in Swann since the introduction of balls at both ends last year.
It is a policy England are unlikely to change with the battery of fast bowlers at their disposal.
But Giles, intriguingly, refuses to rule out the possibility of Tredwell bowling in tandem with Swann.
“It’s not a non-starter,” he said, adding: “I do think it is worth talking about because they are two of our best bowlers in one-day international cricket.
“But with the conditions for the Champions Trophy, we will have to see. I can’t see a place where they both won’t be in the squad.”
Bresnan now returns to the UK instead of flying to New Zealand with the rest of the squad on today due to a reoccurrence of his troublesome elbow.
That presents an opportunity for Chris Woakes to press his claims for the fourth seamer spot in three-match ODI series next month.
Even an international recall for 31-year-old Rikki Clarke, selected for the Lions trip to Australia, means he could lead a late charge for the position, depending on Bresnan’s fitness and Woakes’ own success.
“We wouldn’t pick Rikki [for the Lions] unless the door was open,” said Giles. “It is open to all these guys.
“The important thing is the balance of the team. So if we need someone to fill the spot, whether in the Champions Trophy or the World Cup in 2015, there are a certain number of guys in the country who can fill that spot. It might be Rikki Clarke.”
The team’s balance will now revert to what England are accustomed to at home, with Patel most likely to give way to Woakes for New Zealand.
Yet, even though the Champions Trophy and the World Cup in two years’ time represent a markedly different proposition to India’s spin friendly batting tracks, the trip will have given mental fortitude to Giles’ young charges.
The responsibility, yes, but also having the ability to think on your feet has been an asset that England grasped by the series’ conclusion.