England have now established themselves as the team to beat in ODIs
Even though they managed to draw their ODI series against South Africa 2-2 and retain the top spot on the ODI team rankings, England captain Alastair Cook believes that this is just the beginning of the country’s dominance in the limited overs format.
England will now stay as the number one ODI team till the start of the new year since Australia only managed to defeat Pakistan 2-1 in their recent ODI series.
“It’s certainly not a bad thing, but I think we feel this side has its future ahead of it, rather than behind it,” Cook said.
Cook will now be focusing on leading England to a maiden World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
However, Cook knows that in order for England to keep winning, they have to improve in all areas and play more like a team instead of individuals interested in padding their own stats.
“We’re still striving to improve in all areas. We’ve only been together for a year or so. We’ve had some really good results, but certainly don’t feel like the number one side — like we did when we got there as a Test team,” Cook added.
After having a dismal summer, Cook has been extremely impressed by the way his team have been able to shake off the criticism and focus on their game.
“Clearly after what’s happened this summer, we could have let our heads go down — a bit of a case of ‘here we go again’, we admitted we didn’t get it right at the Ageas Bowl (in Southampton), and we’ve bounced back really well,” Cook said.
Throughout their ODI series, it seemed as though none of the players were concerned with the loss of Kevin Pietersen, who retired from limited overs cricket after saying he only wanted to play in Twenty20 Internationals, which the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) refused, stating that a player must be available to play in all limited overs games or they will be dropped from both the ODI and Twenty20 squad.
Pietersen has also been involved in a massive controversy over the past couple of weeks, and was even dropped for the final Test match against South Africa at Lord’s since he was found guilty of sending derogatory text messages about his England team-mates to some of the South African players.
Since Pietersen refused to play in “dull” ODIs, England called up Ian Bell as his replacement, and the England batsman has taken full advantage of his chance to represent his country.
“It was a classy knock again. I say that time and time again when you watch Belly play, he has so much time, and he’s delivering the goods at the top of the order. He’s come back into the side, and he’s been outstanding,” Cook said.