Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham believes that batsman Eoin Morgan should replace Alastair Cook as ODI captain following the national team’s eight-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Botham also noted that Cook should be dropped for the third ODI in Hambantota since he has scored 10 and 22 in the first two matches of the ongoing series. What makes matters worse is the fact that Cook is only averaging 29.07 after having played 14 ODIs this year.
“England do need to make changes and they’ve got to make them quickly,” he reflected. “We are saying that the players that are here have a chance to prove their worth for the World Cup. But from what we’ve seen so far, if we are not careful, we won’t make the latter stages of the World Cup.
“So we need to make changes – we need to liven it up and freshen it up. The whole thing looked very flat and very tedious out there today.
“I would make changes for Wednesday. We are running out of time. There are only five more games here – then you’ve got the tri-series games in Australia against Australia and India and, let’s be honest, you really want the squad that you are going to take to the World Cup out there for that so we haven’t got a lot of time.
“Personally I would bring in Alex Hales at the top of the order with Moeen Ali – so that means that the captain has to step down. I would make Morgan captain because I think that’s just what he needs – I think he thinks a bit more out of the box.
“We brought on our strike bowler today when we needed wickets without a slip and where did the ball go through? Slip. Whether Jayawardene would have played that shot if a slip had been in is debatable, but it did go in the air through there.
“I would bring Ben Stokes in for Harry Gurney and I would bring in James Taylor for, I’m afraid, Ian Bell because I just think we need to liven it up, get some new ideas, some new ways of playing. On weight of runs, James Taylor deserves to play.
“Hales scored a hundred against Sri Lanka not long ago. I would put him at the top of the order. If England want to really do well in this World Cup, they must play their dynamic players.
“You have to be able to take sides apart and I think those guys need to come in and be given the opportunity.”
Botham was also less than impressed about England being bowled out for a dismal 185 in the second ODI.
“It was pretty lacklustre,” Botham said. “I don’t think there’s any way that England can say that they can take anything out of that game positively.
“The only good thing was that Finn came back into the side and added a little bit extra to the bowling department and he’ll get better because he’s only just started playing again, so let him play through the series.
“Then there was Ravi Bopara – when you think that’s his third fifty in four knocks and yet he didn’t play at all against India, it does make you wonder a little about where the thinking is.”