England v Australia ODI preview: Kevin Pietersen can open one-day international auditions

With many established names missing against Australia, fringe players can seize their chance

England enter the one-day series against Australia at Headingley on Friday without their first-choice opening batsmen and bowlers. It would be a stretch to suggest that the public is being short-changed when rest and rotation is the declared policy but let nobody try to kid anyone that this contest, or any of the four that will follow it in the next 10 days, has the authenticity that matches between England and Australia should command as of right.

It may be a way of giving experience to others after a gruelling Ashes series, it may provide a decent spectacle but it also has all the bearings of being fitted in because it has to be fitted in. There is the real sense that the two countries have already met each other enough this summer, with another round of matches across all formats due to start in the autumn.

This is a feeling that inevitably tends to strike when limited-overs series follow Test matches. In this country, like no other, the longer form of the game is what matters and everything else is mere frippery. That perception multiplies after the Ashes, which are so significant a part of the sporting landscape that everything that follows automatically pales.

It is why England must beware of ennui in this series and also why the selectors may ultimately prove to have been wise in omitting Alastair Cook, the captain; Ian Bell, the other opening batsman; Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, the new-ball bowlers; and Graeme Swann, the No 1 spinner. Until the match against Ireland on Tuesday, Cook and Bell had opened in 27 consecutive ODIs.

Their places in Dublin were taken by Michael Carberry and Luke Wright, whose joint tenure will probably stop at one match. Kevin Pietersen will resume the role he tried briefly at the 2011 World Cup and then again in the UAE early the following year and where he averages 58.85. He averages 116 at No 5.

That was before his brief retirement from one-day cricket which necessitated the recall of Bell, who has been eminently successful. Accomplished though Pietersen is, he may find opening in England against the two new balls now used in 50-over cricket is an excessively pesky proposition. It may make sense for Joe Root to move up and allow Pietersen freedom further down the order.

Eoin Morgan, who will captain England for the first time in a one-dayer in this country, said opening with Pietersen was “certainly an option” which made it pretty clear that it was also not an option. The opening bowling does not throw up quite such a conundrum with Steve Finn and Boyd Rankin the probable pairing ahead of either Jamie Overton or Chris Jordan.

But Overton and Jordan are both  exciting additions in their different ways. Both have wheels and at 24 Jordan has been reinvigorated by his move from Surrey to Sussex. The 19-year-old speed merchant, Overton, could be promoted sooner than anybody at present supposes.

Morgan appears not to have given up hope of a place on the Ashes tour, doubtless recognising England’s continuing difficulties with the No 6 position. He said he saw every innings for the rest of this season as an opportunity to show what he could do. But a more probable recipient of the selectors’ largesse is the exciting Durham all-rounder, Ben Stokes, who can make an indelible impression in the next few days.

Australia will be led by Michael Clarke as usual but also have some unfamiliar names in their ranks. It is a series that is step along the way to the 2015 World Cup, a chance for outsiders to press their claim. If it supplies some big-hitting entertainment instead of a diet of gamesmanship it may be more welcome than it seems.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Sport
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
football
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas