England vs India: Peter Moores remains confident England can salvage series despite back-to-back defeats
England trail India 2-0 with just two matches to play
Tuesday 02 September 2014
England approached the fourth Royal London Series match against India trying to balance urgent requirements in the immediate and medium term.
Coach Peter Moores has admitted his team face a race against time to turn themselves into a competitive force at the World Cup early next year.
To do so, he needs to fast-track his reconnaissance to locate a winning formula - one which has deserted England spectacularly on their way to two trouncings in the past week.
They therefore trail India 2-0 with two to play - and if they do not win both remaining fixtures, captain Alastair Cook will have led England to five successive series defeats in bi-lateral one-day international series.
Moores is keeping the faith, in defiance of the many critics Cook's team have accrued of late, that they can salvage some much-needed pride at Edgbaston on Tuesday and then Headingley on Friday.
"I still think we can save the series," he said.
"Obviously, we've had two disappointing games and we haven't played well enough in both - we know that.
"In two or three different areas of the game, we haven't really played as well as we wanted to."
The strike rates of Cook, Ian Bell and perhaps Joe Root too are of particular concern - as is a collective frailty against spin after losing 13 wickets to India's slow bowlers in defeats at Cardiff and Trent Bridge.
Another defeat would only increase the pressure, on the captain especially.
"Our goal is to try to draw this series now, but also to prepare for a World Cup in six months' time - so we've got both on the go," said Moores.
"We've got to be able to identify the right people in the right slots to play a brand of cricket players feel they can deliver, and be successful (with) against the best teams."
That means, however England fare this week, players currently outside the squad still have prospects of displacing those within in time to play in Australia and New Zealand next spring.
"There's still time for people to force their way in - of course there is," added the coach.
"We've had a lot of change both in the Test match and one-day side, and that creates opportunity for people.
"We need to get enough experience in there, but also there's a chance to try some different things.
"We've looked at a few different options, and you hope that helps you evaluate a side to go forward and play in that World Cup and win."
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