England will name 13 players today in their first one-day squad of the summer. There are big, potentially divisive decisions to make and since they have lost eight of the past nine one-day internationals to Australia it would perhaps be as well if they could all take the field.
But England, of course, have been transformed by their unexpectedly glorious victory in the World Twenty20 and they will now believe that what they can do in the shortest form of the game they can reprise in the 50-over version. It is certain that the team management will want to play the same brand of attacking cricket and that will probably be reflected in the squad.
The series against Australia comprises five matches and is preceded by a match against Scotland a week next Saturday. If it appears to lack sporting context, it can at the very least be viewed as a pointer to the Ashes this winter, not to mention the World Cup next year.
England will be much heartened by their overwhelming defeat of Australia in the World t20 Final when they had three overs to spare. They will certainly expect to do better than last summer when they lost the one-day series 6-1 and then were again hammered in the Champions Trophy semi-final.
Andrew Strauss, the captain, said: "It was a hard series for both to play last year after the Ashes. I think this time clearly the sub-text to the series is that the Ashes are coming up, and the World Cup. It will be five important games for both sides in their preparation towards that."
The selectors will have dwelled on the possible omission of the wicketkeeper batsman Matt Prior, an Ashes hero who has rarely demonstrated his batting prowess in the one-day side. Prior is under obvious pressure from the South African, Craig Kieswetter, who was a qualified success in the World t20. It is unlikely that Kieswetter and Prior can play in the same side, although the former is a much less impressive wicketkeeper than the latter has become.
The other contentious place concerns Alastair Cook, who led the side in Bangladesh and made two fifties in his three ODI innings, but who may have to step aside for the return of Strauss. The captain said: "We have made significant improvements in the 50-over team over the last nine months. We will have Paul Collingwood back, and it will be great to chat with him about some of the things they did in the Twenty20 and see if they are transferable to the 50-over game." England already think they know the answer.
Possible squad AJ Strauss (capt), C Kieswetter, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, EJG Morgan, LJ Wright, TT Bresnan, GP Swann, SCJ Broad, A Shahzad, RJ Sidebottom, JM Anderson, RS Bopara.Reuse content