Alastair Cook has called for astrategic rethink in the wake of England's humbling home series defeat to New Zealand, a team three places below them in the ICC world rankings.
"At this point, I'm sure we'll be looking at different combinations because those combinations we have used haven't worked," the England captain said, while suggesting that there would be changes to the side to face New Zealand at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
"It would make sense to have a look at our options. We stuck with the same XI here and have been outplayed. We've got some quality players in our squad so maybe it's time to see what they can do.
"We've certainly got options. If we had won these games using the five bowlers then we would have been less likely to change. You tend to look after a couple of defeats like this at the balance and make-up of your side."
That England are contemplating so much tinkering less than a week before they start their Champions Trophy campaign against Australia on Saturday is because their preparations have been confused by the injuries to Steven Finn and Stuart Broad. The two fast bowlers will undergo fitness tests at Chelmsford today. However, it is unlikely that there will be any announcement until tomorrow to give the medical staff time to assess their reactions to today's tests.
Cook spoke more in hope than expectation when asked about their chances. "They are both a concern though five, six days is still quite a way away and hopefully they can pull through. They've missed two games and they've been out for a while but we'll see."
Cook believes their absence has had a significant effect on England's last two performances, "Clearly if you take two premier bowlers out of anyone's side it's going to hurt the side and you might have to change the way you play and we might have just learnt that."
Jade Dernbach and Chris Woakes have both under-performed since coming in as replacements for Finn and Broad.
Dernbach's 10 wicketless overs cost 87 runs yesterday and his place is under threat from Warwickshire's Boyd Rankin, who was called into the squad over the weekend as late cover. And the Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara will be pushing Woakes for his spot and a chance to revive his stuttering international career.
The England captain admitted that making late changes was not ideal.
"It's frustrating. You always want to build momentum and build confidence like New Zealand have going into the Champions Trophy but as you look into that tournament from now, you realise it's two weeks of cricket and you've got to play your best cricket for two weeks and whichever side does that – because there are eight quality sides – will win that tournament.
"This will be of little relevance when we get there but in the absolute ideal world, if you want to get your preparation right, we'd have won these games but we didn't deserve to win them. So we're going to have to look at aspects. Sometimes when you lose good things can come of it."
On what Cook described as a "really good cricket wicket", England's wayward bowling over the last five overs cost them the match. "They went for 85 runs, and that's obviously where they did the damage, but they earned the right to do the damage, keeping wickets in hand right up until that time.
"They were 270 going into the last five overs with only three wickets down and still scoring at a decent rate.
"It was a really good cricket wicket, a really good one-day wicket. Even if they had scored at just 10 an over for those last five overs, with 320 or 330, we were in with a chance to win the game but those extra 30 runs really hurt us."
Martin Guptill, the man who caused the pain with a record 189 not out, showed England the way to play. "It was a very special innings," said Cook of the New Zealand opener's knock. "He made us pay". Not only that, Guptill has thrown English plans into disarray.Reuse content