West Indies 272-4 England 276-7: Fletcher's flawed logic hinders one-day progress

England's last-gasp win in a Champions Trophy match of little consequence should be treated as precisely that: a last-gasp win of little consequence. A speck on the heaving global mass of one-day cricket. But, if you really insist, an indication that all is not lost for the World Cup and also an uplifting win before the real business of the winter, the Ashes, (Brisbane, 23 November, lest you forget).

Had the Barmy Army been present - the good folk of Jaipur and Ahmedabad have been spared their good-natured but tuneless presence - they would undoubtedly have broken into something along the lines of "There'll Always Be an England".

So there might, but not necessarily one containing the likes of Michael Yardy. Poor Yardy is but the latest in a long line of sound county cricketers who will probably be ditched by England. When the coach, Duncan Fletcher, talks of an inexperienced team, and on some days he talks of little else, he is partly right.

Selectors are paid to make tough decisions but it is pushing it to claim that players are inexperienced when judgements have previously been made on others before they have gained the experience. You could call it catch-22 but it takes a lot of one-dayers to take 22 catches.

Yardy, like some of those who preceded him, has made the absolute best of his ability in county cricket but that does not make him an international. It would have been positively heartening had he played a significant part in England's three-wicket victory against West Indies in a competition from which they had already been eliminated after losing their first two matches.

But the vital bit was done by Kevin Pietersen. Without his 90 not out from 86 balls following the dazzling but curtailed start by Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell, there would not have been a sniff of overtaking West Indies' total of 272, which was positively gargantuan for this tournament.

"We're going to be inconsistent until we get a side together that plays together for a long time and gets a lot of games under their belt," said Fletcher. "It's been the same for the last five years when you bring in good young guys and I've repeated it over and over again."

The inconsistency in that remark is on a par with England's performances. If you keep bringing in young guys, you reap what you sow. England have a strategy to start building a one-day side for the next World Cup immediately after the one preceding it. Yet with five months to go until the ninth competition, five of the team that played on Saturday have played fewer than 30 one-dayers, generally considered the benchmark in passing from novice. Only four have played more than 50 times, obviously enough to make a mother proud, but laughable compared with other countries.

"We feel these young guys can do a better job and they're proving it," said Fletcher. "Jamie Dalrymple's bowling was again very good and it was good to see Ian Bell opening the batting showing his class. It was also good to see KP finding form."

KP's innings (Kevin Pietersen, that is) was important for more than winning the match. There had been the suspicion that he was not quite the one-day player he had been, becoming impatient, desperate. "He played like he can," said Fletcher.

But if Pietersen's match-winning was welcome, Andrew Flintoff's five overs were manna from heaven. He reached 87.1 mph and could have bowled more. Fletcher tried his best to avoid purring. Having omitted Stephen Harmison - rightly, but a big call four weeks before the Ashes - he needed that.

"We can get the extra 10 per cent out of Flintoff in the two-week build-up in Australia. Harmison is fit and will need lots of overs in the two warm-up matches. I am confident they will be ready for the Test match." What Test match is that, then?

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'