Trailing the five-match series 0-2 after three outings, England coach Peter Moores still believes that his side can draw level when they take on India in the fourth ODI, in Birmingham on Tuesday.
“We have had two disappointing games and we haven’t played well enough in both games, and we know that,” said Moores.
“So it’s a chance again to come back and play better. In two or three different areas of the game we haven’t really played as well as we wanted to.”
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The hosts struggled against spin at Nottingham where the Indian slow bowlers strangled them with six wickets. Even in Cardiff, the Indian medium pacers had made initial breakthroughs. This happened despite England’s new opening combination of Alastair Cook and Alex Hales giving them two 50-plus stands in successive matches.
“The middle overs and playing spin are the areas where we want to improve. The key for the lads is to identify the areas where they want to get better and how they are going to go about it and then work very hard to get there,” said the coach.
“We’ve got some good players of spin, in that side the players like Ian Bell, Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan, who are good players of spin. But we have to deliver in a one-day game and that, to me, is partly about skill and partly a mindset, which is something that obviously goes with the territory of the job of being a one-day international player,” he added.
These two losses have thrown England’s 2015 World Cup preparations off-track. It has become particularly tough for the hosts since ex-cricketers have been very vocal in their opinion of not having Cook as the ODI captain and indeed replacing him with someone else for the quadrennial event in Australia-New Zealand.
“I don’t mind people having a view. It’s probably healthy people have got a view on what they think is right and wrong. The key for the players is they’ve got a chance to make a difference, because they’re in there and they’re doing it. We have to get the right score and there are different ways of getting it.
“We know in that squad you’ve got some people who can score at a very high rate – Hales at the top, people like Morgan and Buttler. You also see Root, who’s growing as a player – we’ve seen him in Twenty20 score rapidly. All those players are clear in what they’ve got to do. But to get to that point, you’ve got to get in, still build an innings – we see that in all forms of the game,” said Moores.
When asked if England are contemplating a change in leadership if they unable to save the series, the coach replied, “I am confident that Cook will lead the team in the World Cup.”
“We’re trying to find a balance for our team and that’s part of the process we’re going through. We’re creating opportunities for people to play and if you play well enough and you show can score consistently enough you get to stay in those international teams. We know what our goal is. Our goal is to basically try to draw this series now but also toprepare for a World Cup in six months time, so we’ve got both on the go.
“To do that we’ve had quite a lot of change and we’ve got to be able to identify the right people in the right slots to play a brand of cricket that players feel they can deliver and be successful against the best teams,” he added.
The big question troubling England ahead of this match is whether they will play Moeen Ali along with James Tredwell or not. Chris Jordan was dropped after the second ODI and Ben Stokes hasn’t been setting the stage alight. The team management will be hard pressed to make this change.
“We could play both definitely but probably two off-spinners in the same team wouldn’t normally be your absolute ideal. Moeen’s not had much opportunity yet. We saw him rapidly develop as a Test match bowler and we want to create opportunities for him at some point, to look where he’s at. We’ve seen always in international cricket some people grow very fast and that’s what we have got to find out,” Moores signed off.