The current ODI series between England and India is making for interesting viewing. Not only does it pit the top one-day side in the world against the third-best, but it offers a first glimpse of England’s one-day future under their new coach, Ashley Giles.
Giles, who led Warwickshire to the County Championship title last season, was appointed England one-day international and Twenty20 head coach at the end of last November, replacing Andy Flower, who will continue as team director and as coach of the Test team.
With a core of experienced international cricketers, alongside some promising young talent, the 39-year-old former left-arm spinner has plenty to work with as he looks to build an England squad capable of challenging for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. However, despite being officially the number one-ranked nation in ODI cricket, there is still a sense that in the shorter form of the game England have yet to find a settled identity, especially with regards to Twenty20. In their last four Twenty20 games England have fielded some eighteen different players. Giles will also have to come to terms with England’s policy of rotation: James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott are being rested for the ODI series in India, while Kevin Pietersen will not travel to New Zealand for the series in the spring.
Hopes that Giles’ England will follow the lead of India’s swashbuckling middle order – which features Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are likely to fall short. Giles fielded an opening partnership of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott for Warwickshire’s opening CB40 match last season. Despite this, when it comes to developing and bringing through new talent, the former England selector has some form. Keith Barker and Chris Wright, barely heard of outside of Edgbaston before 2012, claimed 112 wickets between them at a cost of just above 20 runs apiece in the County Championship last season.
Therefore, while Giles’ England may not be spectacular it is worth bearing in mind that when he took over at Warwickshire, they had been relegated in both first-class and 40-over leagues, and morale was low at arguably the lowest point in Warwickshire’s history. Five years later they are County Championship Champions, with consecutive CB40 runners-up medals to boot. With the likes of Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Danny Briggs, and Warwickshire’s own Chris Woakes all developing quickly, don’t bet against him achieving similar success with England.