11 September 2020 12:41
There is just one more series to go, three ODIs against Australia, before England's international summer comes to an end, with the final match on Wednesday. Test cricket remains the pinnacle over here and the Twenty20s against Pakistan and Australia has shuffled the deck ahead of 2021's T20 World Cup in India. And it is hard not to look at the first match in Manchester on Friday as the first meeting of these two in this format since England's eight-wicket demolition of Australia in the semi-final. Not that these matches are without context given they form part of the 2020/22 ICC Cricket World Cup Super League which serves as part of the qualification process for 2023. Our fielding stood out as being second rate to Australia and I think more so the different challenges of playing three-match ODI series poses.
"I think the expectation outside of our group is higher than it has ever been and it should be - we've got an incredibly talented group of guys who have proved they are good players and collectively we're a hard team to beat. Jason Roy blogs on his touch-and-go race to be fit for the ODI series, England's fine record against Australia and dancing like a penguin! It was touch and go whether I would be ready for this Australia ODI series but the medical team have pushed me pretty hard to get me to where I need to be and I'm pretty positive my side will hold up. The timing of the injury hurt too - not just as I had been really looking forward to the Pakistan series but because it came so soon after I had decided to withdraw from the IPL to get myself in a good place physically and mentally. As hammer-blows go, I felt a little like I did during last year's World Cup when I picked up a hamstring tear against West Indies mid-tournament.
England and West Indies cricketers took a knee at the start of each of their three Tests in July. England and Australia are playing each other in a three-match ODI series starting at Old Trafford on Friday. "I'm a little bit disappointed that since the England-Ireland series, when they did take a knee, I haven't seen any of the teams take a knee," Holding said on his YouTube channel. Holding accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Australia captain Aaron Finch of making "lame" statements over ending the practice at a time when many other sports teams remain committed to it. Finch said after raising the matter with England skipper Eoin Morgan, his team would not take the knee, adding that "the education around it is more important than the protest".
But Holding said: "So for Pakistan and England not to then take that signal - because you are not doing anything other than going down on one knee - you are not chanting anything, you are not saying anything, all you are doing is making a signal to keep the awareness going. "Our refreshed inclusion and diversity strategy, published at the start of the West Indies series, commits to several comprehensive initiatives that focus on eliminating discrimination from all areas of cricket," it said. Following Australia's 1-2 defeat to England in the T20Is, former wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist has pointed out certain issues the national team is grappling with, saying lack of runs and consistency is a concern and that the team needs to address it soon. Australia have been on a bit of a downward spiral post last year's World Cup, winning only two out of seven ODIs since losing to England in the second semifinal in Edgbaston. With the first of the three ODIs starting Friday, Gilchrist highlighted the flaws and what Australia need to do to rectify them. I think that's the area where other teams have tended to be accelerating and playing that more aggressive brand of cricket," Gilchrist was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia. "That's been our Achilles heel for a number of years (and) will be challenging again, with the make-up of the England bowling line-up and how everyone in world cricket is probably aware of that handbrake for Australia there. Matthew Wade kept wickets in the T20Is, but Aaron Finch on Thursday confirmed the news of Alex Carey replacing him in the ODIs. The 29-year-old has had a decent start to his ODI career, scoring 884 runs from 36 matches at an average of 34, including 375 runs from nine innings at the 2019 World Cup but Gilchrist reckons Carey needs to adapt a little more to cement his place in the Playing XI.