England for The Cup
Atherton is usually the lone voice of reason amongst the English cricket community. He writes thus about the English attitude towards ODIs, drawing from his personal experience as captain of the national squad
"One or two `specialists' headed home thanking their lucky stars. Other `specialists' — who had spent some time acclimatising to conditions while being made to feel alienated from the Test squad — joined up. As ever, some looked for excuses to travel home. Some did," he added.....
"The coaching, the talk, the tactics all centred on trying to produce Test match batsmen. And so, by and large, England produced stiff-wristed, technically sound, low-intensity players... When I became an England player myself, the administrators confirmed the low esteem in which ODI cricket was held," he revealed.And this, to me, is visible in every aspect of English cricket, not just their on-field performance. The only time they seem to care about ODIs is when it's against the Aussies. Even their test cricket is defined by how they fare against the Aussies, but in ODIs they seem to treat everything else at a scale even lower than World Cup warmup or qualifier games. How else do you explain Fletcher's recent comments that 10 of their final World Cup XI are already fixed - amidst a series where they looked unlikely to take even those chances being gifted their way by the hosts? Sure, they have an under-strength squad - but that was not the case in Pakistan where they again won a single consolation match when Pak was experimenting. And they haven't won much outside their home for a long time.