Exasperated at England’s consecutive defeats, former captain Alec Stewart said the hosts must learn from India how to play One-day cricket. India have taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match series with convincing victories at Cardiff and Nottingham.
“India look a completely different team to the rabble that threw in the towel in the recent Test series. They are currently giving their hosts a lesson in how to play 50 over cricket,” Stewart wrote in his column for the Mirror.
“Strong shots, improvisation and not allowing any England bowler to settle has been their formula mixed in with variety in the bowling attack,” the former wicket-keeper said. Stewart said England have not moved forward and that is why now they have a mountain to climb being two down.
“Last week I asked England to be brave and take the positive options at every opportunity but what’s been on show so far is the same old failings. Overcautious and unadventurous, repeating mistake after mistake. Watching England in this current series is exactly how England played back in the mid 1990s.
“England have to understand that the game has moved on and must be prepared to play a style of cricket that will worry the opposition,” he wrote. There have been calls to remove skipper Alastair Cook but Stewart said that was not a realistic solution.
“Any call for Cook to stand down will fall on deaf ears and I can understand why the selectors won’t change things with just a few months to go before the World Cup starts.
“Fans have called for Cook to be taken out of the squad but it may not be realistic to change it so soon to the World Cup. The big challenge is to get this group of players playing without fear and being allowed to show off their talents.”
Stewart cautioned England to bring in the required improvements otherwise their plans for World Cup campaign may fall apart.
“England mustn’t fall into the trap of previous World Cup when the carefully laid plans that had been in place were suddenly ripped up just a few weeks before the tournaments began.
“By the time England take on India and Australia “down under” in a tri-series leading into the World Cup they must know how they’re going to play and which players can deliver.
“There is plenty to consider between now and then and like many of my school reports used to say England?s would read ?room for plenty of improvement while there?s still just about enough time,” he concluded.