London, Sep 1 IANS | 3 months ago

Former skipper Geoffrey Boycott blasted England's cricket selectors saying they need to have some fresh thinking in picking players for the ODI squad.

As England are staring at an ODI series loss against India, Boycott said that neither James Whitaker, the chairman of selectors, nor Mick Newell have really played international cricket and lack the thinking.

"We also need some fresh thinking from our selectors. Neither James Whitaker, the chairman of selectors, nor Mick Newell have really played international cricket and they have not been involved with the way that the one-day international game has changed in recent years," wrote Boycott in The Daily Telegraph.

Boycott, however, has immense admiration for another selector Angus Fraser, but said that the former Test bowler hasn't played international cricket since 1999.

"As much as I admire the other selector, Angus Fraser, who was a wonderful Test bowler, he has not played one-day international cricket since 1999 and the game has moved on dramatically since then. The selectors need to open their minds. I have been commentating for 25 years all over the world so I have seen how the game has changed since I played in the first one-day international in 1971. Then you could win games with 230 runs but now you are not safe with 270," he said.

Boycott said that England's problem against India is simple - they cannot play spin bowling.

"It is quite clear why England are struggling in one-day cricket at the moment: they cannot play the turning ball. We are playing the world champions, India, and we bat like chumps... England play slow bowling well on flat pitches when it does not spin. It is a different ball game when the ball turns. Then they are creasebound and terrified to use their feet against the spinners," he said.

Boycott wondered how England can have three orthodox batsmen among the top four in ODIs.

"England have gone into this series with three orthodox batsmen in our top four in Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root. They are lovely technical batsmen for Test cricket but you should not have all three of them in your one-day team," he said.

The 73-year-old was also surprised with England's decision to pick fast bowlers Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes together.

"They are all exactly the same: they bowl at a similar pace and have no variations. After the match Cook admitted England selected them because all three can bat. It was a safety-first policy to get England out of trouble with late-order runs if the batsmen failed. We are still thinking in the old fashioned way from when I played, pack your batting and bowl fast medium line and length. That only works on seaming swinging pitches but the next World Cup is in Australia and New Zealand and will not have those types of pitches," he said.

Bocyott said England need a fresh approach but they also need to be able to accept constructive criticism from ex-players.

"They are guilty of selecting the ODI team on Test performances and central contracts, this is wrong thinking.

"Just look how Cook responded when his 'so-called friend' Swann made constructive comments about England's one-day team and Cook got his knickers in a twist. What he should realise is Graeme is now paid to give his opinions in the media. He and other former players like myself are not there to fawn over England or be cheerleaders for the captain and his players. We all want England to play well and win but if we think they have not got it right are we supposed to say nothing," he said.

The Yorkshireman said the team shouldn't be bothered by comments made by former cricketers like Swann and Michael Vaughan. He urged the players to take their heads from out of the sand and into the modern era of one day cricket or else there will be more bad days ahead.

(Posted on 01-09-2014)

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