The matches going on over the past few weeks have provided really interesting and unexpected results. Pakistan securing a seemingly unlikely win over Sri Lanka in Galle; that too after being in a precarious situation on day 4 and more than a day’s play was washed away. Bangladesh finally achieving that elusive series win over their ‘Big Brothers’ India and threatening to white wash the series by winning the dead rubber. But for me, the most fascinating and captivating series on display was England, or rather “New” England defeating the World Cup runners-up New Zealand 3-2 in the recently concluded ODI series at home.
Before the start of the series, no one would have given a chance to the English team. Although they had managed to level the test series at a match a piece, New Zealand in ODI format are a really formidable side, in any conditions. The English team had many new faces, in a possible bid to form a team for the next world cup, after a horrendous performance in this year’s quadrennial event. The plague faced by the English team was known by all; there was a light year’s gap between their approach to the ODI game and other top teams. This mindset had not changed for the English side which in recent years had become more focused on its approach in the test matches. The fact that they became the top test team in the world even furthered their perception that the same approach will prove to be successful in the shorter formats as well. A grave mistake, as they all would now agree in hindsight.
After their dismal exit from the world cup league stage and sacking of coach Peter Moores, English team had became the butt of many jokes. Voices supporting the reinstating of flamboyant Kevin Pietersen were gaining strength. After all, he had also in many public and social platforms voiced his keen desire to don the English colours again. In a bid to earn his place back, Pietersen even let go of his lucrative IPL contract with the Sunrisers Hydrabad and went back to county circuit. As luck would have it, Andrew Strauss was appointed the new Director of Cricket for ECB. The same Strauss, about whom Pietersen had forwarded insulting remarks to the visiting South African team players. Since then, there was no love lost between the two.