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Lessons England must learn as World Cup prep starts in Sri Lanka

| 05.10.2014

It’s clear there’s a cricket World Cup on the horizon when what should have been England’s five-ODI, two-T20 limited overs tour of Sri Lanka is converted into an overloaded seven-game, 50-over series.

With a less-than-impressive record of three wins from their last 10 ODIs and a style of play that provokes vitriol from all corners of English cricket, there’s plenty for the Three Lions to learn while preparations for the 2015 tournament, which they’re 10/1 to win, take place:

Results are less important than the method at this stage

The advent of T20 cricket, with its accelerated scoring, has pushed what is considered a tolerant score in 50-over games skyward.

In the last five years of ODIs there have been 136 instances of a side scoring 300 runs or more in an innings. England contributed just eight of them, while India had 26.

If the ECB wants to challenge in Australia in February, then they must arm the side with men that can launch the ball over the boundary.

Ian Bell should be no more than a squad member

Unfortunately for the stylish right-hander, Alastair Cook’s reprieve as captain means England can’t afford any more plodding batsman – even though Bell is a better option than his leader to open the batting.

The batting order in Sri Lanka, in order to score the weight of runs needed to placate fans, should therefore be:

1. Cook 2. Hales 3. Ali 4. Taylor 5. Root 6. Morgan 7. Buttler 8. Bopara/Stokes

Let spin play a part

Generally speaking, England only play one spinner in ODIs and while their tour of Sri Lanka- where England are 7/4 underdogs to prevail – may demand using more, it’s vital they don’t revert back to their old ways in Down Under.

Whether it’s a combination of Moeen Ali and Joe Root, or James Tredwell and a newcomer like Adil Rashid, finding a way of getting two spinners into the side is a must.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.