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England get World Cup Ballance right at last after axing Cook

| 20.12.2014

Alastair Cook’s removal as England’s ODI captain was long overdue and now the likes of recalled batsman Gary Ballance can look forward to the forthcoming World Cup with fresh optimism.

Cook’s presence at the top of the order in England’s one-day side had been growing more and more prohibitive to the Three Lions’ chances of making any kind of impression in Australia and New Zealand.

As it is, head coach Peter Moores and newly appointed skipper Eoin Morgan will still have a job on their hands to build any sort of confidence ahead of the tournament in February – where England sit sixth in the betting at 8/1.

Nevertheless, with two warm-up games before the upcoming tri-series against World Cup hosts Australia and India to come in January, the selectors can at least move on from Cook’s crumbling legacy.

Under the Essex left-hander’s captaincy England succumbed to 11 defeats from their last 15 ODI games, latterly going down 3-1 on home soil to India, before their tour of Sri Lanka saw them bossed 5-2.

While it is unfair to lay the blame solely at Cook’s door for such underachievement, the Test captain’s dismal form with the bat in the 50-over format – he’s only averaged 27.52 over his last 20 matches – has simply not been good enough.

With plenty of up-and-coming stars knocking on the door such as natural opener Alex Hales, Cook’s defiant stance has resulted in much unnecessary tinkering with England’s batting order, pushing people into the wrong slots.

Moving onto Australia the likes of Nottinghamshire’s James Taylor, who made such a splash in Sri Lanka at three scoring 90 and 68 before being shunted to five in the concluding match, can be restored to their most effective positions.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.