England's ODI battle plan has a few holes

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It is no secret Andy Flower has refused to confirm that he will remain Test coach after the next Ashes instalment. This leaves Twenty20 and ODI supremo Ashley Giles trying to impress for what may be a vacant position in a few months' time.

It is no secret Andy Flower has refused to confirm that he will remain Test coach after the next Ashes instalment. This leaves Twenty20 and ODI supremo Ashley Giles trying to impress for what may be a vacant position in a few months' time.

Handicapped by the loss of the regular opening batsmen and bowlers, Giles is still trying to work out a strategy for England's one day unit. Judging by his team's performance at Old Trafford, it is already clear what the King of Spain wants from his team.

1. Make sure first ODI is washed out to ensure margin of defeat is less. First objective achieved.

2. Pick a captain who can recite all the cliches and deny all wrongdoing in strategy and team selection. Confronting the truth and ignoring it is an absolute must to survive in this job.

3. Pretend to assess all options before the toss and then just go completely left field when you actually call correctly. Flat pitch? Bowl first. Sun shines? Bowl first. Unbalanced team? Bowl first. After all, look how deep England bat. Anybody can chase 315 with that line up.

4. Choose an overweight spinner that does not turn the ball to complement the three seamers who can't bowl yorkers. Insert county trundler as required. James 'Two Tums' Treadwell is currently treading the boards. Samit Patel is waiting in the wings, or perhaps eating chicken wings.

5. Leave out main bowler in the hope that a number eight can get 20 odd runs and win you the match. Hang on a minute, isn't that what Duncan Fletcher used to do? Isn't that where Ashley Giles used to bat in Test matches?

6. Do something normal to redress the balance by picking KP at top of the order. That will keep the critics quiet, eh? Stroke of genius that.

7. Get your captain to say things like: "We've got a young, talented, exciting team playing in this series and it can be a stepping stone looking ahead to the 2015 World Cup. Then play two thirtysomethings at the top of the order, one of whom describes himself as an 'old man' (KP).

8. Include in the squad exciting teenage prospect James Overton who roughed Australia up at Taunton. Include the exciting prospect Chris Jordan, a fast bowler with Barbadian roots. Don't play either until you are 3-0 down…

9. Sell Ben Stokes as the new Andrew Flintoff… without the runs or wickets. Good to show off his nice tattoo though.

10. Ensure that all batting power plays are accompanied by the loss of wickets and the minimum number of runs. Except that England are normally batting when that happens.

11. When chasing a run rate of eight an over, do not hit boundaries for long periods of time to lull the opposition into a false sense of security.

12. Ensure that you do not under any circumstances bat out your overs. What's the point when you've already lost the game after the first 50?

13. Perfect the 'worried coach on the balcony' look and hide behind sunglasses even if it is murkier than Headingley. The ghost of Duncan Fletcher must live on.

<b>Tim Ellis</b>

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