Opinion: England face a quick Trophy exit

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If the 'performances' against New Zealand in the recent one days series are anything to go by, then England are looking at an early exit in the Champions Trophy, writes Tim Ellis.

If the 'performances' against New Zealand in the recent one days series are anything to go by, then England are looking at an early exit in the Champions Trophy. Gary Linker recently accused England's football team of playing a formation from the dark ages. It seems a similar affliction has now beset its nation of one day cricketers.

The horror show at the Rose Bowl was something to behold. Bowlers who can't hit a length and batsmen who can't build an innings are a bad combination. Full tosses and holing out to long on appear to be par for the course. There has always been something masochistic about watching England in one day tournaments. Sometimes, they are clueless.

There are mitigating circumstances. Stuart Broad and Steven Finn are not involved in the series due to injury concerns and their participation against Australia next weekend appears to be in some doubt. England certainly looked at least two quality bowlers short.

There was something telling about Cook turning to Joe Root's part time spin at the end of the game at Lord's. Jade Dernbach, who is not part of the Champions Trophy squad, looks increasingly out of place in an international shirt, bar the tattoos. Chris Woakes can bat a bit but can't seem to bowl. To see Dernbach and Woakes serve up a load of rubbish was not appetising.

Finn and Broad are crucial in the one day format and England can be more confident with that duo giving Anderson the support he needs. It was also very noticeable how grumpy Graeme Swann got during the game at Hampshire when he was milked for runs.

Tim Bresnan may have been in stitches after his slow bouncer misfired, but he has lost pace and confidence after injuries and recent failures. At the moment, Anderson stands out as England's go to bowler, but Cook's team seem unable to find a reliable death bowler or someone who can bottle up the runs. Ravi Bopara's dobbers may yet have a big role to play.

As for the batting, it remains a total ramshackle unit of strokemakers, nudgers and hitters who cannot gel. Ian Bell is regressing horribly in that every time he gets a start in Tests or one dayers, he gives it away. It is almost certain there will be a few more groans before the tournament is over as Bell is certain to play two lovely shots followed by a total aberration. Someone needs a serious talk with the talented one.

Despite the remorseless treadmill of bad PR on his strike rate, Jonathan Trott is absolutely essential to the side as was shown when England were without his services in India after the Test matches. The negativity will always be there, but where would England have been at the last World Cup without his 422 runs? His detractors can't really answer that one. England are so unreliable that Trott can be as selfish as he likes. It is criminal not to bat your overs out.

We are constantly told of Jos Buttler's great striking abilities, but he averages nine in six innings. Eoin Morgan seems totally out of sorts in the 50 over format at the moment, having not posted a half century in his last eleven innings. Jonny Bairstow's technical deficiencies may come back to haunt him against pace and spin. Joe Root still looks strong if a little naive with two poor dismissals when well set.It is not a middle and lower order that can be relied upon.

Alastair Cook and Ashley Giles are still praying for the best combination that will at least stop the rudderless nature of the Kiwi defeats. The current crew are suffering from a bit of seasickness after the Titanic pasting in Southampton. There is only so much water torture English fans can endure.

<b>Tim Ellis</b>

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