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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Owais Shah
Owais Shah's place is in jeopardy.....his running between the wickets is dreadful

The one-day series, which finally ended under sunny skies at the Riverside with a consolation England win, tested the patience of players, fans and pundits alike.

Whether or not that would have been different had it been even remotely an even contest is debatable - but it is difficult to identify with, and get excited about, a series of so many games.

The England and Wales Cricket Board says this is a means of taking cricket around the country, but in fact it is flogging international cricket to what is now approaching an irresponsible degree.

England versus Australia should be special but counting this series the two sides will play 24 ODIs in this country up to 2013 - with Australia touring every year between now and then, except in 2011 when England go there!

Will people continue to fork out such large admission prices for a product that is becoming run of the mill? It seems inevitable to me that interest will wane.


On the field, England continue to flounder in the 50-over form of the game and it was unfortunate that the timing of the Champions Trophy, which starts later this week, demanded that the squad of players had to be named in advance and, therefore, meant it would not have been sensible - or good for morale - to make changes against Australia.

That meant the selectors were unable to arrest the decline in confidence which inevitably accompanied England's six straight defeats.

But the announcement of the squads for the tour to South Africa, beginning in November, has now been delayed until the end of the Champions Trophy, suggesting that new players will be drafted in.

Owais Shah's place looks in jeopardy. He has the skill of hitting the ball hard and into unusual places, but he is cumbersome in the field, and his running between the wickets is dreadful.

Ravi Bopara continues to frustrate and while Eoin Morgan plays delicate and clever improvised shots in county cricket, apart from a 41-ball half century in the fifth match, he did little to suggest that he can step up to this level.

There has to be a place found for Jonathan Trott and let's hope that Kevin Pietersen recovers in time for the tour of South Africa - although his prospects do not look good at the moment.

For Australia, their overwhelming success in the one-day series will do nothing to make up for the disappointment of losing the Ashes.

That was the priority for the tour, but the manner in which they shrugged that off and focused on the one-day series with such determination says a great deal about their professionalism and pride.

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see also
England escape one-day whitewash
20 Sep 09 |  England
England v Australia photos
20 Sep 09 |  Cricket
A history of the Champions Trophy
21 Sep 09 |  Cricket
In defence of the Champions Trophy
21 Sep 09 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2009
05 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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