Welcome to this latest installment of this series.
Today the team pick their XI to face up to the South Africans. Having white washed the T20Is with Dawid Malan starring, a very different selection of players are available with players being rested after their IPL exploits; others are going to the big bash. Whilst the top scorer from the ODI series earlier this year; Joe Denly is not in the squad.
Lets see who the team picked
Tom Banton 1/8
Reece Topley 2/8
Tom Curran 1/8
Not in squad but recieved votes
Ben Stokes 2/8
Sam Curran 2/8
There we have it; the selectors have kept the faith with Roy, outcast Tom Curran, whilst split votes between Stone and Livingstone.
Reaction from Rob Rush, Duke and Kookabura and Samuel Bruning
With England choosing to rest some key players for this series, it opens up some doors for fringe players to show their worth and increase the competition within the white-ball teams, which is already fierce. No Ben Stokes or Jofra Archer for the 50 over games, meaning there are spots available in the middle order and as an opening bowler.
However, as always with the ODI squad there are players that are absolutely non- negotiable: Roy, Bairstow (less said about his reported recall to the Test team the better), Root, Captain Morgan, Universe Jos, Woakes, Rashid and Mark Wood. These players basically pick themselves for the ODI team, and with their past experiences and record, it's easy to see why.
Now onto the other picks in the team; Sam Billings, Liam Livingstone and Olly Stone. Billings cemented himself in the summer as first choice replacement batsman in case of injury or sudden drop of form, so not much surprise there. I question my fellow selectors with the inclusion of Livingstone, as for me something doesn't fit right with picking him. While his batting stats seem decent, he hasn't played international cricket in just over 3 years and wasn’t picked up in the most recent edition of the IPL. However, Livingstone could be seen as a Moeen Ali-like replacement in this team, in which case I have very few issues; as long as Ali is not in this team, I’m happy. If Stokes isn’t playing, I would choose an almost like-for-like replacement in Sam Curran, an all rounder who has the ability to influence the game in whatever he does, and has earned a shot at having a sustained run in England’s white ball teams after his impressive form in the IPL this season. Olly Stone is a pick that I have no real issues with, but as always with him, he comes with a big question mark over his fitness. If he can stay fit, which has troubled him throughout his career, he could be very effective for England and with the Ashes tour and subsequent white-ball tours in less than a year's time, it could help kick-start his international career.
Duke and Kookabura
This is an excellent composite XI we have put together and should be strong enough to dispose of a weakened South Africa.
Jason Roy at the top needs runs, time in the middle and to find that elusive rhythm and fifty overs not twenty allows him more time to ease himself back in rotate the strike and reclaim his confidence. He's got plenty of credit in the bank, but the richness of England's white ball depth means he won't want to be in the doldrums for too long.
The batting largely picked itself thereafter, Billings' excellent summer means he retains his place; Livingstone has been given a chance to shine and for the good of competition let's hope he seizes it.
I very much like the pace in the bowling attack as well, with Stone and Wood providing the firepower and Wizard Woakes the knowhow and guile. Stone's injury history is a concern but he could be a threat in all formats and it would be a bonus for England for him to grasp his chance. England to win the series.
To start with, I’m pleased we’ve stuck with Roy. I know he hasn’t been in the best of form recently, but his record for England has been key to our ODI side going from no-hopers to world-champions-it’s right he keeps his spot. That, is probably the only mildly controversial batting pick, and seen as he got 8 of 8 votes, we are unanimous on paper, if not in the group chat!
I would, however, bat Billings ahead of Buttler. Given Jos’ natural position is at six, batting him out of place seems pointless to me. I also feel for Billings, who performed well in the summer ODIs v Ireland and Australia, but, when Stokes returns, will not make our top best top six, unless someone drops off massively.
Livingstone at seven though, is a stupid pick. I think he is a very good batter, and want to see what he can do in the lower order, but his leg-spin is not good enough to get through a sizeable spell of bowling, which he is required to in our XI. I have no real qualms with our bowling attack. Although Moeen has lots of my support, I would rather him play for England in IT20s, and so didn’t select him for this line-up anyway. Instead, I went for Woakes, Wood, Stone, Topley and Rashid, who make a fine 5 man attack. The reason I play a fifth bowler instead of a part-timer is that this is how England’s ODI success has come.
While this leaves Woakes at seven, and not much of a tail, I want a solid five bowling options with Stokes as the sixth-not four solid options, with Stokes and Livingstone having to share ten. That, in my view, leaves little room for error, from any bowler.
That's it folks! The last inside edge picks of 2020! The XI is picked. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know @InsideEdgeCrick on twitter.