England v Australia - Warne overconfident of English overconfidence?
When one of the world’s greatest cricket players voices an opinion on the game, the cricketing world tends to sit up and listen. When an Australian cricketing great opens his mouth, perhaps less so. Shane Warne this week has said that ‘England’s over-confidence’ is bordering on arrogance’ and this arrogance will cost them victory in the upcoming one-day international series against Australia.
The five-match series starts tomorrow at Lords, a seemingly random series that intrudes on a summer already containing two touring test sides. Inserted as part of a reciprocal arrangement which will see England play a series in Australia ahead of the 2015 World Cup Down Under, Australia will get the chance over the next few weeks to sample English conditions ahead of the Ashes series next summer.
According to Warne, ‘deep down there will be a feeling of superiority’ in the English camp. Really, Shane? The Australian team is ranked number one in the world for one-day internationals. That would be the best team in the world; as in higher than all the others, Shane. If nothing else, I believe the English can count.
‘There is a lot more for Australia to gain from these five matches than England’ says Warne, ‘Australia are expected to lose to England and with expectation comes a certain fear of losing when you’re the favourites’. Except Australia are the favourites, given their ranking. To say that they are expected to lose to England is quite a statement. Even English bookmakers have ranked the series too close to call.
Warne also goes on to criticise the English line-up. He says that he doesn’t see a match-winner in the team with the departure of Kevin Pietersen. Australian bowlers will not fear Eoin Morgan, apparently; the same Eoin Morgan who averaged 60 the last time Australia played a one-day series in England.
'Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook are good players but they will not hurt you’, says Warne. If Trott is not a dangerous player with a batting average of 50, then I’m not sure anyone is while Alastair Cook has averaged over 70 in 2012, with three centuries in six innings. Not dangerous though, says Warne, who instead talks up the talents of the Australian middle order of George Bailey, Peter Forrest, and David Hussey who all average in the low 30s. Not quite sure that counts as dangerous either, Shane.
Judging by the recent series, Ian Bell looks set to be an excellent replacement for Kevin Pietersen at the top of the order. Eoin Morgan and Jonathan Trott are both top class players. Ravi Bopara will be desperate to prove his worth to the England set-up ahead of the South African test series, while Craig Kieswetter has looked a much better prospect down the order than he did when playing as an opener. Tim Bresnan will come back stronger for the rest he was given at the end of the West Indian series while the talent of Anderson, Broad and Swann speaks for itself.
England will lose, says Warne, because they are arrogantly over-confident, will underestimate Australia, and because they don’t have any match-winners. Call me cynical, but that in itself sounds a little bit like overconfidence.