England v Sri Lanka
NatWest One-Day Series | Twenty20 Match
Live on Sky Sports in High Definition
From June 17 2006
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England v Sri Lanka
With all the injuries around in the England camp, the experienced players that are still fit will be absolutely crucial for this NatWest Series against Sri Lanka, and few of the veterans will be more important than Marcus Trescothick.
Trescothick, with Kevin Pietersen, has been England's best one-day player by a mile over the last decade. He gets big runs, scores at a quick rate, and along with Pietersen, is one of the few players that makes hundreds in the 50 overs game.
In both the Twenty20 game against Sri Lanka and the international in Ireland, the importance of Trescothick's runs at the top of the order was clear to see and how they were missed in India.
I don't know the ins and outs of Marcus's mind, but all of these things have to be monitored with every player. Being a high class international sportsman can lead to problems on and off the field. England have a multi-dimensional back room staff now with more personnel than ever before.
Situations like his need to be monitored, whether by sports psychologists or fitness people, and it is not just Marcus, but everyone, to see that they manage and flourish under the demands of modern day cricket.
It is just good to see Marcus enjoying his cricket and scoring runs. He has always reminded me of Graham Gooch, who just loved to bat, and Marcus is another who is happiest when he is out in the middle with a bat in his hand and scoring runs for England.
As well as Trescothick, England also relied on Steve Harmison with the ball and Paul Collingwood, with both bat and ball, and you can see Duncan Fletcher's point about how experience is crucial as they kept England in both games, one that they lost and one that they won.
Collingwood has proved himself in the last year as a fine player in both forms of the game. He has a great attitude, a lot of energy and is good at every aspect of the game. I am a big fan of Collingwood and just maybe the next thing that he has to notch off on his list of successes is a good Ashes series on the hard pitches of Australia.
He has been one of England's most consistent players in the last year and in the one-day game, with his bowling, batting and fielding, and particularly with all of the injuries, is one of England's most important players.
I have also always liked Ian Bell, funnily enough more so in one-day cricket than in Test cricket where he seems to have been given more chances. He comes in down the order, like he did against Ireland, and is a clever batsman that manoeuvres the ball well and scores at a good healthy rate.
When you look at England's scores in limited overs when they have been in trouble, often it has been Ian Bell that has pulled them out of trouble. I remember a Lord's final against Warwickshire when he got 50 or 60 against Essex and ever since then I have kept an eye on his scores. He could be England's man to solidify the late order in this series and beyond.
The fact that he bowls and fields will obviously help and when it comes down to making a selection over, say Ed Joyce or Owais Shah. That he has many dimensions to his game can only help in his favour. The most important thing for Bell though is that he gets runs; it won't matter what he does elsewhere if he is not contributing to big totals.
There is a lot of talk about England building towards the World Cup and the Ashes later this year but it is always important to get results when you have a country behind you. After the Ashes success of last summer, the last thing that England wants is a dwindling away of support.
Despite the temporary feel of this squad, results remain important and England need to start getting some confidence in their one-day cricket. The quickest and best way to do that is winning.
But it won't be easy in this series, because as we saw in the Twenty20 match on Thursday at Southampton, the Sri Lankans are very experienced at one-day cricket and very talented.
One-day cricket is about talent and when you are playing against the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan, you are talking about some of the most talented one-day cricketers around.
Then there is Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold and Chaminda Vaas with plenty of experience and no small measure of ability and also Dilhara Fernando and Kumar Sangakarra who showed they can keep their nerve under pressure.
A home series against Sri Lanka is one that England should win but it will be tough for England's new, young players. They have showed that they can win in Test cricket, it is time for the old heads to show the young guns the way and see if they can win in one-day cricket too.