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Ian Botham
Cricket Expert and Columnist

Sir Ian Botham: England's call to leave out Alastair Cook is "positive"

Highlights from a thrilling final ODI in the series between Australia and England at the Adelaide Oval.

Sir Ian Botham says the decision to leave Alastair Cook at home for the tour of the West Indies is a "positive" one for England's limited-overs future.

The England captain revealed after Sunday's five-run ODI defeat to Australia, which sealed a 4-1 victory for the hosts, that he would not take part in the one-day and Twenty20 matches in the Caribbean so that Stuart Broad and Ashley Giles could fine tune their preparations for the ICC World Twenty20.

AUS v ENG, 5th ODI - Knight Blog

With the World Cup only a year away, Cook suggested that limited-overs cricket would be more of a priority for the England camp in the next few months and Botham was impressed with the idea of Broad captaining a T20-focused squad in the West Indies.

"We didn't see it coming," he told Sky Sports.

"I think it's interesting and I don't have a problem with it. I think it's about time we did a bit more forward planning for one-day cricket.

"I believe the players we've got - the young players playing in the T20 and a few of the senior players - will end up being a really competitive side here in 12 months' time for the World Cup.

"I don't have a problem with it. I think it's good. It's nice to see that Ashley Giles has talked this over with Alastair Cook and will have talked it over with Andy Flower and I like the thinking.

Cook: We should have won

"They are trying to plot a way, whereas normally we have this great, wonderful review and about two weeks before the tournament we stop, change it all and go back to something else.

"This looks very positive and I think it's good."


Cook will now fly home after another agonising defeat in Adelaide, which saw England fall just six runs short of victory as they failed to chase down a target of 218.

The tourists looked to be in command at 154-3 in the 36th over, but lost both Eoin Morgan (39) and Joe Root (55) in quick succession and Botham pointed to a poor scoop shot from the latter as the turning point in the match.

"They should have won it from the position they got themselves into," Botham said.

Giles: We must do more

"The massive blow was Eoin Morgan getting out and then Joe Root following him in the next over, playing a shot that really wasn't worth the risk on this pitch.

"There was no pace on the pitch, the man was up at short fine leg in the circle and after losing a wicket you needed Joe Root to stay in and shepherd the other guys through.

"For him to get out as well was just a massive, massive blow. It was a poor shot selection under the circumstances and England didn't need him to get out then.

"He was playing probably as well and as fluently as he has all tour."


The game ended in controversy when Ravi Bopara was given out by the third umpire after wicketkeeper Matthew Wade spilled a stumping chance onto the bails.

Should Morgan move to four?

The ball hit the bail while the batsman's foot was in the air and Kumar Dharmasena decided it was dislodged before his foot came back down - but Botham watched the replays and had a different view.

He added: "I saw the replays as the third umpire did and I'd like to know how at any stage he can say it is out.

"The bail goes up in the air, but seems to stay there and hasn't moved and Bopara's foot is back on the ground. The bail can go up and down in the air, but it has to be totally dislodged.

"It goes up, comes back down and the foot is back down so how can it be given out? On the evidence we have seen and the umpire has seen, how can it be given out?

"He cannot be certain, that's my whole point. We'll never know [what might have happened] because someone has taken a guess."