Sir Ian Botham rubbished England’s hopes of winning the 2015 World Cup and branded their batting against spin as “clueless” after their comprehensive loss to India in the second ODI.
Alastair Cook’s men were bowled out for 161 at the Swalec Stadium en route to suffering a 133-run defeat, with visiting twirlers Ravindra Jadeja (4-28), Ravichandran Ashwin (2-38) and Suresh Raina (1-12) taking seven wickets between them.
And Sky Cricket pundit Botham reckons England – who saw India post a total 304-6, thanks in large part to Raina (100 off 75 balls) and skipper MS Dhoni (52 from 51) – have too many failings with bat and ball to contend in this winter’s 50-over showdown in Australia and New Zealand.
“We have absolutely no chance of winning the World Cup as on the evidence I’ve seen here we are miles behind the rest,” said Botham.
“We had batsmen not scoring and too many dot balls and we have three of the top four batters – Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root – all scoring at around the same pace, around mid-70s.
“Most other countries have rates in the high 80s or 90s and that’s what wins you games, as India showed by recovering from 19-2 after eight overs to amass over 300.
“India also knew that all they needed to do was bring on the spinners to make England look absolutely clueless and that’s what happened, something we saw in Australia and something we see everywhere we go.
“We also didn’t have the discipline to keep the opposition under pressure when we had them in all kinds of trouble when we were bowling.
“We have a hell of a long way to go as it was the same old story with us getting behind the eight ball and not recovering.”
England were dismissed in 38.1 overs by India’s rampant bowling attack, with ODI debutant Alex Hales (40 off 63 deliveries) one of the hosts’ few bright spots on the batting front.
However, Botham was also perturbed by the performance of seamer Chris Jordan, who bowled 12 wides in India’s innings and registered figures of 0-73 from his 10 overs.
And the former England all-rounder says his country cannot consider picking the Sussex quick for the third ODI of the five-match series which takes place at Trent Bridge on Saturday and must instead give Steven Finn an international recall.
“I have always felt this guy has a ton of potential but he has a strange grip on the ball where he almost wraps his hand around it the way I would hold an orange, as well as a stop-go, stop-go run-up with little rhythm," Botham said of Jordan.
“So before he gets himself into a really deep rut I would take him out of the team and let him sort himself out, work out his run-up, and use his thumb when he bowls the ball.
“You cannot play him in the next game after that sort of display and I would give Finn, whose record in one-day cricket is exceptional, a go because in Australia and New Zealand his pace and bounce will be what you want.
“Let’s get him back in the side and get his confidence back.”
After the first match was rained off and England were thrashed in the second, can Cook's boys bounce back in Nottingham? Watch their third ODI with India, live on Saturday from 10am on Sky Sports 2.