As Sri Lanka showed in the World Cup, they are a formidable limited overs unit and even with the distraction of the Sanath Jayasuriya Farewell Tour in the T20 and first ODI, they should give England a real run for their money.
To be frank, the series is an unwelcome sideshow for England with by far the most important date of the summer being the Test series with India that starts on July 21.
As such, we at the Reverse Sweep hope that England rest a number of key players from the series to ensure that they are fit and raring to go to face Duncan Fletcher’s new charges at Lord’s in four and a half weeks time. It won’t happen, but for the purposes of this post we have replaced Geoff Miller as Chief Selector.
So with Miller gagged and bound in the committee room, the likes of Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Anderson, Tremlett and Swann would all be omitted. They can combine putting their feet up with turning out for their counties, whilst England take the opportunity to look at a number of likely candidates as they build towards the World Cup in 2015.
That leaves ODI captain Cook, T20 captain Broad and Morgan from the XI that played at The Rose Bowl. We would augment this trio with 11 additional in a 14 man squad.
We’ve already declared our support for Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales to open with Cook, and our number three would be Leicestershire’s James Taylor, followed by Morgan at four and Ravi Bopara at six. Slotting in between these two would be our wicket keeper Craig Kieswetter, who just shades it ahead of Steve Davies and the coming up fast on the rails Jonathan Bairstow. We’d liked to have seen how Ben Stokes would have fared at international level, but injury delays that for now, so our spare batsman would be James Hildreth.
With Swann putting his feet up, Mike Yardy sadly unavailable and the James Tredwell experiment surely now at an end, Samit Patel and Adil Rashid would come in as our XI’s two spinners. Their contrasting slow left-arm and leg spin styles should dovetail perfectly and the fact that both can bat is a real bonus.
Having declared Anderson and Tremlett unavailable and with Tim Bresnan still injured, we’d select Chris Woakes and Jade Dernbach to join Stuart Broad in the XI with Graham Onions and either James Harris (if fit) or Stuart Meaker joining them in the squad.
So our XIV with our first choice ODI XI in bold is as follows:
Cook, Hales, Taylor, Morgan, Kieswetter, Bopara, Patel, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Dernbach, Hildreth, Onions and Harris/Meaker. Hildreth would replace Cook for the T20.
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