England v New Zealand 2nd ODI – Old Guns (Go For It)

For a few years after the dawn of the professional era, the average age of England’s “Top 6” hovered around 26/27. Then around 2016, something happened.

England under the leadership of Mark Robinson and Heather Knight found a batting formula that worked and won the World Cup with it. Tammy Beaumont was leading run scorer and player of the tournament; Heather Knight and Nat Sciver hit their first ODI hundreds – England were flying.

There’s a saying in computer programming: If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it! And England applied that mantra to their new-found magic batting formula, with one important side effect: their batting line-up began to age. As every year passed, the Top 6 became a year older, hitting 30 in 2020.

Longer term, there has to be a concern about this – England aren’t debuting new batters, and the worry is that in the next two or three years the entire lineup retires without any transition taking place to the next generation, who will be thrown unceremoniously thrown to the wolves  just in time for the 2025 World Cup.

But in the short term, England’s “Old Guns” are absolutely owning the game, particularly in the longer 50-over format.

Last night’s 2nd ODI against the White Ferns was a classic case of older, wiser heads prevailing. Both teams lost early wickets – at 5 overs, New Zealand were 20-2; England were 21-2. It was in the next 5 overs that England won the game.

While New Zealand slumped, scoring just 8 runs in overs 5-10, and losing another 2 wickets in the process, Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver showed all their experience – shrugging off the match situation, they just played calm, sensible cricket. The result: 23 runs for the loss of no wickets.

And that was the game – Sciver and Beaumont both cruised passed 50, and although Sciver eventually holed-out with a slightly dozy shot, England’s win was never in doubt. Having initially required 3.8 runs per over, they scored steadily at well over 4 runs per over, to win the match inside 40 overs.

Tammy Beaumont’s innings – finishing 72 not out – really deserved to be a century, and had the White Ferns given her a few more runs to play with, she surely would have added to her tally of 8 international hundreds. With apologies to Knight, Sciver, and everyone else, Beaumont for me has been England’s best player through the past 5 years, and is now just 3 centuries away from overtaking Charlotte Edwards as England’s leading century-maker, despite having played just 73 ODIs to Edwards’ 191!

I’d still like to see England think a bit more about the future, and bring in some younger batting talent to ease the transition to the next generation a few years hence; but I have to admit, we’ll miss these Old Guns when they’re gone.

7 thoughts on “England v New Zealand 2nd ODI – Old Guns (Go For It)

  1. Oh please, Syd, spare us the Wham allusion. You’re showing your age. As for the targets of your article: are they really all that old? Those of us Aussies who remember the simultaneous retirements of Greg Chappell, Lillee and Marsh all those years ago (albeit a year or so AFTER the Wham song was a hit) well know that such retirements are not a good thing for the team. But Knight is only 30, and Beaumont, Wyatt, Sciver and Jones are all at AT LEAST a year younger than she is. Charlotte Edwards was 36 when she was retired, and Katherine Brunt is already 35 and hasn’t yet retired (or been retired). That suggests the England has at least five years before even the oldest of the team’s present top five will be ready for the pipe and slippers. So there’s plenty of time for the ECB to talent scout for the first of the replacements, who, for all we know, might even still be younger than double figures in age right now.

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  2. Syd – you wrote a great post with great analysis. English Women’s cricket will be doomed if you continue to have the same unchanging squad. I totally disagree with “Aussie Fan”. You don’t sound like an Aussie Fan, but one of the more ‘established’ playing member of the England Women’s cricket team. The England squad is getting older in years, and the younger generation are just not getting the play time that they deserve.

    That is not the only issue here, the word in the camp is that the older “established” ladies in the squad have too much power and influence. We all love Nat and Katherine, but their own relationship adds extra influence on top of the BIG 8 ladies, which may not be conducive to the England team as a whole. We all saw in yesterday’s match when Katherine Brunt bowled a bad ball, and the batter hit to the boundary. Rather than own up, she started to gesticulate with her hands and tried to blame her own fielder. Not only caught by the camera, and the commentator the bad field attitude. Shocking! Katherine, you need to set the field before you bowl. Also Nat Sciver, what an appalling fake dive – you should have chased the ball, not laid down in the ground. How is Lisa Keightley going to change anyone in the old guard? there is too much power given to the 6-8 older ladies. In contrast, you have upcoming Tash Farrant and Issy Wong – they are forced to be sitting in the back? why not bring them into the foreground?

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    • Your not too far off the truth. Not too long ago, Robbo (Mark) had to od the same thing when he came. It was too cliquey and he had to remove Lottie (Edwards) to get things done. Lisa is tougher, so she may be just watching for a while

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    • Interesting thoughts. I saw the thing you mentioned with Brunt and just put it down to her being an angry fast bowler. Ultimately it’s the management’s job to put a stop to anything that might be hurting the squad cohesion and team performances, so hopefully they will act if we see more evidence of what you claim.

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  3. I tend to agree with Aussie Fan. You’re making too much of this age thing Syd. The team aren’t that old yet and especially not the batting line up, when some could go on to their mid or even late thirties. Isn’t it the general aim of team-building anyway to reach your ideal squad and keep them for as long as possible? There’s also potential that some sort of agreement could be reached between players / management to stagger retirements, so they don’t all happen at the same time. Even so, England should have already (and I think will soon have to) introduce a couple of younger bats into the order. Starting in T20 might be the way to go. There are plenty of contenders, some of whom have already had their first cap.

    It’s not like the stable is empty. It can be difficult to predict who will do well at International level, due to the “up-skilling” effect that can occur when certain players receive the right type of coaching that they need. We’ve seen it before with quite a few players, a seemingly sudden leap in ability from “she’s good” to “wow”. I can’t tell if it is that the current generation are particularly talented or this is just what generally happens when professionalism really beds in (or a bit of both).

    With the current system of England contracts, the same group of players have been given a lot of chances – many have taken them right from the start but some have taken a longer time to shine. New players must be given the same opportunities if we are even to attempt to compare them, so we must be patient.

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  5. Since the last ODI world cup England have played 10 ODI series (including this one). All have been 3 match series. Of these 10, one was The Ashes and 7 have been the ICC Women’s Championship. This means that only 2 series (and one of these 2 hasn’t completed yet) have had no external meaning. Both were away from home.

    With so very few matches having no external meaning it is understandable that England have not experimented (ie dropped a player based on their age despite their form warranting their inclusion). Perhaps England need to look at having at least one additional ODI in a series so at least one ODI has no external meaning (especially in home series where players are more easily drafted in and out).

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