Hoggy's View: Lots Of Questions, Not Many Answers From England's Tour Of Sri Lanka

 

James Taylor bats
We now know that James Taylor can bat at the highest level, but what else did we really learn in Sri Lanka?
©REUTERS / Action Images
 

I said before England headed to Sri Lanka that this would be a tough assignment for them, and so it proved. It was always going to be the case going there with an untried team.

There have been a lot of questions asked and not many answers given.

I think James Taylor and Joe Root are exceptions, and it's now clear that James Taylor can score at the highest level.

However, it's quite bizarre that he went from number three to number five after being successful, but it gave Alex Hales more opportunities at the top of the order.

Focussing on the positives, another player who impressed me was Chris Woakes, who I think is a very good all-round cricketer. He is still learning his trade, but he's an exciting prospect.

He can certainly bat, given the tour that he had to Sri Lanka with the Lions, and we saw glimpses of how he can bat especially in the last ODI.

He is an exciting prospect for England who can bowl and bat and is a good fielder.

On the whole though, England's bowling left a lot to be desired, particularly in the early stages when there were a lot of wides bowled and then later on with the death bowling.

I think you can put the wides at the start down to a little bit of rustiness, going over to Sri Lanka after they had had some time off.

However, it's international cricket, your skill sets and skill level have to be very high for the team. They need to be able to hit the yorker or deliver a slower ball, they need to be able to call on each ball and bowl it at will.

I think the delivery and execution of the plans looked poor at times and that hurt England when it really mattered.

We now know the squad for the tri-series in Australia and the World Cup will be announced on Saturday, but I am not expecting any surprises.

I think the majority of the squad will be basically the same as the one that went to Sri Lanka and the only big change would be if Alastair Cook is sacked.

Would I sack him? The question for me is "Who would replace him?"

Eoin Morgan hasn't made the decision easy - if he was scoring runs and everything else he would be a natural successor to Cook, but he's not scoring runs so his position is in jeopardy as well.

Is Alastair Cook the right man to lead England in ODI cricket? I think not.

Is there going to be a change? No.

One area where there will be change in the coming months is Sri Lanka's middle order as they come to terms with the departure of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

This series was a fitting farewell for them both. I've bowled a lot of overs at them - and conceded a few runs as well - but they are two of the nicest, genuine guys you're ever going to meet.

They're still so down to earth despite all their great cricketing achievements.

They will go down as two of the cricket greats.

It will be a massive loss for cricket. It will be tough to fill their boots, but these are exciting times for some young Sri Lankan batsmen now there is a gap.

Matthew Hoggard was talking to John Pennington

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