England's go-slow bowlers have cost captain Eoin Morgan his place in Friday’s World Cup warm-up ODI against Pakistan in Nottingham.
Morgan has been slapped with a one-match ban by the ICC for the slow over rate during Tuesday's ODI in Bristol, where it took the English bowlers a snail-paced four hours to send down their 50 overs — 30 minutes more than the limit.
Since it was the second over-rate offence for Morgan, following a warning against West Indies during a February match in Barbados, it triggered an automatic suspension to go with a 40% match fee fine.
It means Jos Buttler will return to the side as captain after being rested for the six-wicket win, and that Morgan has to wait until the opening World Cup clash with South Africa on May 30 to play his 200th ODI for England.
The absence of spinner Adil Rashid and the lack of overs for Moeen Ali and Joe Denly were the obvious reasons for the lengthy innings, but the lack of discipline from the quicker bowlers to get through their overs must be a concern — especially if it ends up costing Morgan during the tournament itself.
“It felt a bit longer,” admitted Chris Woakes, who claimed 4-67. “We probably were a little bit slow, we could have got through a little bit quicker. But when the ball’s disappearing to the fence, sometimes you need to reassess and take that extra minute to decide what your plan is going to be and execute it. But, it’s too long, it needs to be shorter than that.
“Of course you don’t want to lose the captain, particularly in the form that he’s in. You don’t want him to miss games. We can deal with it. We’ve obviously got some exceptional players on the sidelines but losing Morgs would be a huge loss for a game, so we don’t want that to happen.”
Jonny Bairstow was also handed a demerit point for hitting the stumps in frustration at getting out for 128.
If anyone should have been frustrated though it is the bowlers on both sides who were again pounded into submission by powerful batting, a flat pitch, a small ground and a fast outfield.
With the firm belief that a high-scoring game is a good game, life is hard for the bowlers, but Woakes and co are remaining positive as they try to prove their worth for the World Cup now that Jofra Archer appears to have booked his spot.
“It’s tough being a bowler, there’s no doubt,” added Woakes. “But I think you have to still try to be aggressive as a bowler and have a bit of an aggressive mindset to take wickets.
“The batters have obviously set the benchmark over the last few years, and there’s always been competition for places there, so the arrival of Jofra has done the same for the bowlers. It’s always good to have competition, at international level that’s always going to be the case, so yeah I think it’s been a good thing.”
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