England's fear factor

Time to move Prior down the order, says Knight

Last updated: 26th January 2011  

It looks like they're saddled a bit with fear again and that's a concern.

Nick Knight
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Nick Knight says euphoria has been replaced by fear as England lost to Australia yet again in one-day cricket.

The Sky Sports pundit believes the excitement of Ashes glory has been long forgotten by Andrew Strauss and his players, who have struggled to match the hosts in the 50-over format.

Knight was speaking after seeing England slump to a four-wicket defeat in the third One-Day International in Sydney and go 3-0 down in the seven-match series.

Strauss knows that his team must avoid defeat in Adelaide on Wednesday to stay in the series, but on the evidence of the first three matches Knight does not feel they have much hope of a turnaround.

"Can they do it? Sat here right now I would say no," he said on Sky Sports News.

"The momentum's all gone away from the Ashes and the euphoria that's surrounded that. They've played pretty poorly actually.

"They should really be 2-1 up I reckon. They should have won the first two games, but they played really poorly here and should have lost.

"So the series should be 2-1 and even Stevens moving forward, but they just don't look like they're playing with the same freedom. That's the worry for me when I watch the team.

"We talk about the renaissance of England's one-day side and it's revolved around Morgan and Strauss at the top of the order, using the power plays and being free with no-fear cricket.

"It looks like they're saddled a bit with fear again and that's a concern."


England's innings got off to the worst possible start when opener Matt Prior was removed by Brett Lee for a second successive duck since his return to the one-day team.

The wicketkeeper-batsman was handed a surprise World Cup call-up ahead of Steven Davies and while Knight feels he merits an inclusion, he does not think he should be opening the batting.

He said: "It'll split the nation opinion-wise. Should he be in the side? Should Steven Davies have missed out? Should he be opening? Should he bat down at number six?

"I think the gut feeling and the hunch from the commentary box here is that they've not really got a problem with him being in the side, it's more whether he should be opening.

"I think the feeling is that now is the time to slip him back down to six or seven, where he plays in the Test match side, and maybe bring Ian Bell or Jonathan Trott up to the top of the order.

"These are issues they'll be discussing in the next couple of days."


Knight says the return of James Anderson will boost the England team in the remaining matches - and says he might be included in the team at Adelaide.

The leading wicket-taker of the Ashes was given a break after the Test series to go home to England and spend time with his new-born daughter.

He has returned to Australia to begin preparations for the World Cup and Knight feels England will want him back in the side as quickly as possible.

"It'll be massive," Knight explained.

"Look at the impact he had in the Ashes series and it's good just to see his face around the place.

"I did ask Andrew Strauss in an interview whether he might play on Wednesday in the next match and he said there's a possibility. They're just going to see how he shapes up and how he rests up.

"I think he got here on Saturday morning, so they'll see how he trains in the nets. He had a good bowl today, so it's a possibility."

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Comments (7)

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Bert Sinclair says...

Why do England persist in the belief that there are special "One Dayers" and leave out form player like Cook? SA have persisted with two so called slow run makers like Amla and Kallis who have proved it is more of advantage to have at least two players capable of carrying their bat..Who are these players England playing in series anyway?

Posted 10:19 26th January 2011

Richard Wooldridge says...

Problem is the batsmen especially KP & Colly keep throwing their wickets away playing stupid shots.

Posted 07:39 26th January 2011

James Williams says...

Re: George Staples, I think you need to pay attention mon. Pietersen's average was around 55 in the Ashes series, including a matchwinning 227; and a mere two innings later in the 1-dayers, his average is a well-acceptable 39 (having top scored for England in the first game if memory serves, with 78). So how on earth does that make him on a 'poor run of form'?! As for Prior, he brings a lot to the team apart from his batting and keeping, being a leader of the team on the field and just about every knowledgeable commentator in the media, including a litany of former England captains (eg Atherton) back him being picked in the small World Cup squad. So what is 'informed' about your opinion that you rate so highly, always opining on these boards and usually ignorantly.

Posted 17:11 25th January 2011

Steve Hollis says...

I certainly agree that Prior should not be opening the batting but I do believe he should be in the side. He would be great coming in at 6 or 7 and he had a fantastic Ashes series. I also think that so much depends on Pieterson's form and right now he is most definately playing forcing shots before he has evan had a look at the bowling. I have no problem with the arrogance with which he bats but good balls deserve respect. This is not 20 overs but 50 and it is difficult to accelerate for 50 for 5!

Posted 12:27 25th January 2011

Dale Quartey says...

I think the comments about Prior are 100% correct.Batting him at six or seven will give England the extra potency they currently lack down the order and will enable them to use the final batting powerplay more effectively (the decision to use it once luke wright was out at Sydney was nothing short of a joke!). With Trott up the order for the world cup we have a play who may not be expansive but we can build an innings around. One win can really change the whole dynamic of the team and let's be honest, if it not be bar one Australian batsman in each of the matches so far, England would probably be 3-0 up in this series. My team (with everyone fit) for the world cup would be 1. Strauss 2. Trott 3. Bell 4. KP 5. Morgan 6. Prior 7. Wright 8. Bresnan 9. Broad 10. Swann. 11. Anderson. The only change would be bringing in the second spinner, which i think should be Rashid (i know he's not in the squad) as by replacing Wright, our batting looks a little thin. And as a side note, fully expect Paul Collingwood to retire after the world cup!

Posted 21:49 24th January 2011

Chris Duckett says...

Hello Nick it appeared to me that the one day matches are a series of games to much for England it looked very much as though they did not want to be there and not only that but with a bowling attack that was so poor the Aussies have been able to easily dominate the first three games. To a certain extent I can understand whats behind fielding a B side because just around the corner is the World Cup so dont risk injuries etc. etc. England have a lot to be proud of so far in the tour of Australia the major one of course retaining the ASHES !!!!

Posted 15:16 24th January 2011

George Staples says...

Yes, some relkevance Nick BUT surely the fear factor has been brought on by the ridiculous selections made by Flower and Strauss. Most people are aware that Prior will never make an opener in any form of cricket, but he's always in the team. Pietrerson is haing a poor run, he will always play - the mysterious injury apart. Woakes is a fill in he's not comfortable at this level. Sort out the selections, pick the form players and leave out the strugglers, abandon this favoured few approach and get real. World Cup is beyond this lot even if we are told that Anderson et al will improve the team. Look at how the Aussies have turned it around, they overcame their fear factor in great style. George Staples

Posted 09:44 24th January 2011

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