England's ODI win over New Zealand confidence boost for Ashes
Last Updated: 23/06/15 12:14pm
England’s dramatic 3-2 series victory over New Zealand will do them ‘a world of good’ ahead of this summer’s Ashes, says Sir Ian Botham.
Eoin Morgan’s side took the honours after successfully chasing a revised target of 192 in 26 overs after the tourists had made 283-9 off their full allocation.
Jonny Bairstow sealed the three-wicket win on the Duckworth-Lewis method by striking an unbeaten 83 less than 24 hours ago after being called up to replace the injured Jos Buttler.
While Morgan and Bairstow are among a number of players unlikely to walk out to take on Australia in the first Test at Cardiff on July 8, Botham told Sky Sports that their contribution to putting the feel-good factor back in English cricket could prove crucial come the battle for the urn.
“Bairstow was absolutely magnificent,” said the former all-rounder. “He’s a talented, talented cricketer. England will have to find a place for him in this set-up. He can keep, he can bat. We’ve got Buttler and Billings so we might have three ‘keepers but if they can all bat it doesn’t matter!
“His shot selection was excellent from the moment he got out there and he took advantage of any sort of width. I thought Sam Billings played very, very well too as did Rashid at the end.
“It just shows you the depth of the England side at the moment and the confidence that is going through that team. England were favourites to win that game once Duckworth-Lewis came in; they just got it horribly wrong at the top of the innings.
“They should have won the game and they did; they made it a little difficult for themselves but they won it in style in the end. Congratulations to them.
“I, for one, thought New Zealand would win the series – they’ve been playing good one-day cricket for some time now – and I’m delighted that I’m wrong. There are a lot of things that have come out of this series and the Test series that will stand England in good stead.
“With Australia in the country now, the confidence they gain from this will do them the world of good for the Ashes. Australia will try to bully England but this side will stand out and show character.
“Australia will be tough but New Zealand have been magnificent. The series has provided magnificent entertainment. Whether it was the Test or the ODI series, no one can say they haven’t enjoyed having New Zealand here and I hope it isn’t too long until we play them again.”
England’s success marks a dramatic turnaround in fortunes following their early exit at the World Cup earlier this year and Botham paid tribute to coach Paul Farbrace and captain Eoin Morgan for instilling a more attacking, positive attitude into the team.
“From the start of the summer we’ve had new management at the top, new attitudes and new thought patterns,” he said.
“The guys that have come in have been told to express themselves on the field and they’ve done that.
“They all know how important it is to stand your own ground. If one guy falls, then so be it and another one will take up the mantle.”
Make sure you join us for coverage of the first and only Twenty20 international between England and New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday from 6pm on Sky Sports 2.