England's drunks are hanging on to a World Cup lamp-post

I understand that England cricket coach Peter Moores likes using statistics to plot the downfall of his opponents. Based on the success of this at the 2015 World Cup so far, I fear he may be following the classic support-rather-than-illumination dictum.

Choose your numbers carefully (from Wikimedia Commons).

Here are some alternative statistical arguments for Mr Moores to consider.

Imagine a Hales-storm
Imagine if you had the ICC-ranked third-best Twenty20 batsman in the world in your squad who could give a thrillingly dynamic impetus to the start of your innings. You know, someone who is currently classed as a better limited-overs run-scorer than Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and David Warner? Just imagine.

Imagine a meaningful warm-up
Imagine if, just before the World Cup, you'd played an ODI series against one of the key rivals in your group. Imagine that - even though you'd lost that series - you were able to look at which players had performed well, and know that statistically your best batsmen (by average) were Joe Root and James Taylor and (by strike rate) Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler. Imagine also knowing that your best bowlers (by average) were Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan, and (by economy rate) James Tredwell and Moeen Ali. Perhaps you could then make sure all those players were then in the team for the World Cup match with that very team?

Imagine dropping a time-waster
In this World Cup, Ian Bell has a batting average of 36.75, which looks decent. It is not. In four innings, Bell has faced 201 balls. He has managed to score off just 88 of those, accumulating an astonishing 18.5 overs' worth of dot balls. He has done it like this:

27 dot balls v Australia. Out for 36 off 45 balls (Strike Rate = 80.00)
12 dot balls v New Zealand. Out for 8 off 17 balls (SR = 47.05)
46 dot balls v Scotland. Out for 54 off 85 balls (SR = 63.52)
28 dot balls vs Sri Lanka. Out for 49 off 54 balls. (SR = 90.74)

113 dot balls in total. 147 runs, 4 dismissals. (SR = 73.13)

Scoring nothing off more than 56% of deliveries you face is to be expected from a tail-ender. Getting three starts and no big scores is to be expected from a novice batsman. It is not forgivable from an opener with the most ODI runs for his country. Bell should be dropped, and (childishly) I propose using the hashtag #BellEnd to promote this notion.

Imagine recalling a South African
If you must recall a South African-born England batsman with an enviable ODI record, it's not Kevin Pietersen you should be talking about, it's Jonathan Trott. His ODI batting average is a staggering TEN RUNS better than anyone else who has ever played for England and though his strike rate isn't amazing, it's still better than Ian Bell's. In the current malaise, it's very odd that almost no-one is even mentioning him.

Imagine dropping senior players who don't perform
I'm prepared to excuse Gary Ballance. To throw him straight into the number 3 slot after a 5-month period of not playing any ODIs was a ridiculous decision by the management team. As explained above, I'm not prepared to excuse Ian Bell. I'm also not prepared to excuse Stuart Broad or James Anderson. If you're going to rest senior players before the World Cup, they've then got to deliver when they come back into the team. If they don't score runs briskly enough, don't take wickets, or don't keep the run rate down, seniority should count for nothing. Someone younger and more promising should be called up instead.

Imagine this team
This would be my XI for the next two World Cup matches: Moeen Ali, Alex Hales, James Taylor, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, James Tredwell, Steve Finn. However, I actually hope England don't change their team at all. I hope they keep the same XI, and lose to both Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Then Peter Moores can enjoy a genuinely statistically significant achievement: becoming the first England coach to be dismissed twice.

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