Backing Australia to win the First One Day International and take out the best-of-five-match series are the best bets ahead of its latest round of clashes versus England.
England has not only made wholesale changes to its squad for the One Day International series that gets under way at Headingley in Leeds on Friday 6 September 2013 but also history suggests that having won the recent Ashes series means that it should be the limited-overs underdog.
Mindful of burning out some of its star players ahead of the Ashes rematch in Australia that will start in just a couple of months from now, England has chosen to rest several big names, including captain Alistair Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann. England coach Andy Flower is the man behind the strategy that has attracted criticism from the likes of Michael Vaughan. The former England skipper believes that Flower’s call have devalued the One Day International series and ripped off fans who have forked out lots of money to buy tickets to games.
Flower does not give a hoot as to what Vaughan thinks. The Ashes is the main game and Flowers knows that it will not be easy to retain the urn in Australia. England was the better side over the course of its five home Test matches but 3-0 was a flattering scoreline in favour of the Poms because Australia was unlucky at Trent Bridge, Old Trafford and The Oval. Only at Lord’s did England triumph emphatically.
It is worth reviewing the results of the post-Ashes One Day International series since England became a serious threat to Australia again. In 2005, England won the Ashes for the first time in the best part of two decades but the Poms lost the subsequent One Day International series 3-2 with one tie and one abandoned game. In 2007, Australia regained the Ashes by winning every Test match but the Australians lost the One Day International series that followed the Tests, going down 0-2 to England in the best-of-three-game final of the three-team tournament. In 2009, England won back the Ashes but crashed to a 1-6 loss in the subsequent One Day International series. And in 2011, England won an Ashes competition in Australia for the first time since 1987 before succumbing to another 1-6 reverse in the One Day International series. Clearly, winning the Ashes is a negative in terms of winning the One Day International series and understandably so because the former is more important than the latter. Even the most ardent cricket supporters struggle to remember the results of One Day International matches. Ashes games are another matter.
Follow the trend and back Australia to come out on top of England in the One Day International series. Australia is trading at odds of 1.80 with Coral to win the First One Day International at Headingley and the Australians are the same odds with most bookmakers to take out the series. Betting on the One Day International series score is unappealing because weather may force the abandonment of a match or two. It is not worth the bother.
In terms of One Day International exotics, James Tredwell is the pick of the bunch at odds of 4.00 with Stan James to be England’s top wicket taker in the series. Tredwell is a One Day International specialist and, while he is not in Swann’s class, he does merit his place in the home side’s squad. What appeals about Tredwell is that he is the main spinner in England’s party, plus he has an excellent One Day International record. Tredwell has taken 32 wickets in his 20 One Day International appearances at an average of 23.28 runs. They are mighty fine numbers when one considers that Tredwell did not take a wicket in any of his first three One Day International games. Also, currently Tredwell is the only England bowler in One Day International history to take at least 20 wickets at a strike-rate of less than 30 balls. With the honourable exception of Michael Clarke, most of Australia’s batsmen are poor against spinners so back Tredwell to justify top England bowler favouritism.