It has been a testing summer for Alastair Cook and the England cricket team, with their Ashes whitewash being followed by series defeat to Sri Lanka and a number of ODI displays leaving a lot to be desired. With the Cricket World Cup just four months away, improvement is needed fast.
Despite their poor form, the ECB selectors seem determined to keep a settled squad and I have a look at the 11 men I believe are likely to start for the Three Lions in their opening match against Australia in Melbourne.
1) Alastair Cook
The 29-year-old has been much maligned for both his performances and captaincy this summer, especially in the ODI arena and has led to calls from former England internationals such as Michael Vaughan and Geoffrey Boycott for him to be dropped. But the fact remains that Cook is one of England's most successful one-day players from the current crop with over 3,000 runs.
2) Alex Hales
An explosive hitter, regarded as one of the brightest prospects in English cricket, Hales is almost certain to start against Australia. He has been exceptional in T20 Cricket for England and after a promising One-Day Cup campaign with Nottinghamshire many have called for him to be a regular in England's ODI set-up. Some good performances Down Under may put him in contention for an Ashes starting spot next summer.
3) Gary Ballance
Despite being left out of the seven-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, the Zimbabwe born batsman has been England stand-out player this summer with some exceptional performances in Test matches against India, he also averages over 50 in domestic one day cricket. His ability to bat through the innings whilst also being able to hit it out of the park will be key for England.
4) Joe Root
Without a doubt England's most promising young batsmen, who has already scored over 3,000 runs for his country across all formats. His versatility to play in several batting positions makes him a certain starter.
5) Eoin Morgan
Many have called for the experienced middle order batsmen to be promoted to captain, especially after leading his country to a T20 win over India this summer, in which he scored 71 off just 31 balls. Even if he does not captain the side, much will be expected of Morgan despite his recent poor ODI form.
6) Moeen Ali
The bearded all-rounder is certainly one to excite. After making his Test debut this summer, where he excelled with the ball, he is likely to be England's front line spinner and will certainly have his work cut out on the pitches in Oz. But the recent ODI series with India showed what he can do with the bat as well.
7) Jos Buttler
One of the most exciting talents in English cricket, still has to improve his glove work but his scintillating 121* of just 74 balls against Sri Lanka shows why he is a certainty to start behind the stumps.
8) Ben Stokes
The Durham all-rounder has had a mixed summer for club and country. So much was expected from Stokes after his stand out performances against Australia, but three ducks in a row against India saw him dropped from the side. However he was one of the stars of the domestic one day competition and was named man of the match in the final.
9) Stuart Broad
Currently out of the England set up because, the tall, quickie from Nottingham will be straight back into the team for the World Cup as one of the teams senior players. Broad currently has 168 ODI wickets and can be pretty useful with the bat too.
10) Steven Finn
Although not quite back to his best yet, the 6' 7" giant showed glimpses of what he could offer in the series against India, and with fast, bouncy pitches, Finn will be suited to what the Australian surfaces provide.
11) James Anderson
Fans favourite Anderson has been a permanent fixture in the England One Day set-up for a while now and the swing bowler is likely to open the bowling with Stuart Broad. With over 700 wickets in all formats for his national side, he still strikes fear into opening batsmen.
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