Cricket: England Should Still Be Concerned, Even After ODI Whitewash of Pakistan

Adam MacDonaldAnalyst IIFebruary 22, 2012

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 18:  Kevin Pietersen of England celebrates reaching his century during the 3rd One Day International between Pakistan and England at Dubai International Stadium on February 18, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Everyone is saying good things about English cricket today. Yesterday, Kevin Pietersen clubbed his highest-ever ODI score and led England to a 4-0 sweep of their series against Pakistan.

Just a week after losing all three matches of the Test series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this was a very different team. Their bowling was consistent and their batting, which had been as threatening as a stuffed animal in the Tests, was very impressive.

Remember, this was an ODI team that lost 11 of their last 13 matches heading into this series. It was a shameful run of form, capped by a humiliating whitewash in India in October. The Test success followed by ODI failure was so frequent that it almost became comical.

So, why was it then that the No. 1-ranked Test team was dismantled by Pakistan and the pathetically faltering one-day side crushed them in revenge?

Unfortunately for England fans, the answer should won't put their minds at ease. Alastair Cook put up scores of 137, 102 and 80. Kevin Pietersen had knocks of 111 not out and 130. Even Ravi Bopara had a couple of half-centuries. This was a series of star performances and it's very dangerous to rely on them.

Can you really count on Alastair Cook? This is a man who many still think shouldn't even be on the team. His limited-overs form is poor. This was the first time he had posted back-to-back centuries and the first time he had put up more than 50 in three straight innings.

You can rely much more on Kevin Pietersen, despite his occasional bone-headed moment. When he's good, he's spectacular, but when he gets himself out for a duck, you're hardly surprised.

England got a big performance from someone in each game in this series. If Kevin Pietersen had made one bad shot, they'd have lost a match. The 4-0 sweep looks great on paper and it will go a long way to restoring the side's confidence. It shouldn't restore fans' confidence in the side, though.