Following defeat in the first ODI and indeed during England’s immense struggle in chasing down the West Indian total in the second ODI, it was difficult to shake the feeling that this was a pointless ODI series. That merely exacerbated the existing problems that England faced. However, a couple of days and a few overs later, this series has proven to be somewhat of a relief for England.
England have actually won a series. Not only a match. But a series. And during the horror of the Australian Ashes tour, even contemplating such an achievement seemed ludicrous. So that they have actually won one is a psychological barrier that needed to be overcome.
But more than anything, winning, and although it was in a totally insignificant series in a pretty unconvincing fashion, has shown to their fans and to the world that there is life after Kevin Pietersen. There is life after Andy Flower; England can still win cricket matches.
Ali came fourth in England’s series averages, scoring just 109 runs. However, particularly in the 55 he scored in the final ODI, Ali’s technique and aptitude shone through to suggest potential and opportunity that England’s sides in all formats could benefit from. His bowling also offers useful capabilities.
Albeit on a turning pitch, Stephen Parry’s returns in the second ODI offer great promise for the future. England are particularly short in the spin department, and Parry is a young spinner with great promise.
Buttler’s 99 in the final ODI was the icing on the cake in England’s series. After the jettisoning of Kevin Pietersen, England’s middle order in all formats is crying out for some innovation and flair. Buttler offers both in abundance. He is inventive, creative and innovative. His future surely lies in more than simply limited-overs cricket.
Cricket was the biggest loser in this series with three matches with essentially no relevance being played in the same venue on the same pitch. ODI cricket has a place in cricket’s future, but not if it is abused as a television revenue-generating cash cow. It’s a great format—the second match showed that. It’s time it was treated as such.
After Stokes’ amazing Ashes tour, this was a huge disappointment with the Durham all-rounder scoring just nine runs and not taking a single wicket. Stokes obviously offers huge potential to England, but this series perhaps leveled expectations on his young shoulders.
Wright hasn't played much ODI cricket for England for some time, and his inclusion in this particular series can be seen as much as preparation for the Twenty20 series and the World T20 than any kind of recall for him in the 50-over format.
However, that said, Wright’s two poor returns with the bat and the fact that his bowling was unused suggests that any hopes he may have harboured of making a return in a format longer than 20 overs can be hastily ended. Wright is still a useful T20 player, but in the longer 50-over format, the gulf in class between him and his contemporaries is revealed.