England: Players Must Perform or Face the Boot

Alan DobsonContributor ISeptember 24, 2009

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Andrew Strauss of England has a chat with Andy Flower the England coach during the England nets session at the University of Witswatersrand on September 23, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

On the eve of their opening ICC champions trophy match against in-form Sri Lanka the England players must reflect on events of the past few weeks and perform well to have any chance of keeping their place in the side.

England's ODI side have looked to be without any sort of form throughout the seven game series against Australia and Strauss has sent out the rallying call to the team warning them that repeat performances could cost them their England places.

Much pressure has been heaped on the batsmen, particularly the middles order which has failed on almost every occasion. Strauss himself admitted that the batsmen could "do no worse" and that is the feeling of almost everyone who has watched the England ODI side recently. Even when they stumbled to victory against Australia and salvaged a morsel of pride the middle order added less runs than they should have.

England have seemingly overlooked another problem highlighted in that series, their bowling at times never looked like taking a wicket. The England side looks to have bowlers who can perform well in test cricket holding a nice line and probing outside off stump. They do also have bowlers who have enough in their armoury to mix the bowling up at T20 level and restrict runs. But in 50 over cricket you need to take wickets to stifle teams and the England bowling rarely looks like taking wickets.

Obviously the team is trying to fill the void left by the injuries to key players in Flintoff and Pietersen two players who would go a long way to solve the two problems mentioned above but surely the players in the side should be rallying together to overcome problems and show that they are not a side dominated by two players.

So the call to the England side is to perform or lose your place.