Originally Posted by stevieh
Okay, let me have a try at expanding on those aspects. I'll start off with the core.
By defining a core of the team, we mean identifying players who possess the essential qualities needed for the ODI team and squad, both in terms of proven performances and the demands of the modern game. By starting off with those players, the identity of the England ODI team will be defined and the skills and attitudes of those team members will be expected to rub off on the others drafted into the squad and the eleven.
Negative examples of this prior to the last World Cup were Cook, great test batsman that he is, as the captain in the run up. He didn't have the fundamental skills needed for ODIs to lead from the front. Bell also fits into that category, in my view. Senior member of the team, but not the quintessential ODI batsman who will set the tone and direction for the up and coming members of the squad. So then, Cook and Bell are examples of the kind of player you do not want to form the core, even though they are great servants of England cricket.
I agree with you that Cook and Bell are best left out of the ODI team, if that's what you're saying in the last paragraph. But I can't see that categorising certain players to yourself as core players could have the effect that you outline here. In practice, unless you wish for the ECB to make some announcement labelling certain players as core players in the meantime, there's going to be a selection meeting before every ODI series, and a squad will be announced, and then when the team is chosen on the day everyone is in principle as core as everyone else, and the differentiation of one player from another is as performed by the scorecard, i.e. in terms of batting and bowling order. The place for your concept of "core" to make a difference is presumably only in the selection meeting; and there I am not so sure how it would work. Some roles and some players will receive more discussion than others in such a meeting, but that will depend on a variety of factors, only one of which -- and probably a comparatively minor one -- will be some grand new vision devised in the abstract after being walloped in the last world cup. It would seem a bit superfluous for the selectors to try explicitly to agree amongst themselves about who is going to constitute the core of their team, since on the face of it they have enough work on their hands choosing a XII or a XV or whatever the squad may require. And I can't see how picking Stokes, Buttler and Root before
the rest of the team, in the selection meeting behind closed doors, would make any difference to the team as a whole. We simply don't know in what order the selectors pick the team, and it doesn't matter; and I can't see that there's anywhere else for your notion of "starting off" with certain players rather than others to be embodied. The openers come out to bat first, but they're not necessarily the so-called "core" players; and the whole team at once come out to field. You're surely not proposing to instruct the squad as a whole that they have to follow the example of Buttler, Root, and Stokes -- for then what if all those three play like melons for several games on the trot? In practice, the tone is set by different people in different games, or in different phases of the same game. I think there is a place for the kind of role that you've sketched; but it's located in the form of the captain who leads by example. And we all know the perennial problems attendant on that singling out of one player: his form goes up and down, he gets blamed when the team lose, he worries too much, etc. etc. In practice, the team have to find inspiration from each other if they possibly can; but there's no reliable way of legislating in advance how that will work.