Final ODI selection

England finish their tour of India today/tomorrow with a dead rubber ODI. After winning the Test series in December the tour is unquestionably a success and down 1-3 in the ODI series there is really nothing for which to play in this last match. England can’t even really use it to prepare for the future; they don’t play another ODI in the subcontinent until November of 2014 when they go to Sri Lanka and there are no ODI tournaments in the subcontinent on the Future Tours Programme.

But that’s not to say that England have nothing to lose. Whilst they would no doubt like to win it is important that they not pick up any injuries. The Ashes are still some way off, but there are Tests in New Zealand beginning in just over a month and there is no need to risk someone missing out on those for the benefit of an ODI and especially a dead rubber.

England have done a good job of resting players for the series as a whole, but now with the series effectively over they should look at going a step further. Alastair Cook has played in every match except the T20s on the tour to India and he is due to lead the side against New Zealand just a few weeks after the end of this series. Although he is the captain, the last thing we need is for him to start feeling burnout and I’d like to see him rested. Steven Finn too ought to rest, especially after the injuries that kept him out of three of the Tests in India. Ian Bell can lead the side in Cook and Broad’s absence; he, Kevin Pietersen and Joe Root are the only two of the main Test side I would play. In Bell’s case, he is not in the T20 squad so will have a bit of a break before the ODIs start and unlike Cook has not had to deal with the day-to-day burden of captaincy. Pietersen will be rested for the pyjama portion of the New Zealand tour and whilst it would not be a terrible idea to rest him it isn’t necessary. Root also could be rested, but didn’t play in most of the matches on this tour so shouldn’t need to be.

It would leave a very weak side on the whole, but it doesn’t matter a jot if England lose the series 2-3 or 1-4. The Tests are won and what is important now are the Tests against New Zealand and Australia.

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