Cook Closes in on Swann's Pole Position Following India Series - 28/01/13
England finished their tour of India with a victory in the last ODI sounding a cautious note of optimism for the rest of 2013. A victory in the Test series before Christmas, 1-1 in the T20s and a respectable (albeit losing) score line of 3-2 in the one-dayers, suggests England remain on the right track.
In the race for the winter FTI MVP, Graeme Swann remains in pole position despite resting from the T20s and ODIs. Swann enjoyed a strong World T20 and then an even better Test series, scoring 98 runs and taking 20 wickets in India. Swann, who is also ranked top of the Test FTI MVP, sent down 185.5 overs during the series – the most by an England bowler – 44 of which were maidens. He conceded his runs at 2.66 runs per over and was always a threat on the turning surfaces. Swann is England’s leading players over the last five years, across all forms, and has taken the MVP title on three occasions. He is ahead of Alastair Cook by 22 points, with Steven Finn a further 32 points behind in third.
Cook finished the one-day series as England’s second leading run-scorer, but was unable to produce the heady feats he achieved in the Test series. England’s captain made a couple of 70s, the first of which laid the foundation for victory in the opening ODI in Rajkot. In the Test series, Cook was immense, scoring 562 runs including three hundreds. He took his century tally to 23, the most by an England player in the history of Test cricket, and at times looked impossible to get out. He found his best form in a losing cause in Ahmedabad, and broke Indian hearts with 122 and 190 in Mumbai and Kolkata. His series strike rate of 44 runs per 100 balls is slower than his 53 runs per 100 balls rate, at which he scored 766 runs during the 2010-11 Ashes, where more bounce in the pitches made run-scoring easier. Cook will not play in the three upcoming T20s in New Zealand, but still has the three Tests and three ODIs to make up the gap on Swann.
Steven Finn had another strong ODI series, finishing with seven wickets and an economy rate of under five. He has taken 19 wickets across all forms this winter and could challenge Swann and Cook with a strong tour of New Zealand. However, the leading lights of the ODI series were James Tredwell and Ian Bell. Tredwell was both leading wicket-taker and the most economical of the bowlers used. He was Man of the Match in the opening encounter in Rajkot, taking 4-44, and took a brace in each of the last three matches. Only once was he taken for more than five runs per over. Tredwell has now played 14 ODIs for England, conceding more than six runs per over on just one occasion. He leads the ODI FTI MVP by 10 points.
Bell saved his best performance for the last match, as he did in the Tests. The Warwickshire batsman salvaged his Test series with an unbeaten 116 in Nagpur and was at it again with 113 not out (49.78% of England’s match runs) off 143 balls in Dharamsala after three low scores in previous matches. Bell struck 13 fours and a six when making the only century of the series, racking up 26 points in the process to take him into second place in the ODI FTI MVP and fourth overall. Bell topped the Overall and ODI FTI MVP in the summer, scoring 664 ODI runs at a strike rate of 83 runs per 100 balls, including a hundred and four fifties. In this series, Bell topped the run charts with 234 runs at a strike rate of 75 runs per 100 balls. Cook came in second, with 207 runs at 73 runs per 100 balls, and Joe Root is placed at an impressive third with 201 runs at 81 runs per 100 balls.
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