England, South Africa abandon ODI series finale due to heavy rain

The home ODI series decider between England and South Africa was abandoned due to heavy rain at Headingley. This three-match series ended in a 1-1 draw. England has again missed the chance to win an ODI series at home since 2014.

England captain Jos Buttler expressed his disappointment after the match.

“It was a big shame that the match was washed out,” Buttler said. “The series was set up at 1-1 and it would have been great to get a game in.”

The series finale would have given Buttler his first ODI series win as an England captain after replacing Eoin Morgan.

The series finale was without all-rounder Ben Stokes, who announced retirement from the ODI category earlier this month after the first match against South Africa.

The opponent won the first match of the series by 62 runs. England managed to catch up in the second match at Old Trafford, leading by 118 runs.

The third match started nicely with South Africa winning the toss and choosing to bat first. The opponent led the match, with Quinton de Kock earning run after run. The South African cricketer scored 92 runs off 76 balls, almost beating this century’s record. Meanwhile, the England team only managed to steal a single wicket. The downpour stopped the match at 27.4 overs.

Buttler said his team did not show their best performance in the match.

“I said to the guys that we didn’t have quite the same intensity and energy as we did when we won at Old Trafford on Friday,” he said.

Packed schedule and a lack of training

According to Buttler, lack of training sessions had become a significant problem for the team. In the span of 24 days, the England team participated in nine white-ball matches. During that period, they only managed to squeeze in one training session. They use the non-playing days to travel between venues. All teams playing international cricket also face the same packed schedule.

The unsustainability of the international cricket schedule was also what drove Stokes to announce early retirement from the ODI category.

“Not only do I feel that my body is letting me down because of the schedule and what is expected of us,” Stokes said, “but I also feel that I am taking the place of another player who can give Jos and the rest of the team their all.”

Training sessions enable players to solve technical issues without the scrutiny of the media and audience. It also allows captains to get to know their squad better to form a more cohesive strategy.

“There’s no getting past the fact that the schedule does make it tough,” Buttler told the reporters. “We don’t have any training days. They are really important for cohesion, doing things like fielding drills without the pressure of a game.”

Buttler explained that the team must train on a regular basis to improve their playing standard. It became especially important after Morgan and Stokes left the formation.

“The way we want to play is the right way but we haven’t quite achieved that consistently,” Buttler said. “We’ve not lived up to the standards we know we can. It’s a learning curve for us.”

On Wednesday, England will go against South Africa again, this time in a T20I series. There will not be another ODI series for England until after the T20 World Cup this year. In November, the team will play against Australia.

Author: Ronald Butler