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Alice Capsey’s role and Amy Jones’s form: Key talking points from England’s ODI series win

England celebrate their 2-1 series win/Alice Capsey's role and Amy Jones's form: Key talking points from England's ODI series win

An unbeaten century from Sophie Devine denied England a clean sweep in their one-day international series against New Zealand and Heather Knight admits there is plenty for her team to work on.

Captain Devine finished with 100 off 93 balls as New Zealand secured a seven-wicket win but England still took the series 2-1.

“We’ve probably not been at our best in this ODI series if we’re being honest,” said England captain Knight. “We’ve struggled a little bit with tempo, particularly as a batting group, having not played a huge amount of ODIs. It is a really good thing for us to work on as a group.”

It is a sign of a good team to win when not at their best, and with a T20 World Cup later this year, ODI cricket has slipped down the pecking order of importance for every team (England only played five one-day matches in 2023).

The questions for England in ODI cricket centre around how to extract the best of a batting order brimming with talent but often boasting numbers that do not reflect its quality.

Career high for Amy Jones

Jones may be approaching almost 200 matches for England across all formats, there is still an element of ‘what if’ surrounding her career. Exceptionally talented, but boasting an average the wrong side of 30 in both ODIs and T20s, she entered this series off the back of five single-figure scores in a row.

However, the break between the T20 and ODI series gave the wicketkeeper a chance to reflect on her game and a week later she had produced a player-of-the-series performance making scores of 92 not out, 48 and 50.

Amy Jones scored 106 more runs than any other England batter in the series
Amy Jones scored 106 more runs than any other England batter in the series - Getty Images/Michael Bradley

Her 92 not out in the first ODI was the best innings of her England career to date as she carried England from the depths of 79 for 6 to put on a record-breaking and match-winning seventh wicket partnership of 130 with Charlie Dean. It was the innings that fans of Jones have been waiting for and one that head coach Jon Lewis will hope acts as a launchpad for the next stage of her career.

What is Alice Capsey’s best role?

Injured for the final ODI, Capsey batted at No 5 in the opening two fixtures making scores of six and zero. Albeit a small sample size, it meant the 19-year-old’s record at No 5 across the four ODIs she has played there reads 13 runs at an average of 3.25.

Everyone in white-ball cricket wants to bat at the top of the order, where runs are easier to come by with the ball still hard and fielding restrictions meaning just two fielders are allowed on the boundary. In this regard, Capsey is just another name in a long list of players who would like a go in the top three.

But Capsey is not just another name. Arguably the brightest talent in English cricket, England will want to find out as quickly as possible how to best allow her to develop.

The selection conundrum is effectively who partners Tammy Beaumont at the top of the order as neither her nor Knight at No 3 are moving anywhere. Maia Bouchier, who performed so well in the T20 series, once again showed her ability with scores of 31, 20 and 19 but failed to convert any of those starts into match-defining scores.

Alice Capsey is arguably the brightest talent in English cricket
Alice Capsey is arguably the brightest talent in English cricket - Getty Images/Hagen Hopkins

There is no easy answer and many would consider having the likes of Capsey and Danni Wyatt waiting in the wings as England try to cram three-into-one as a luxury rather than a problem. The six ODIs against Pakistan and New Zealand in the coming months will provide an opportunity to get closer to finding a solution as they build slowly towards the World Cup in India in 2025.

Charlie Dean shows promise with the bat

Could Dean bat higher? A career ODI average of 19.71 suggests reason for caution, but in the last 18 months that average is 30.28.

In New Zealand, Dean played a crucial hand in the opening ODI to make 42 not out and contribute to a match-winning 130-run, seventh-wicket partnership with Jones to give England a borderline miraculous win. Then in the final ODI, on a tricky wicket, she made 38 when arriving at the crease at 95 for six.

Highly rated in the England set-up and known for her mental strength and clarity in pressure situations, the 23-year-old has already captained England A and is an increasingly vital part of the international set-up. The question England have to confront is a tantalising one. Is Dean a safety net to have at No 8 and should be kept where she is? Or can they move her higher up the order?

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