Just days after they were crowned T20I World Cup champions, England are in action again, this time in the 50 over a side format of the game. They will play the hosts Australia in a three match ODI series, with the points on offer counting towards World Cup qualification next year.
The games will be played in Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne respectively.
Not ideal timing for England
With many of the same players involved as in the World Cup, the timing is not ideal from an England perspective. They have barely had time to celebrate before they have to concrete again.
But with New Zealand and India also resuming hostilities this week, it is now the nature of modern, international cricket.
For top players, the schedule is unrelenting.
There have been 152 previous ODIs between the two countries and Australia have won 84 of them as opposed to 63 for England. There have been two ties and three have ended in a no result.
On home soil, Australia have won 45 times compared to 36 English victories.
The last time they played each other in ODI format was during Australia’s tour of England two years ago, the visitors winning a three-match series by two matches to one.
Australia are a wounded animal
Australia will feel that they have a point to prove after what was a hugely disappointing World Cup for them. They began the tournament as defending champions and the favourites with the bookmakers to win it on home soil.
But they underperformed with bat and ball and failed to make the knock-out stages. They will want to erase that from the memory banks as soon as possible.
One bonus is that their early World Cup exit means that several key players are now available for this series which may not have been the case if they had gone deep into the tournament.
They have a new skipper
Pat Cummins has now assumed the role of ODI skipper alongside his job as test captain. It follows the decision of Aaron Finch to retire from this format of the game because of his lack of runs.
Cummins has made a good start as test captain with six wins fen matches so far, and it is hoped he can have a similar influence on the ODI side.
One man who will not be available is all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who would have expected to have a big role to play in the series. That is because he broke his leg in a freak accident at the weekend. He was at a friend’s 30th birthday party and was running around a tennis court with him when the pair tripped and fell, trapping the cricketer’s leg in the process. He has since had surgery and will be out of action for at least three months.
England batter Jonny Bairstow suffered a similar freak broken leg in September.
Other Australian team news
With Finch now retired, Travis Head will open the batting with David Warner. He has a fine record in ODI cricket in that position, having scored nearly 600 runs in 15 innings at an average of more than 45.
Sean Abbott has been called up to replace Maxwell.
Whilst the England team will contain the nucleus of the side that lifted the World Cup on Sunday, there will be no Ben Stokes, the hero of the hour, because he has now retired from ODI cricket.
One player who is returning is opener Jason Roy, who was dropped from the T20I squad after a poor run of form with the bat in favour of Alex Hales but has been given another chance again to show what he can do in the longer form of the game.
Dawid Malan has been named in the squad, even though he is still struggling with the groin injury that ruled him out of both the World Cup semi-final and final.
Although matches between Australia and England are usually fiercely contested, the timing of this series so soon after the World Cup final is unfortunate and that could have a major impact on the outcome.
Many of the England players will still be celebrating that win and asking them to find the motivation and concentration to go again so soon afterwards is asking a lot.
And with Australia feeling that they have a point to prove, not least to their own fans, they will start as the favourites.
VISIT OUR BLG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES