Friday, 19 October 2012

Englands World Twenty20 campaign

Why did I not care about England performing so badly at the World Twenty20? Normally there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth at an early exit from any tournament, but this time I simply started supporting the West Indies instead.

This apathy came despite the fact that England entered the tournament as defending champions and the top ranked side in the world, so expectations should have been high, but were not. It can’t all be Kevin Pietersen’s fault.

Two years ago England had a game plan. Everyone knew their roles and the carried out their duties to near perfection. England named the same XI in seven of their eight matches, and it would have been all eight had Pietersen not flown home for the birth of his son. In five outings this time around England did not name the same XI in consecutive matches once.

The muddled thinking did not help the team on the pitch, and it upset the fans too. Why did Samit Patel start the first game, take two for six from three overs and then sit out the next three? Craig Kieswetter has opened the batting in the last 16 matches, but was dropped for the must win game against Sri Lanka.

The fact some of the best players in the country are not playing helps little. James Anderson has not played a T20 international since 2009, Matt Prior since 2010. These two are heroes of the Test side and regarded as two of the very best at what they do, but they do not feature at all. Are they being saved for Test cricket, or is Jade Dernbach really a better option? Prior has a strike rate of 146 in 73 domestic T20 innings, we know he can hit the ball.

What does bother me however, is the lack of an explanation. England do not do well on the Subcontinent, we know that, but given their status going into the tournament fans could have expected better than a debacle more resembling the hit and hope thinking associated with the troubled 1990s than the slick operation under Andy Flower.

The combination of all this makes the interest wane. Call me odd, but I want to be disappointed when England lose, yet I was much more upset at the recent Test series defeat to South Africa than the early exit from the World Cup. I enjoy T20, but it struggles to evoke the passion of the Test arena.

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