Andy Flower praises Tim Bresnan's development
Andy Flower, the England coach, has singled out Tim Bresnan as one of the major successes from the tour of Bangladesh which finished on Wednesday with the visitors securing a 2-0 victory in the Test series to follow their one-day whitewash.
However, the Tests were much tougher than the final margins of 181 runs and nine wickets suggest with England having to toil hard for their rewards on two very docile surfaces at Chittagong and Dhaka. They also had a weakened attack without James Anderson, Graham Onions and Ryan Sidebottom but Bresnan, who wasn't in the original Test squad, took his chance, emerging as the leading paceman and also contributed a vital 91 at Dhaka.
"Tim Bresnan wasn't originally selected in the Test party but with the opportunity given to him by the injury to Ryan Sidebottom, and after his performances in the one-day series, he sort of leapfrogged his way into the side," Flower told reporters before the team left Dhaka. "He performed superbly and I think he was the standout seamer in the Test series and probably the one-dayers too."
The most impressive aspect of his display with the ball was the reverse swing he obtained and he also produced the ball of the series to remove Tamim Iqbal in the first Test.
"He reverse swung the ball both ways, he was controlled and accurate, bowled a heavy bouncer and was strong enough to keep going for long periods of time," Flower said. "I thought our players held strong in some trying conditions weather-wise and on some very flat pitches."
But while Bresnan took much of Flower's praise he also commended his attack at managing to dismiss Bangladesh twice - not the simple task it used to be. With Steven Finn making his debut in the first Test and Stuart Broad the senior man it was one of most inexperienced England attacks of recent times.
"To get 40 wickets in the series was a very good effort and we've seen some good cricket as well as excellent individual performances," Flower said. "Our guys needed a lot of discipline on these surfaces."
"Both the grounds had very flat pitches and it was hard to accelerate the game. But there was some hard, disciplined work with ball in hand. The experience gained from having to bowl reverse swing and learning about the different fields that are necessary when you are doing that will be very valuable in the future.
"We had a very young bowling attack, a young captain and a young side and this experience will be invaluable."
The bowling attack was marshalled by Alastair Cook on his first tour as captain. Flower was impressed with how he responded to the challenge and developed during the series while maintaining his batting form with scores of 173 and an unbeaten 109.
"Alastair has handled himself very well on this tour," Flower said. "He's grown every day and his batting has thrived with the extra responsibility. Some captains seem to respond to that. I think he feels a little more comfortable in the role now too. He's loved the experience, loved the challenge and it was a great opportunity to see him in that role."
Cook, though, won't be part of England's next assignment which is the World Twenty20 in West Indies having been left out of the preliminary 30-man squad. The final 15 will be named next Tuesday and the tournament starts on April 30 with England's opening match, against West Indies, on May 3.