May 18, 2010

ICC World Twenty20

England's fearless band of brothers

Kanishkaa Balachandran

England's fearless approach after the 14th over of their chase in the World T20 final encapsulated much of what the team created by Andy Flower and led by Collingwood, is about. They play without fear, either of consequence or recrimination. They take responsibility for their actions in the knowledge that their judgment will be respected and that if things do not go according to plan, then another will make sure a situation is rectified, writes Mike Selvey in the Guardian.

Everything to the last detail is monitored and logged: opposition, and individual performances down to wind direction (at Bridgetown they knew that the six‑hitting side was to the Greenidge-Haynes stand), boundary sizes, hitting distances, anything that will help. Flower, a disciple of Moneyball, Michael Lewis's book about the statistics-driven baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, believes that "we are only scratching the surface with cricket stats. They will play an increasing role in how you formulate strategies or pick players."

In the same paper, former England coach Duncan Fletcher is all praise for Collingwood, who he says is successful because of his hard work and tremendous character, despite all that was thrown at him in the past.

Every time I coach young cricketers I use Paul Collingwood as an example of the perfect role model. I have been working in Zimbabwe these past five days, giving batting master-classes to some of their elite squad. After one session I held a Q&A with Kevin Curran, the Under-19 coach, and some of his players. Kevin asked: "When I was in England I just couldn't see Paul Collingwood as much of a player. Why has he become so good?"

In the Times, Richard Hobson wonders if Andrew Strauss' captaincy and position in the one-day team is under threat with the emergence of players like Michael Lumb.

But the selectors may wish to build the side for next year’s World Cup around the successful XI out here. And the substitution of Strauss for Michael Lumb will give a different feel to the top of the order. It is not as simple as swapping one left-hander for another.

In the Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain ponders over the same question about Strauss. He feels No.3 would be the best position, as long as it relieves the pressure off Pietersen in the middle order.

Can he still open following the success of Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb? If England have found a pair who can be productive in Twenty20 power-play overs then surely the same principles apply in 50-over cricket and they should carry on where they left off in Barbados.

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Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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