May 18, 2010

Mike Holmans

The quiet satisfaction in England's win

Mike Holmans


At last, England has left the club of never-won-anythings © Getty Images
Enlarge
 

I had expected to get more excited when England won the World Twenty20, but as it was all I felt was a mildly warm glow. I don't think it was because it was “only Twenty20”, though, but because the final was so undramatic.

I punched the air and cheered as the first three Australian wickets went down, but from then on the match took on a peculiar inevitability. Australia never looked like getting a really challenging total, and when England had got through the Powerplay with only one down, it never really looked as though they would not get there. It was a thoroughly efficient and professional performance, the proverbial but run-of-the-mill good day at the office. But without the tension of will-they-won't-they permeating the match, there was no explosion of relief and joy as they got over the line, just quiet satisfaction.

A world title is a world title, though, and at last, we have left the club of never-won-anythings to join South Africa, India and New Zealand in the haven't-won-muches.

If a single player had to win the Player of the Tournament, then Kevin Pietersen was a good choice. His most un-English characteristic is a love of praise and adulation; most Brits at least affect humility and embarrassment when showered with praise, but KP positively radiates joy. Unlike a lot of people, the best way to motivate him is to tell him how brilliant he is: he is not a man to rest on his laurels but to eat them for nourishment. And as several people from various squads and fan-bases have said, it is excellent for world cricket that KP is back on song, since he provides some of today's most compelling spectacle in any form of cricket.

But if the rules had allowed it, I would not have given him the award. The real engine of England's success was the five-man bowling attack who bowled all but about three overs of the team's entire campaign.

Each of them had a game where they were the pick of the unit and, with the possible exception of Graeme Swann, they each had a game where they did not do quite as well as the others, but as a whole they were fantastically consistent. No team ever looked like taking the bowling apart and launching themselves into the stratosphere, whether they were batting first or chasing whatever target England had set. There was variety in pace and angle, but what was truly impressive was their quick assessment of how to bowl to the conditions and the specific batsman and execute their plan with aplomb.

Of course, that has always been England's strength in limited-overs cricket: the team's lack of success over decades has been because the batting was not adventurous enough,not because the bowling was particularly inadequate. The volume of limited-overs cricket on the county circuit means that most bowlers have a pretty good idea of how to bowl to keep the runs down, in which most county batsmen cheerfully acquiesce – and that acquiescence has shaped the feeble batting at international level.

Triumph whets the appetite for more, so speculation has already begun about what this means for the future of Andrew Strauss in the 50-over side, of which he is still nominally captain and whether England will retain the Ashes, but to me those are issues to be thought about later. Now, we can say that England are the best international Twenty20 side and start laughing at someone else.

RSS Feeds: Mike Holmans

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by asis rout on (June 10, 2010, 13:37 GMT)

"its typical of a pom to start celebrating early"perhaps i should have suggested a huge number of poms with Steven Finn being compared to Glenn Mcgrath by Michael Vaughan .Its as ridiculous as it gets.

Posted by arfan on (June 7, 2010, 11:47 GMT)

whoever said that pakistan should be on the list of not winning much doesnt know the facts because, pakistan are equal with australia with 6 wins in tournaments consisting of 5 or more teams and india have only won five so pakistan shouldn't be on the list

Posted by arthur on (May 28, 2010, 22:35 GMT)

the satisfaction of England's win ,what a way to put it ,when got over the line and won the world cup satisfied me with great delight and a relieve with hope and high expectation.

Posted by Matt on (May 21, 2010, 9:15 GMT)

'typical of a pom to start celebrating early'... Where's the celebration? It read more like relief to me. Calm down, enjoy it, don't read so much into an article that is about English, not Indian cricket - give us a little leeway to talk ourselves up, eh?

Posted by Asif Rathod on (May 21, 2010, 7:28 GMT)

It's true, Final was tad boring. England's victory wasn't that enjoyable. But other hand, it shows how dominant England was in this tournament. They bit all the sides, convincingly. Aussies come in to the Final after almost lost semi-final against Pak. But England played like champions in this whole tournament. Enjoy it guys!!!

Posted by Venkat Bhatti on (May 20, 2010, 18:08 GMT)

Congratulations, England. Interesting to note that most of the T20 bowlers deployed by England are part of the Test team, too. This is unlike the Aussies, with only Johnson or India with Zaheer from their Test setup.

Posted by saurabh on (May 20, 2010, 10:31 GMT)

Mike- Dear Mike, Just like the uncle I had visiting me over summer holidays and fumbling his way through statistics. Why raise a point when you do not have data to back yourself :)

India has won more than England, SA, NZ in cricketing competitions which consist of more than 4 nations, if you want proof then check out cricinfo's article on the same Link is here - http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/460025.html Eng, NZ, SA are at the bottom

Australia 1975-2010 23 6 10 14 8 Nov 1987 5 Oct 2009

Pakistan 1975-2010 25 6 9 16 18 Apr 1986 21 Jun 2009

India 1975-2010 26 5 11 13 25 Jun 1983 24 Sep 2007

Sri Lanka 1975-2010 26 4 6 10 17 Mar 1996 6 Jul 2008

West Indies 1975-2010 21 3 8 11 21 Jun 1975 25 Sep 2004

Ireland 2007-2010 7 2 3 1 5 Aug 2008 19 Apr 2009

England 1975-2010 20 1 5 9 16 May 2010 16 May 2010

New Zealand 1975-2010 22 1 2 13 15 Oct 2000 15 Oct 2000

South Africa 1992-2010 15 1 1 9 1 Nov 1998 1 Nov 1998

Posted by TM on (May 20, 2010, 5:45 GMT)

@ Ashwin Raj: Did you even read what you wrote? 'mar their great feats'!!!!

And India, much as we would want otherwise, is an ordinary team.

Posted by Mohan on (May 20, 2010, 3:21 GMT)

"Mike: That's one world cup, one world T20 and one joint champions tophy in ICC terms. That's not a lot."

Pak: one WC, one World T20, no Champions Trophy. SL: one WC, one joint Champions Trophy shared, no World T20.

Those are the teams you should have included in that list of "not won muches" before including India.

Posted by Gizza on (May 20, 2010, 1:50 GMT)

Mike, I don't think Indian fans are overreacting to your haven't won muches comment. India have won 2.5 ICC tournaments. Pakistan have won 2. Sri Lanka have won 1.5. Australia of course has won 5 so they're far ahead. The Windies have won 3 too. But NZ, England and South Africa have all won 1.

Comments have now been closed for this article