Mike Holmans May 18, 2010

The quiet satisfaction in England's win

If the rules had allowed it, I would not have given KP the award
16


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

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • asis rout on June 10, 2010, 12:37 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.

  • arfan on June 7, 2010, 10:47 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

  • arthur on May 28, 2010, 21:35 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.

  • Matt on May 21, 2010, 8:15 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?

  • Asif Rathod on May 21, 2010, 6:28 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!!!

  • Venkat Bhatti on May 20, 2010, 17:08 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.

  • saurabh on May 20, 2010, 9:31 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

  • TM on May 20, 2010, 4:45 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.

  • Mohan on May 20, 2010, 2:21 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.

  • Gizza on May 20, 2010, 0:50 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.

  • asis rout on June 10, 2010, 12:37 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.

  • arfan on June 7, 2010, 10:47 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

  • arthur on May 28, 2010, 21:35 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.

  • Matt on May 21, 2010, 8:15 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?

  • Asif Rathod on May 21, 2010, 6:28 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!!!

  • Venkat Bhatti on May 20, 2010, 17:08 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.

  • saurabh on May 20, 2010, 9:31 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

  • TM on May 20, 2010, 4:45 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.

  • Mohan on May 20, 2010, 2:21 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.

  • Gizza on May 20, 2010, 0:50 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.

  • Akash on May 19, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    FYI, England have won ONE ICC tournament, South africa ONE, and New Zealand ONE! India, as you said yourself in reply to Ashwin's comment, have won 2.5 (considering half a Champions' Trophy!!) And you say England have joined India in the haven't-won-muches?? Come on mate, database consultants are supposed to be intelligent, aren't they?

    Congratulations to England though. They were brilliant in the tournament, but dare I say, one win doesn't make up for 35 years of limited-over ineptitude!

  • Mani on May 19, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    So except australia, what other teams have won more ICC events than india? Westindies are the only equals with 2 world cups and a champions trophy....

  • asis rout on May 19, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    Lets see how much this team has in it to win the ashes in Australia.Remember last time they went to Australia.as Warne said it will have no bearing on the ashes.Typical of a pom to start celebrating early.It will take some performance to match the Aussies in their own backyard.

  • Bharath Rajeswaran on May 19, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Nice reply to Ashwin. Drew with Aussies in Australia when the big ones were injured. The rain in Lords made them win the series in England 2 years back. While India is a good team, it doesn't have much wins. Too very boasting fans and a selfish board. And the article is about an England win. Why the first comment was about india. God knows why this obsession. Great win Poms. Kill 'em all in Ashes. In hard tracks one 150 kmph fast bowler would do fine. Bring a 2005 style simon jones or steve harmison kinda bowler to Ashes and kill them...World Cricket needs a new leader.

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    Mike, as an unabashed Indian supporter who long failed the Tebbit test (despite an English wife and kids), I am afraid I fully agree with Ashwin above. You must get your facts right, the world cup was indeed 1983 (eons ago), however this was quickly matched by a World Championship held down under in 1985 (a Victorian Cricket Association bicentnial event), followed by two WC semis ('87 and '96 respectively) and a final in 2003. And yes, the micky mouse T20 WC 2007! England certainly played well and thoroughly deserved to win;however the fact is that they have a long way to go before even hoping to join the real contenders at the top. Before we get too cocky, have we forgotten the 5-0 drubbing last time we were down under! In my world, both England and India can comfortably co exist, however at present England would need to up its game pretty substantially before it could even hope to be in the top 3. Winning convincingly in India would be a prerequisite. Or even beat it at home!

  • Ashwin Raj on May 19, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Join India in the group of haven't-won-muches ??? Another typical example of anglo-saxon bull headedness, probably brought on by seeing the young Indian upstarts struggle against the short stuff - this time not even bothering to get the facts right. India have won a World cup, a world championship of cricket, a world T-20, were joint winners of an ICC champions trophy, the hero cup 5-nation trophy (1993), singer cup (4-nation trophy 1994) and sundry other triangular competitions , importantly the Natwest Trophy (2002) and the CB series (07/08). this in addition to winning test series' all over the world in the last 10 years, xcepting Aus & S.A (where they've tied and lost very closely contested series'). Now, I enjoyed England's title triumph and have always found them an engaging team to watch, but to suggest that they've joined India is nothing but an attempt to , albeit subtly, slight India's achievements and mar their great feats.

    Here's to Eng for the ashes though !!

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

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  • Ashwin Raj on May 19, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Join India in the group of haven't-won-muches ??? Another typical example of anglo-saxon bull headedness, probably brought on by seeing the young Indian upstarts struggle against the short stuff - this time not even bothering to get the facts right. India have won a World cup, a world championship of cricket, a world T-20, were joint winners of an ICC champions trophy, the hero cup 5-nation trophy (1993), singer cup (4-nation trophy 1994) and sundry other triangular competitions , importantly the Natwest Trophy (2002) and the CB series (07/08). this in addition to winning test series' all over the world in the last 10 years, xcepting Aus & S.A (where they've tied and lost very closely contested series'). Now, I enjoyed England's title triumph and have always found them an engaging team to watch, but to suggest that they've joined India is nothing but an attempt to , albeit subtly, slight India's achievements and mar their great feats.

    Here's to Eng for the ashes though !!

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

  • Kedar Pandit on May 19, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    Mike, as an unabashed Indian supporter who long failed the Tebbit test (despite an English wife and kids), I am afraid I fully agree with Ashwin above. You must get your facts right, the world cup was indeed 1983 (eons ago), however this was quickly matched by a World Championship held down under in 1985 (a Victorian Cricket Association bicentnial event), followed by two WC semis ('87 and '96 respectively) and a final in 2003. And yes, the micky mouse T20 WC 2007! England certainly played well and thoroughly deserved to win;however the fact is that they have a long way to go before even hoping to join the real contenders at the top. Before we get too cocky, have we forgotten the 5-0 drubbing last time we were down under! In my world, both England and India can comfortably co exist, however at present England would need to up its game pretty substantially before it could even hope to be in the top 3. Winning convincingly in India would be a prerequisite. Or even beat it at home!

  • Bharath Rajeswaran on May 19, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Nice reply to Ashwin. Drew with Aussies in Australia when the big ones were injured. The rain in Lords made them win the series in England 2 years back. While India is a good team, it doesn't have much wins. Too very boasting fans and a selfish board. And the article is about an England win. Why the first comment was about india. God knows why this obsession. Great win Poms. Kill 'em all in Ashes. In hard tracks one 150 kmph fast bowler would do fine. Bring a 2005 style simon jones or steve harmison kinda bowler to Ashes and kill them...World Cricket needs a new leader.

  • asis rout on May 19, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    Lets see how much this team has in it to win the ashes in Australia.Remember last time they went to Australia.as Warne said it will have no bearing on the ashes.Typical of a pom to start celebrating early.It will take some performance to match the Aussies in their own backyard.

  • Mani on May 19, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    So except australia, what other teams have won more ICC events than india? Westindies are the only equals with 2 world cups and a champions trophy....

  • Akash on May 19, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    FYI, England have won ONE ICC tournament, South africa ONE, and New Zealand ONE! India, as you said yourself in reply to Ashwin's comment, have won 2.5 (considering half a Champions' Trophy!!) And you say England have joined India in the haven't-won-muches?? Come on mate, database consultants are supposed to be intelligent, aren't they?

    Congratulations to England though. They were brilliant in the tournament, but dare I say, one win doesn't make up for 35 years of limited-over ineptitude!

  • Gizza on May 20, 2010, 0:50 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.

  • Mohan on May 20, 2010, 2:21 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.

  • TM on May 20, 2010, 4:45 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.

  • saurabh on May 20, 2010, 9:31 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