England v West Indies, T20 international, Trent Bridge June 23, 2012

Callow England forced to build again

Missing their top three from the ODIs, as well as Kevin Pietersen, England are being asked to create a new team ahead of their World T20 defence
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Stuart Broad may have captained before and all but one of his squad may have some T20 International experience but it was hard to avoid the conclusion that England were at the start of a new age as they prepared for Sunday's match against West Indies at Trent Bridge.

The England squad is not only without the recently "retired" Kevin Pietersen but also without their ODI top three: Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott. James Anderson, too, cannot find a place in this side. While the bulk of the team that won the T20 series in the UAE remains - 10 of the 11 that won the final game may well play here - it is increasingly hard to avoid the conclusion that England's schedule and their priorities are likely to count against them as a T20 side.

Indeed, such is the callow look to England that Stuart Broad, who will mark his 26th birthday on Sunday by captaining his country on his home ground, seemed to be playing down expectations ahead of the World T20 to be staged in Sri Lanka from September. "We are going to be a hugely inexperienced side going into sub-continent conditions," Broad said. "So we are not expecting the world."

While admitting that Pietersen's absence "didn't seem to effect the one-day team a huge amount" Broad accepted that Pietersen, man of the tournament when England won the World T20 in 2010 "is a world-class Twenty20 player so of course it is disappointing that he is not with us. But it's a great opportunity for someone else to put their hand up and stake a claim for that spot."

There is some irony in the annual hand-wringing and soul searching that invariably accompanies the start of the English domestic T20 season. While poor scheduling and dreadful weather have combined to dampen the early stages of this year's Friends Life t20, it is worth remembering that, only 10 years ago, county cricket was the birthplace of T20 and that England are not only currently rated as the No. 1 T20 side in the world, but they are also World T20 Champions. When you hear people insisting that England should learn from the IPL and India - a team ranked No. 7 in the T20 rankings - it tells you how easily style can mask substance in a world depressingly over-impressed by cheerleaders and fireworks.

That having been said, England's prioritisation of ODI cricket may have consequences. While it is understandable - having attained No. 1 status in Test and T20 cricket, they have set their focus upon a global ODI trophy - it may also come at a cost.

Judging by how few West Indies players attended their optional practice session, they must feel remarkably confident.

Not only has the five-match ODI series against Australia resulted in the Test series against South Africa being cut to just three games - a rare case of a cricketing encounter being undersold in modern times - but it has prevented England's core group of players participating in the domestic FLt20 competition. That, in turn, weakens a domestic event that was once strong enough to sow the seeds of England's World T20 victory. Anderson, for example, has played only one T20 match in the last two years. Cook has not played one in a year.

To compound the problem, England play very few international T20 fixtures. "It's been four months, then we have a one-off game, then it's another three months," Broad said. Those core players have little chance to force their way back into the T20 side.

They are also thwarted by a bulimic domestic schedule that starves its audience of T20 for the best part of 11 months before cramming, in several cases, three home matches in a week down its throats. By staging the whole competition in a mid-season window, it will always be at the mercy of the weather. The argument that it renders it easier to attract the most exciting overseas players can be negated by a quick glance at some of those involved this year. All are worthy cricketers; very few are box office.

The arguments for the introduction of a franchise system in the UK are equally fallacious. It presupposes that a country with a population of over 60 million and in which cricket is a niche sport can replicate the success of a country of well over a billion and where cricket is an obsession. It also overlooks the pesky fact that each of the IPL franchises is based in a conurbation of over six million people. There is only one city of that size in the UK.

Furthermore, it overlooks one of the great strengths of the county game: the presence of first-class teams right around the country. In an age when so little cricket is available on free-to-view television, that is an important factor. Besides, it seems most unlikely that the introduction of a franchise system would stop it raining or result in a less cluttered international schedule.

The truth is, given a fair chance, the domestic T20 program could still flourish. Were the T20 season scheduled on Friday evenings from late May to September, were England players available more often, were salary caps, young player incentives and other bureaucratic obstacles to be removed, then it would thrive once more. But, after years of tightening regulations, complicating the schedule and compromising the county game to the point of pawning its soul, there has been a sudden realisation from the ECB that they have diluted their own product.

The T20 at Trent Bridge also presents a final opportunity for West Indies to salvage some tangible reward from this tour. While there have been limited signs of progress, the fact is that West Indies have been beaten in all four of the international fixtures in which there has been meaningful play. Even the Black Knight of Monty Python fame - sans arms and legs - would struggle to "take the positives" from that.

On paper, they remain a side well-suited to the shorter formats. Many a wise pundit quietly fancies them for World T20 success. Broad rated Chris Gayle as "one of the best T20 batsmen in the world", while Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard are among those with IPL pedigree. Judging by how few of them attended their optional practice session on Saturday afternoon, they must feel remarkably confident.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @tanstell87 on (June 26 2012, 10:20 AM GMT) - I don't think it's a case of Eng shouldn't bring KP back. I just don't see KP wanting to come back to play for a struggling side and by the same token I don't see Eng wanting to change a successful side (should they do well without him). I don't think anyone really knows how much effort either ECB or KP made to try and come to a compromise but it is sad not to have him. As for the WC - I'd say any side could win it - as I posted on another thread. Every major nation has at least 2 or 3 game changing players who on their day can take a game away from the opposition.I'd actually say that on paper Eng have the least big name/reputation players but maybe that's a good thing

  • tanstell87 on June 26, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @JG2704 on (June 26 2012, 08:50 AM GMT) - i dont know why Team India doesnt do well in T20Is...they play IPL for 2 months & have some of the world's biggest hitters....i think they always struggle with the bowling aspect in this game...if we take out the World T20 2007 then they have always struggled to win most T20Is...hopefully they will sort that out before World T20....anyways you are right ECB should not bring back KP even if England dont do well...!

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    @tanstell87 on (June 26 2012, 04:00 AM GMT) - Fair play , but India would have had to have dramatically upped their T20 form if they were given more games to get to those heights. Yes , I wish KP was still playing for England. Unfortunately it's a catch 22 situation. If Eng struggle without him I'm not sure ECB will pull out all the stops to get him back and in that situation and I could see KP being pretty stubborn too. If Eng do well , KP would probably feel he is missing out and might want to return but in those circumstances would you as a selector change a winning side for a guy who for whatever reason has retired from shorter format duties for England

  • tanstell87 on June 26, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    @JG2704 on (June 25 2012, 15:54 PM GMT)- no what i meant by India's ranking was had they played more games then there was a chance that they could have been in top 3 even number 1...but BCCI doesnt like its team playing T20I...India lost to England on a very slowish Eden Gardens wicket,there should have been 1 more T20I in that series...but i do feel England with the bowling variations they have will be difficult to beat...India are playing a league game & it would be interesting to watch...as a fan of this game i wished KP to be part of World T20 because he is just right up there amongst the best !

  • JG2704 on June 25, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    @tanstell87 on (June 25 2012, 04:51 AM GMT) You did say "a big no" re Eng's chances of retaining the T20 in SL. I know T20 is often all about who has a good day and that we are up against it , but I wouldn't say a huge no either. Those last 4 overs cost us alot of runs but sometimes that can happen when you are bowling to guys like Pollard and Bravo. As an Indian you'll have seen what they can do in IPL. Also Eng did win their only T20 in India last year and beat Pak 2-1 in UAE and both after thrashings given to us in ODIs and tests respectively and our bowling was quite decent - restricting teams to lowish totals there. We prob won't retain the cup but I certainly wouldn't say no chance. BTW ICC rankings are calculated (on all formats) by number of ranking points divided by games played so if India played double or triple the games vs the same opposition and had exactly the same win percentage they'd remain where they are. Please publish thank you

  • tanstell87 on June 25, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    @JG2704 on (June 24 2012, 08:53 AM GMT)- yes England bowling attack looks good they defeated Pakistan in UAE....but West Indies did manage 63 runs off last 4 overs off this attack...India have played only 9 games & are at 7...England have played 16....i would like to see India playing more T20I games as i dont like those franchise based IPL...India for that matter are playing 1against Sri Lanka & 2 against Kiwis before World T20...but this year's edition would be close with all teams looking good !

  • PSKI on June 25, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    @ ...( on June 24 2012, 10:50 AM GMT) - very amusing to read that "England are number one - whether you like it or not ... Those are the facts - simple as that, no opinion or discussion required. Plain, simple facts". I remember the vehement discussions on this and particularly other British columns and forums on whether India deserved the no. 1 position, during the period they were ranked no. 1

  • YorkshirePudding on June 24, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    @Peter Walcott, Not sure what your point is, but England lost that series 1-0 with a team that was still in the process of being rebuilt after the Moores vs KP spat in 2008. As for whether the west indies will be able to beat england in the WI at the moment, its improbable, but we wont get to see until 2014 (i think)....As for the mantle of home boy kings, at least we can win against teams at home unlike the WI's, who have only managed 2 wins from 18 games in 3 YEARS.

  • Herath-UK on June 24, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    England looks good but it will be very difficult to defend their T20 title in Sri Lanka ,anybody watching the current resurgent Lankan team thrashing the Pak team would notice it well.KP's abscence to me is irreperable who had a wonderful tour in SL. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • Charlie101 on June 24, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Hugely informed and highly intellent comments by Randyoz as usual. Warner is a fine player but the England bowling attack is the reason that we are the test and T20 number 1. We may not hang onto these 2 positions but if we do it will be because of the bowling attack.

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @tanstell87 on (June 26 2012, 10:20 AM GMT) - I don't think it's a case of Eng shouldn't bring KP back. I just don't see KP wanting to come back to play for a struggling side and by the same token I don't see Eng wanting to change a successful side (should they do well without him). I don't think anyone really knows how much effort either ECB or KP made to try and come to a compromise but it is sad not to have him. As for the WC - I'd say any side could win it - as I posted on another thread. Every major nation has at least 2 or 3 game changing players who on their day can take a game away from the opposition.I'd actually say that on paper Eng have the least big name/reputation players but maybe that's a good thing

  • tanstell87 on June 26, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @JG2704 on (June 26 2012, 08:50 AM GMT) - i dont know why Team India doesnt do well in T20Is...they play IPL for 2 months & have some of the world's biggest hitters....i think they always struggle with the bowling aspect in this game...if we take out the World T20 2007 then they have always struggled to win most T20Is...hopefully they will sort that out before World T20....anyways you are right ECB should not bring back KP even if England dont do well...!

  • JG2704 on June 26, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    @tanstell87 on (June 26 2012, 04:00 AM GMT) - Fair play , but India would have had to have dramatically upped their T20 form if they were given more games to get to those heights. Yes , I wish KP was still playing for England. Unfortunately it's a catch 22 situation. If Eng struggle without him I'm not sure ECB will pull out all the stops to get him back and in that situation and I could see KP being pretty stubborn too. If Eng do well , KP would probably feel he is missing out and might want to return but in those circumstances would you as a selector change a winning side for a guy who for whatever reason has retired from shorter format duties for England

  • tanstell87 on June 26, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    @JG2704 on (June 25 2012, 15:54 PM GMT)- no what i meant by India's ranking was had they played more games then there was a chance that they could have been in top 3 even number 1...but BCCI doesnt like its team playing T20I...India lost to England on a very slowish Eden Gardens wicket,there should have been 1 more T20I in that series...but i do feel England with the bowling variations they have will be difficult to beat...India are playing a league game & it would be interesting to watch...as a fan of this game i wished KP to be part of World T20 because he is just right up there amongst the best !

  • JG2704 on June 25, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    @tanstell87 on (June 25 2012, 04:51 AM GMT) You did say "a big no" re Eng's chances of retaining the T20 in SL. I know T20 is often all about who has a good day and that we are up against it , but I wouldn't say a huge no either. Those last 4 overs cost us alot of runs but sometimes that can happen when you are bowling to guys like Pollard and Bravo. As an Indian you'll have seen what they can do in IPL. Also Eng did win their only T20 in India last year and beat Pak 2-1 in UAE and both after thrashings given to us in ODIs and tests respectively and our bowling was quite decent - restricting teams to lowish totals there. We prob won't retain the cup but I certainly wouldn't say no chance. BTW ICC rankings are calculated (on all formats) by number of ranking points divided by games played so if India played double or triple the games vs the same opposition and had exactly the same win percentage they'd remain where they are. Please publish thank you

  • tanstell87 on June 25, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    @JG2704 on (June 24 2012, 08:53 AM GMT)- yes England bowling attack looks good they defeated Pakistan in UAE....but West Indies did manage 63 runs off last 4 overs off this attack...India have played only 9 games & are at 7...England have played 16....i would like to see India playing more T20I games as i dont like those franchise based IPL...India for that matter are playing 1against Sri Lanka & 2 against Kiwis before World T20...but this year's edition would be close with all teams looking good !

  • PSKI on June 25, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    @ ...( on June 24 2012, 10:50 AM GMT) - very amusing to read that "England are number one - whether you like it or not ... Those are the facts - simple as that, no opinion or discussion required. Plain, simple facts". I remember the vehement discussions on this and particularly other British columns and forums on whether India deserved the no. 1 position, during the period they were ranked no. 1

  • YorkshirePudding on June 24, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    @Peter Walcott, Not sure what your point is, but England lost that series 1-0 with a team that was still in the process of being rebuilt after the Moores vs KP spat in 2008. As for whether the west indies will be able to beat england in the WI at the moment, its improbable, but we wont get to see until 2014 (i think)....As for the mantle of home boy kings, at least we can win against teams at home unlike the WI's, who have only managed 2 wins from 18 games in 3 YEARS.

  • Herath-UK on June 24, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    England looks good but it will be very difficult to defend their T20 title in Sri Lanka ,anybody watching the current resurgent Lankan team thrashing the Pak team would notice it well.KP's abscence to me is irreperable who had a wonderful tour in SL. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • Charlie101 on June 24, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Hugely informed and highly intellent comments by Randyoz as usual. Warner is a fine player but the England bowling attack is the reason that we are the test and T20 number 1. We may not hang onto these 2 positions but if we do it will be because of the bowling attack.

  • Munkeymomo on June 24, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    Another chance for Jos Buttler to show why he is the best young batsmen around. Looking forward to it.

  • on June 24, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Im from england but i grew up in the west indies so west indies all the way

  • on June 24, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    Fact is England is world class. BUT only in England. Last time they toured WI they got beaten and haven't returned since. Last time they toured Sub-continent they were humiliated. Now at home they have resumed the mantle of home boy kings.

  • on June 24, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    @ Greg. There are criteria for number 1. They are set by the authorities and the teams, and not by you. England are number one - whether you like it or not. Whether they are as good as the Aussies 15 years ago or WI 10 years before that? No, they aren't. But number 1. Yes - they are. It's a fact not subject to your opinion. England number 1 test, number 1 T20 and current T20 world champs. India are 7th, and even winning in SL can only take them to 3rd. Those are the facts - simple as that, no opinion or discussion required. Plain, simple facts.

  • indoorminer on June 24, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    A lot of sense talked in that article about scheduling, etc. I'm not sure how seriously Eng take T20 though - they appear to treat T20 as a means of blooding new players, introducing them to the international circuit, see how they fare, etc. Fair enough in a way I guess - Eng are lucky enough to have some talented young batasmen who have been brought up on the game. As for Shah - good batsman but I suspect his fielding will be held against him.

  • RandyOZ on June 24, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Looking forward to seeing England get spanked around in this one. Will be a good pre-cursor for when Warner gets a hold on their pop gun attack.

  • JG2704 on June 24, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @tanstell87 on (June 24 2012, 04:26 AM GMT) The likelihood is that we won't retain it but I'll go back to Mr Dobell's comments of style over substance. WI and India with their (on paper) superior sides lie in 9th and 7th positions in the ICC rankings with Ireland in between them. Obviously these teams could fulfil their potential and do the business this time round but even before the OD series vs WI , WI were supposed to give us the mother of all thrashings .. We will undoubtedly miss KP and they will be huge boots to try and fill and we could do with Morgan rediscovering form. However I feel much of our success is due to our bowling unit which hasn't changed much in recent years.

  • JG2704 on June 24, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @veeru4mIndia on (June 24 2012, 03:41 AM GMT) Shah is inconsistent and rumoured to be not the best of team players. Even for RR - I did follow the IPL to a degree - he had a few decent knocks but I also noticed times when he really laboured. There are other decent T20 players in Eng and I think if some of those were given an opportunity in IPL they would too make an impression

  • JG2704 on June 24, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @Greg Ranger on (June 24 2012, 03:02 AM GMT) Thanks for your kind words. We will try to refrain from boasting - so many boastful comments from English fans after beating WI yeah? Really? We were awful in UAE and bad in SL and no one has hidden from that but whether you like it or not Eng are officially the number 1 test side in the world. This may be much to do with the fact that other sides around them are dropping tests/series but the fact remains. And yes we need to improve in SC but first we have a very tough series vs SA. BTW I thought this thread was about T20 ?

  • Hammond on June 24, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    I don't think England really care if they are number one in T20. Test cricket is still the priority and what all the players (including Pietersen) aspire to attain the heights in. T20 (even a world cup) is a sideshow, nothing more.

  • on June 24, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    I don't understand why Cook isn't included in the T20 team. He can be almost as good as Gambhir in this format and he is probably their best bet to get some runs in the Sri Lankan conditions.

  • tanstell87 on June 24, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    Indian fan here....i enjoyed England thrashing Australia to win World T20 in 2010 but seriously can they win in Sri Lanka with this team ?? the answer is a big no...they should consider bringing back KP & even Collingwood-the forgotten hero....India,Sri Lanka & West Indies are favourites to win this year's edition..!

  • veeru4mIndia on June 24, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Owais Shah is good player records tells that he scored 310 four's & 157 six's in Twenty20 format, also played well in Rajasthan Royals team in india why he is not selected.

  • on June 24, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    England fans, be careful believing all the backslapping and over the top praise of your side by Botham, Atherton, Hussein, Gower and Lloyd. You were duds in the subcontinent, and I mean duds, latest results, beat the Windies, who are crap, thrashed by Pakistan, who are crap and you drew with Sri Lanka, who are double crap. These facts seemed to have been conveniently overlooked by your so called experts, who gush on and on about how good you are at home and how you have beaten the West Indies, who are only just in front of Bangladesh and N.Z. So don't get ahead of yourselves, beat the best in the subcontinent, and then only then can you truly be No. 1

  • Bruisers on June 24, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    I don't understand why Cook isn't included in the T20 team. He can be almost as good as Gambhir in this format and he is probably their best bet to get some runs in the Sri Lankan conditions. Their bowling attack looks good but the batting looks woefully poor now that KP is also gone. Bopara and Kieswetter are the only proper T20 batsmen they have now for the WT20. Morgan is pretty much useless in the sub-continent.

  • landl47 on June 24, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    I guess I might watch a bit of it, unless I have something more interesting to do, like cutting my toenails. Seriously, T20 is a kid's game, missing everything that makes cricket attractive and unique. The fact that England, who on paper should be about #8 in the world, are both #1 and the world champions shows what a lottery it is. Even as a die-hard England fan I can't raise any enthusiasm for a game which strips away the technique, concentration, strategy and determination from cricket and leaves slogging and defensive bowling with no fielders near the bat, with the whole thing over before a real game has properly started. T20 is a game for those who don't like or understand cricket and a glance at the comments from T20 fans will verify that.

  • jmcilhinney on June 24, 2012, 1:52 GMT

    Does that last sentence not distil what's wrong with WI cricket? There's been all this talk of the team ethos that has been built by Gibson and Sammy and how these "IPL stars" will integrate into that. WI haven't won a meaningful game all tour, they have been soundly beaten in both ODIs played, their last match was rained out and they can't even be bothered to turn up to a practice. Given the circumstances, why was the practice optional in the first place and, despite its being optional, why wasn't everyone there anyway? The only legitimate reason I can think of would be injuries. I'd be interested to know who did show and who didn't.

  • subbass on June 24, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    Yeah fair enough article. The T-20 team is been rebuilt, along with the 'retirement' of KP and Eoin Morgans poor form, it sure does make the batting look weak. Still, we're a fine bowling outfit mind you so it's not all doom and gloom, although yes, we are clearly big outsiders to retain the trophy in SL this September.

  • EnglishCricket on June 24, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    Though I'm an English supporter, I have a funny feeling that either England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or India will make it and win the final but will happy if proven wrong but I still think overall England are the best team in the world and that included T20 in fact, the T20 ranking table speaks for themselves but the game against West Indies is a 50:50.

  • R.Taylor13 on June 24, 2012, 0:28 GMT

    West Indies is built like an IPL team, with desires for international success. They have a good chance to pick up the win here.

  • jackiethepen on June 23, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    This is a fantasy tagged onto problems about schedules and rotation policy. This young and inexperienced squad is supposed to be the new deal. Bell played well against Australia and was benched last summer so that Lumb/Hales could play. Cook hasn't been allowed near the t20 side and neither has Anderson. Likewise Trott. None of these top England players are considered good enough to make the squad. Flower has put all his considerable clout into selecting young guns who make up his t20 team. He has been supported by nearly every young fan who fancies anyone who can hit sixes. So we have Bairstow, Buttler, Kieswetter, Hales, etc. James Taylor the only youngster who can bat isn't in the frame. The IPL tells us the opposite, that proper batsmen are the ones that prosper over time. But Flower has nailed his colours to the mast. The sloggers are in. Flower may come to regret his hard line over KP. It will give us a chance to assess the rights and wrongs of his policy. No excuses.

  • yorkshirematt on June 23, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    This should present the windies with their best chance of a win in this tour. As for the World T20, England are right not to expect much given the location of the tournament and the inexperience of the squad. We've won it once and really T20, despite its's higher standing in the game now, is still just a bit of fun. As ever a win tomorrow would be nice however

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 23, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    I suspect that rather like said Black Knight, tomorrow England will be wanting to "call it a draw"

  • jackthelad on June 23, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    The great thing is that Team England has at least 16 players who are all Test standard; rotating is common sense, given this deep pool of talent. Players left out may be a little miffed, but -hey - that's the game.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 23, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    England are the best 20/20 team in the world and the current world cup holders. But that was with an old team. They have of course amazing depth and talent that has been part of the reason they're best in the world at the real form the game, test cricket. But it takes time to form a team, however money's still on England to maintain their winning run.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 23, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    Very young, inexperienced squad indeed. WI have no excuses now, besides maybe bad weather again? Nice chance for England's youngsters to step up and carve a niche for themselves, provided the rain holds back long enough!

  • JG2704 on June 23, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Re WI stars not taking up optional practise, there are 2 ways of looking at it.1 - They feel that they will play better cricket after a few days off as they are more relaxed 2 - Maybe their work ethic is really poor , in which case it may be why WI won't progress as they should have. On paper they should be better than they are which goes back to your "Style Over Substance" comms although 3 of the IPL players did well in the 2nd ODI

  • JG2704 on June 23, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Pretty much agree with the whole article here.I disagree with "By staging the whole competition in a mid-season window, it will always be at the mercy of the weather" - because it comes across that the weather is more likely to be bad in these months where in truth no one can accurately predict when the weather will be bad.Aprils usually a good month but this year it was awful and I believe we've already had more rain this summer than in the whole of last winter.Re domestic T20 , I agree that it is difficult to attract those box office players and apart from money there is the problem of schedules clashing.After the Gayle debacle with Somerset , while I was less excited with signings of Mokel/Levi but thought that we'd at least have them here for the whole campaign. As it happens we'll have been without them for 3-4 games although luckily for us our English players have done the business when the inevitable rain hasn't interveened

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  • JG2704 on June 23, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Pretty much agree with the whole article here.I disagree with "By staging the whole competition in a mid-season window, it will always be at the mercy of the weather" - because it comes across that the weather is more likely to be bad in these months where in truth no one can accurately predict when the weather will be bad.Aprils usually a good month but this year it was awful and I believe we've already had more rain this summer than in the whole of last winter.Re domestic T20 , I agree that it is difficult to attract those box office players and apart from money there is the problem of schedules clashing.After the Gayle debacle with Somerset , while I was less excited with signings of Mokel/Levi but thought that we'd at least have them here for the whole campaign. As it happens we'll have been without them for 3-4 games although luckily for us our English players have done the business when the inevitable rain hasn't interveened

  • JG2704 on June 23, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Re WI stars not taking up optional practise, there are 2 ways of looking at it.1 - They feel that they will play better cricket after a few days off as they are more relaxed 2 - Maybe their work ethic is really poor , in which case it may be why WI won't progress as they should have. On paper they should be better than they are which goes back to your "Style Over Substance" comms although 3 of the IPL players did well in the 2nd ODI

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 23, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    Very young, inexperienced squad indeed. WI have no excuses now, besides maybe bad weather again? Nice chance for England's youngsters to step up and carve a niche for themselves, provided the rain holds back long enough!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 23, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    England are the best 20/20 team in the world and the current world cup holders. But that was with an old team. They have of course amazing depth and talent that has been part of the reason they're best in the world at the real form the game, test cricket. But it takes time to form a team, however money's still on England to maintain their winning run.

  • jackthelad on June 23, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    The great thing is that Team England has at least 16 players who are all Test standard; rotating is common sense, given this deep pool of talent. Players left out may be a little miffed, but -hey - that's the game.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 23, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    I suspect that rather like said Black Knight, tomorrow England will be wanting to "call it a draw"

  • yorkshirematt on June 23, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    This should present the windies with their best chance of a win in this tour. As for the World T20, England are right not to expect much given the location of the tournament and the inexperience of the squad. We've won it once and really T20, despite its's higher standing in the game now, is still just a bit of fun. As ever a win tomorrow would be nice however

  • jackiethepen on June 23, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    This is a fantasy tagged onto problems about schedules and rotation policy. This young and inexperienced squad is supposed to be the new deal. Bell played well against Australia and was benched last summer so that Lumb/Hales could play. Cook hasn't been allowed near the t20 side and neither has Anderson. Likewise Trott. None of these top England players are considered good enough to make the squad. Flower has put all his considerable clout into selecting young guns who make up his t20 team. He has been supported by nearly every young fan who fancies anyone who can hit sixes. So we have Bairstow, Buttler, Kieswetter, Hales, etc. James Taylor the only youngster who can bat isn't in the frame. The IPL tells us the opposite, that proper batsmen are the ones that prosper over time. But Flower has nailed his colours to the mast. The sloggers are in. Flower may come to regret his hard line over KP. It will give us a chance to assess the rights and wrongs of his policy. No excuses.

  • R.Taylor13 on June 24, 2012, 0:28 GMT

    West Indies is built like an IPL team, with desires for international success. They have a good chance to pick up the win here.

  • EnglishCricket on June 24, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    Though I'm an English supporter, I have a funny feeling that either England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or India will make it and win the final but will happy if proven wrong but I still think overall England are the best team in the world and that included T20 in fact, the T20 ranking table speaks for themselves but the game against West Indies is a 50:50.