England v India, World T20, Group A, Colombo September 23, 2012

Broad spins in England defence


Stuart Broad found himself in a familiar position for England captains - trying to explain a calamitous display against spin bowling - as his side, dismissed against India for 80 in 14.4 overs, registered England's lowest total in Twenty20 internationals.

"It doesn't change our destiny a huge amount - we still hop on a bus to Kandy in the morning," Broad said. "It is not like tomorrow is going to be a different day. It is not as if we have to go home or anything."

It was understandable, indeed it was necessary, that Broad found consolation in the fact that both sides had already qualified for Super Eights and that, for the sake of their travelling supporters, England and India were already locked into matches in Pallekele (near to Kandy) or Colombo respectively, irrespective of whether they finished first or second in the group.

But that underplayed the psychological effect that a defeat of such magnitude will have on a relatively untried England batting line-up that had grown in confidence during the warm-up matches but which collapsed spectacularly when faced by the first real test against significant opposition.

As Broad had mentioned destiny, he did bring to mind Freud's theory of repetition compulsion - a psychological phenomenon in which a person (or in this case the England cricket team) repeats a traumatic event, or its circumstances, over and over again.

Freud's theory says the patient does not remember anything about what he has forgotten or repressed, but just acts it out until the end of time, which is a depressing thought for when England next face spin bowling in Asia as well as an intriguing challenge for the team psychologist. The alternative, of course, would be to listen instead to Mushtaq Ahmed, the spin bowling coach, and start hitting the ball down the ground.

"Our error today is we lost early wickets," Broad said. "Spinners always enjoy bowling to new batsmen. We talked the other day about how we need to hit straight and hard and today to lose the first couple of wickets across the line was a bit disappointing. Hitting straight was a much better option than going across the ball."

England's display was so woeful that when they lost their ninth wicket at 60 they were in danger of recording the lowest score in T20 internationals, undercutting Kenya's 67 against Ireland. Somehow, they avoided that. But this was their heaviest defeat, by runs, in T20 internationals.

There was no alibi for the batsmen and Broad was not about to give them one. There was no sharp turn - there may be as the tournament progresses so if England do reach the semi-finals and face India once more at Premadasa it could be worse - and India's 170 for 4 was, at most, 10 over par so the target did not demand the impossible.

"I don't think the wicket turned massively to be honest," Broad said. "The guys getting out said it was just skidding on a little bit. There was a little bit of turn, Harbhajan bowled very nicely with his top-spinner going well but no, I don't think it was a raging turner or anything.

"We made it easy for India in the end. We will have to learn from our mistakes and there were some pretty clear ones in the batting line-up. Young guys seem to learn pretty quickly."

He did not entirely exonerate the bowling, where England suffered in this match by giving Tim Bresnan a run out as a fourth seamer, in defiance of a dry pitch, because of their conviction that the ball will seam and swing in Pallakele and he will play in their opening Super Eight tie against West Indies or Ireland on Thursday as a result. The fielding was also scrappy by England standards, but these were details compared to the car crash of a batting performance.

"I think we were a little bit sloppy in places: we had a few soft twos in the outfield," Broad conceded. "We didn't hit our lengths as well as we could up front. But I think it was the lowest first-innings score on this ground so far in the tournament. We thought it was very chaseable. The wicket was pretty flat, although it didn't have the pace in it that it had the other night.

"It will be interesting to see what the Pallakele wickets offer. There has been talk that in the Sri Lankan Premier League it seamed around a bit. We knew it was a bit dryer at the start but we wanted to try a different balance of side with the four seamers in a game that we could afford to lose. It was a risk that we took and it didn't help us."

Sunil Gavaskar, the former India captain, was quick to point out England's deficiencies. "This is a sorry display from England," he said. "There's been a lack of footwork, application and the will to stick around and fight it out." It was accurate enough but England regard Gavaskar as a serial critic; perhaps this is a comment that will be heading for the dressing room wall.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on September 26, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    @phoenixsteve on (September 25 2012, 20:35 PM GMT) I've aired my views re spinners on another thread. Re Broad's batting. TBH batting is definitely and a smaller string to his bow and while he - like all our batsmen - were poor in the last game , in one of the T20s vs SA only him and Swann made the score respectable. Worried about all our pacers radars at the moment but we can't expect Broad and other lower order to work miracles with the bat when our main batsmen have made a pigs ear of it

  • Steve on September 25, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    Part of the problem is in fact Broad himself! England need to turn to there own spin bowling. Two quicks is enough and I guess they should be Finn and Broad? What's happened to Stuarts batting though? Surely the burden of capataincy isn't effecting his batting? It been proven that in this T20 tournament the slower bowlers are the harder to score off? Swann was England's best bowler in the Indian fiiasco and what were the selectors thinking only playing one spinner? It not as if the third seamer (Bresnan) is any good. The poor guy looks completely out of his depth and brings nothing to the party. I'm sure he's a nice guy and popular in the dresssing room but come on? The batting against India's slow bowlers (they weren't even spinning it) MIGHT serve as a huge wake up call and an abondonment of these ridiculous paddle shots and reverse sweeps - at least until a good start has been established. Resort to the high risk stuff after a good solid start. COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Well Australia still by far the weakest team in the super 8's, but England now firmly in 7th position. I doubt they will progress further, and frankly don't much care either.

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    @RandyOz Your comment is so ironic it's unbelievable. U talk about 'lack of talent' when u have Bailey as captain, and a 42 yr old spinner!

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    Stuart Broad was already shaping up as the Next Big Thing of English cricket when he pushed his career into overdrive in a sensational spell of bowling

  • Doug on September 25, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    From reading many of the comments here, you'd think that KP must play a match winning performance every time he goes out to bat. If England win, they don't need him. If they lose, they WOULD have won if KP was in the side, because afterall, England has never lost with him in their side, have they?

  • Daniel on September 25, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    England is the worst team of the super eights, Broad isn't a great captain, and his bowling is awful, best team would be this. 1) Hales 2) Bell 3) Shah 4) Pietersen 5) Morgan 6) Prior 7) Wright 8) Woakes 9) Bresnan 10) Swann 11) Finn

  • John on September 25, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    @Nampally on (September 23 2012, 23:46 PM GMT) Bell and KP were awful in UAE. Bell scored a 50 in the whole UAE/SL tour and KP scored that big ton in SL. I feel KP is a big loss but that's the way it is. I'd have played Briggs before Patel , but possibly also Patel instead of another pacer. As for Bopara - his dropping was fair enough. His recent batting has been poor and his T20 SR isn't great either and his bowling (which had probably kept him in the side) was poor last time out

  • John on September 25, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    @mgr125128 on (September 24 2012, 15:30 PM GMT) We'll never know. The fact is that Dimitri and Shah haven't played for England for a few years and we've done well in this format (inc in India and UAE) without them. Bopara has been in woeful form lately anyway and correct me if I'm wrong , he tried to get in IPL this year and wasn't bid for along with Swann,Anderson and Bell so ECB have nothing to do with our players playing IPL or not. Their only proviso was not having players playing IPL when England are playing - meaning KP. I'm not against our players playing IPL at all but to do that the Franchises have to bid on them and if they don't bid for our players who make themselves available for IPL then how can ECB be blamed for that? Re KP - remember England were still picking him for tests after he chose to retire from T20s/ODIs so surely if the decision was at all IPL related they'd have dropped him then?

  • John on September 25, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (September 24 2012, 19:45 PM GMT) I doubt Hales would have been in the side if KP was around. I'm pretty sure that KP would have been opening with Kieswetter. Having said that , KP had retired from ODIs/T20s himself which led to Hales coming in so it wasn't KP being ousted which led to Hales inclusion , it was KP ditching England

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