World Twenty20 2012 September 24, 2012

England look to learn but also forget

ESPNcricinfo staff

Not for the first time this year England were back in the nets trying to find a way to solve their problems against spin. The net session at the P Sara Oval was not a direct response to the demise for 80 against India - they had been scheduled for a likely training session in any case - but the events of the previous evening gave a clear focus to what was required.

Andy Flower and Graham Gooch, two outstanding batsmen of spin in their day, gave plenty of throw downs and shared plenty of advice as they have done throughout the year. On the evidence of how the current crop played Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla not all of it is being absorbed.

The middle of a tournament is not the time to be trying to remodel techniques or radically change gameplans, but if England have serious ambitions of moving beyond the Super Eight stage they are going to have to adapt quickly. Their half of the draw has been termed the easier route to the knockout stage, yet each team they face will have bowlers to exploit their major weakness.

Sunil Narine will be first, when they face West Indies on Thursday, followed by the more orthodox but no-less-effective Daniel Vettori then back to mystery with a four-over trial from Ajantha Mendis. Do not rule out Sri Lanka throwing in their wild-card, 18-year old Akila Dananjaya, either. It is those future challenges, rather than what happened on Sunday evening, that is now the focus of the England team.

"It was a disappointing performance - we're human enough to say that and realise that obvious fact," Craig Kieswetter said. "We've played spin well; we've beaten Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan in the sub-continent before. It was just a bad performance.

"We're not getting too down about it. Confidence is still high; we're still playing some great cricket and we're pretty glad we've got that game out of the way at the best time possible."

Much like Stuart Broad's assertion that England do not have a problem against spin it was not entirely convincing from Kieswetter, who top-scored in the 80 with 35 made largely before the spinners came on, but the quick-fire nature of the tournament does at least offer a chance to move on quickly. Kieswetter will also remember that England were far from convincing getting out of their group in 2010 - squeezing through without winning a game - before surging to the title.

"What's done is done. We did what we needed to do and qualified and now we're through to the business part of the competition," he said. "Now you'll see the good teams put their hands up and actually put up performances that really matter."

But can England fine a way against spin? "You've got to be more streetwise, be prepared to score ugly runs. We've got to be adaptable to the wickets," he said. "We played across the line a bit too much. We should have played a bit straighter.

"We realise that; we've highlighted it and we're obviously going to learn from that. It's probably a good learning curve to have. It didn't turn as much and we probably expected, and we played for a bit too much turn. The ball's a bit more unpredictable here - it either spins or it doesn't - it's not as predictable as in England."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • front on September 26, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    As an England fan, the words 'Match practice' is the words that no-one is using here. Its fine to say 'we've handled spin before' but quite frankly, in a real match, England hasn't. In fact, in many occasions they have been made to look like first years being chastised by their Physics Master. Well, the flaw in England's setup is when do they get a chance to face bowlers of decent quality? You can turn the "Merlin' up to "Warne", but lets face it, facing Swann (who can only bowl a straight-un) in the nets in no preparation to actual match practice. His mouth offers greater variation than his bowling, and to me therein lies the rub. Team England, isn't about application, discipline and learining and applying your trade. Its about mouthing off and hubristic declarations of superiority underlined by our innate sense of entitlement. As soon as we lose that, then we can progress as a cricket team.

  • Peter on September 26, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    Any team left in can win this tornament. ANY team! Partly because there is no outstandingly good side & also no side which is obviously too weak to go through to the next round. That alone makes it intriguiing. But as it is also the lowest form of the pyjama version of the game, it has always been - & remains - a bit of a lottery. Any team can win a 20 over game & any team can lose it. Including a team which was thrashed only a few days earlier. This is so demonstrably true that it shouldn't need emphasising. ENG batted awfully the other day against some pretty ordinary slow bowlers. No-one denies that. They also batted with too little patience (if that's possible in a 20 over game).They are not the best in the world against spin but are also not normally quite as bad as that. Could they defeat a team packed with spinners in the next week or so? Yes. Could they succumb in similar fasshion? Yes. If they crumble again, will it be the end of the world? No - this is ONLY T20, remember!

  • Allan on September 26, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    @cricindiaforlife - I agree entirely with you. There is no way I was denying England have a problem against spin. All I was trying to prove is that those posters that came on before and stated that CK was lying or mistaken should look at the evidence. He was referring to the T20 WC and talking about T20i's. Thats all. @Aksita - you made another common mistake recently. No one player can undermine team unity and get away with it. OK, KP played in those matches where we beat SL, Pak and India but so were 10 other players. @Rahulbose - see my previous post for the matches CK is talking about. @Vikneshwar Elango - jog on. No room for trolling here.

  • John on September 26, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @Anubhav Agrawal on (September 26 2012, 04:57 AM GMT) I'm worried about alot of things re the way we're going about this tournament. I have my doubts that we'll learn but time will tell

  • John on September 26, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @Vikneshwar Elango on (September 26 2012, 02:29 AM GMT) Is there really any point in dredging all of this up again? If my team had just lost 8 away tests in a row , most by an inns , I would not be commenting on any other team. India are in a better state in this tournament momentum/confidence wise at the moment but that can all change. We all start afresh from tomorrow onwards so maybe best to refrain from the gloats/snipes at this point. There's always the possibility - however remote - that Eng progress through the super 8s and India don't.

  • John on September 26, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    @phoenixsteve on (September 25 2012, 19:15 PM GMT) We should at least have had a second spinning option in there - IMO a 3rd spinning option. I think we got carried away with how the faster short pitched stuff worked against Afghan on a faster pitch against more vulenerable batsmen and as is so often the case we had no plan B. Can you or anyone tell me that they think Briggs would do a lesser job than Finn or Dernbach? I think the next pitch is supposed to be pacier but even on a pacier pitch our seamers have to get their radar right which so far they have not done.

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    If I was an english I would have been quite worried because Harbhajan and Piyush did not bowl any great bowl and neither of them are in form, Narine and mendis on the contrary are actually playing quite well. If England wins against any team that will be because that team did not play overall, because England's batting looks spineless against spin mostly because they are a young team and have almost no experience on sub-continental pitches.

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2012, 2:29 GMT

    ENG is a minnow team and it is proven ... Every team almost wins only at home and loses in overseas.. But if u compare ENG with others, ENG is the worst.. losing to PAK when chasing 145 ... no team would have lost thIat match..getting all out to 72 in tests and 80 to t20s... ENG fans who made fun of IND , need to remember that we have made 250+ in every innings .... but poor minnows ENG struggling to make even 100+ ... If BCCI prepares square turners (how ENG prepared grassy pitches) , ENG will lose 4-0 ... u ppl said IND dint even make 300 .. but i would say ENG wont even make 200 in any innings if this happens ... 4-0 is on the way to ENGLAND ... poor minnows!!! shame to cricket since it is born in ENG

  • Peter on September 26, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    In this format, you are only as good as your next game. This format is the least likely success to use as a form guide. You would be very brave to suggest England will repeat their dismal last start effort. You don't get to #1 doing that every game, so get a grip on reality.

  • Nicholas on September 25, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    Practising with toy equipment and rubber balls to get a nice photo there aint gonna help England!

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