When Will T20 World Cup Tickets Go On Sale 2009 ICC World Cricket T20 – England Fail to Meet Balance Between Bat and Ball

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2009 ICC World Cricket T20 – England Fail to Meet Balance Between Bat and Ball

As England’s ‘2009 ICC T20 Cricket Tournament’ draws to a close, I’m sure more than a few cricket experts will be assessing their performance during the tournament and more importantly the balance of their team.

England’s latest defeat appeared to mirror previous encounters in terms of performance, if not result. With 162 runs for victory, the West Indies must have been more than satisfied when the British weather intervened to lead to a revised figure of 80 from 9 overs under the management of Duckworth-Lewis.

While England’s bowlers performed brilliantly, they fell a little short as the Windies reached their target with 3 balls to spare. With the likes of Gayle, Pollard and Bravo in their team, all devastating batsmen, it was unlikely that the three would fail to put England’s bowlers to the sword and with the quality of the batting in detail, there were a handful of nine over favoring the visitors. At one stage the Windies reached a precarious 45 for 5 with only a couple of recognized batsmen to come, but still managed. So, what can England learn from this defeat and their Tournament?

The West Indies succeeded where England failed and that was not on the field, but rather in choosing a team. The biggest conundrum for any T20 team manager has to be striking the right balance between a solid bowling attack and a good batsman who can score quickly. Let’s face it, the T20 format can be a lottery at times, Australia’s early exit from the tournament is certainly testament to that. Behind every team’s success in whatever format of the game is played, there must be a method to the madness. The craziness with England’s team selection was that they didn’t seem to learn lessons from previous games.

In the majority of their matches England established a good foundation to build a strong total only for their ailing middle order batsmen to fail to maintain scoring momentum.

While Pietersen is arguably the only top-order batsman in the England team, Shah, Bopara and Wright have at times contributed runs at a rate associated with the T20 format. If you look at the analysis of other teams, and inevitably the team that will likely win the tournament, there is one common denominator….. they all bat deep!

England’s batting line-up in terms of batsmen equipped to score quickly seems to falter somewhat once the top four have left. Although arguably not as well equipped for other formats of the game, Collingwood and Foster are capable of scoring at the desirable rate required in T20.

In their loss to the Windies, England’s batsmen failed to break the boundary ropes from the 11th over until the final swash pushing 10 runs from Stuart Broad in the last two balls of the innings. It is commendable that they actually achieved a reasonable total, but if the middle-order batsmen were a little more adept at scoring quick runs, then the game may well have been put out of the Windies’ reach.

In their previous game against India it was a similar story, a faltering middle order that resulted in a very mediocre score. They got away with it that time, but it seems they didn’t learn their lesson, as they got rid of a faltering batsman when they really needed an active batsman.

Don’t pick a captain just because that’s his position for the 50 over format, pick a batsman who can bat in his position at a T20 rate. Similarly, don’t pick a wicket-keeper, no matter how brilliantly he might have performed behind the stumps, who can’t glout the ball to the boundary quite regularly.

I’m sure that Matt Prior’s general skills are better suited to T20, even if he is perhaps a bit more sluggish behind the wicket than Foster. I think most England fans know who is missing from the middle order, but while ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is going through his rehabilitation, is it beyond reason to select players who suit the requirements shorter format of the game, and not only select players who are good in other formats of cricket.

If England had chosen a team with the balance moving a little more towards batting deeper, then it is possible that they will still be in the tournament. England should not bemoan the weather, they should look at their choice of players who suit the T20 format.

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