England have one more shot at redemption today. Since they are the best Twenty20 side in the world their chances of leaving this tour of India with something to show for their efforts should be correspondingly high.
But there are other factors. For a start, they lost their most recent T20 match, against the West Indies at The Oval last month. That began an unfamiliar predilection for defeat that has continued unhindered in the one-day series here.
There is no question that the tourists have had enough, that that they are desperate for a break and that, whatever they say, this will affect them in the solitary T20 match at Eden Gardens today. Conversely, several of the squad are young men for whom today's match is an opportunity to show that they should have enduring international careers. Graeme Swann, the captain in place of the injured Stuart Broad, insisted yesterday that a line had been drawn in the sand after the the 5-0 one-day series reversal.
"Everyone's buzzing," he said. "The spirit in the camp is still very high, which is unusual for a team who have lost 5-0. It's a young and resilient squad." India may take advantage of the youth and crush the resilience one last time.
Much of Swann's briefing was taken up with discussing his book, The Breaks Are Off, and the comments he made about Kevin Pietersen – who in his opinion was never the right man to captain England and was not a natural leader.
The management has been at pains to deny that it provided the remotest reason for their annihilation and Swann concurred yesterday. "My relationship with Kev is unchanged, it's fine," he said. "It's a story that people were trying to make that wasn't there. It has been a distraction to the press, it has not been a distraction to the players."
Pietersen (left) and Swann have shaken hands on the matter, though not yesterday, it is to be hoped, because Pietersen has a fractured thumb that is likely to keep him out of the game.Reuse content