England woes continue as 'new era' refuses to ignite in 15-run defeat to West Indies
Tourists made a solid start reducing the West Indies to 45-4 within 16 overs but poor bowling allows home side to sneak victory
Saturday 01 March 2014
England's 'new era' steadfastly refused to ignite against West Indies as echoes of their recent and regrettable past reverberated on and off the pitch.
While England were falling 15 runs short in the first one-day intenational at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, all the way from London and Dubai came a new spat between Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior.
For good measure, on site in Antigua, Graeme Swann had his say too.
Friday appeared set for much of England's chase of 269 for six to be unequivocally Lumb's day, the veteran Twenty20 specialist marking his debut in this format with a century.
But Lumb's 106 was not enough in the end, after West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo (87) had rescued his team from 45 for four in the 16th over in century stands alongside Lendl Simmons (65) and then the brutal late hitting of Darren Sammy (61).
By then, it had already become clear from noises off camera that the messy fragmentation of England's old guard - and the rise and fall of Pietersen - was still stalking them.
Pietersen responded to remarks attributed to Prior in a Q&A session in Dubai by lampooning the wicketkeeper, who faces a challenge to reclaim his Test match place this summer after losing form in England's Ashes whitewash.
He accompanied his response via Twitter by including in a hashtag the name of the rising star most likely to play instead of Prior - and then using the latter's nickname.
"Fewer Q&A's, more Sussex nets methinks £josbuttler," wrote Pietersen.
"The Big Cheese won't be happy in the Sussex nets...haha."
Swann, who retired mid-Ashes but is in Antigua as a BBC radio summariser in England's limited-overs fixtures against the Windies, offered his thoughts too.
"I think Matt's been a bit naive doing a Q&A in Dubai ... you're never safe in these things," he said.
"But Kevin has come back in a fairly childish way.
"I'm sure he [Pietersen] has still got his [Prior's] mobile number and could have rung him. But public spats are the new thing."
Swann is intrigued to know the full reasons behind England's controversial decision to call time this month on the international career of their record runscorer.
"Hand on heart, I had no inkling of what was about to happen," he said.
"I'm as intrigued as anyone to know what's gone on.
"Matt was one of Kevin's biggest allies, when a lot of players thought there was no way back for him."
He added: "I was all for never having him back in the team after the Strauss affair [in 2012] but Cook and Prior talked me round.
"Kevin is a world-class player but he does upset people wherever he goes."
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