So what did England learn in the World Twenty20?

Their tournament may be over, but Andy Flower's men can draw on key lessons for the future – and the Ashes campaign


What did England find out and has it improved their Ashes prospects?

To have taken their participation in the World Twenty20 to the final match of the second stage represented real progress for England. It may not look like it but this is to ignore the fact that they were generally deemed to be hopeless at the shortest form of the game before the tournament began.

Had England hoisted aloft the World Twenty20 Trophy at Lord's on Sunday it might have had repercussions up to the Ashes and beyond. The formats might be different but feel-good factors are endlessly transferable among sportsmen.

As it is, both England and Australia can start the Ashes knowing that the other is not much cop at Twenty20. On the first morning of the first Test at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, three weeks today, it will have no bearing on anything.

But England should heed lessons for their Twenty20 future. The two substantial ones are concerned with fielding and middle-order batting. The fielding was not bad in the five matches England played, it simply was not good. Saving five to 10 runs can be decisive and England rarely saved them.

The middle order did not contain enough slugging nous. This is not to say that every ball has to be hit for six but urgency was infrequently imparted.

The bowling, however, generally held up (except in the opening match when too many bowlers were milked). Adil Rashid deserves a special mention because it was expecting far too much for a 21-year-old leg spinner who bowls far too many bad balls to come into international cricket in such circumstances. But he handled himself and his bowling well enough almost to justify his selection. England, however, would be well advised not to push their luck by picking him in the Ashes.

Who missed the chance to impress?

During the tournament it became fashionable to deride Luke Wright's abilities as opener and against the best fast bowling he might fail too often. But as lower middle-order blaster a la Albie Morkel of South Africa he may have something to offer.

Dimitri Mascarenhas was another whose reputation suffered and he performed none of the lower-order hitting of which he is capable.

Owais Shah was top scorer in the humiliation by South Africa but it was a poor tournament for him. He is still the best improviser of shots in the side but his fielding is a worry to all and he may not be around much longer.

Did England get their selection wrong?

Robert Key's abject form played a part in his being ignored but both he and Graham Napier may have suffered because the selectors on the ground took a view. Both men had been picked because they were T20 specialists – Napier accomplished enough, indeed, to have played in the Indian Premier League – but it was hard to avoid the conclusion that neither of the men picking the team, coach Andy Flower and captain Paul Collingwood, thought they were good enough.

In the case of Key, it always seemed odd that, one, he was not picked as captain since he had obviously performed the role well for Kent and odder, two, that he was not picked alongside his fellow Kent opener Joe Denly since the pair operate in T20 as a unit.

The batting order was clearly not fit for purpose and the team were dependent almost entirely on Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara. The squad was poorly selected in the first place.

Was Collingwood a good choice as captain?

With Paul Collingwood you get what you see. No England cricketer of recent vintage has made greater use of his talents. He is a tough cricketer but that does not make him an innovative cricketer.

Too often in the field he was perplexed (as we knew he would be) and a shrewder captain might have been able to conjure up something against the Netherlands. He was willing to take advice (and had to take plenty of it from Kevin Pietersen).

He was all at sea against South Africa but then they had that effect on the whole team. It was a ridiculous state of affairs that, a month before the tournament started, the host nation's selectors were going cap in hand to a chap who had resigned the one-day captaincy a year earlier. But England were not eliminated early because of Collingwood's captaincy.

Did Foster prove the value of specialist 'keepers?

This is, of course, a silly query because the wicketkeeping debate, like the poor and taxes, will always be with us. It was with us when Les Ames was first preferred to George Duckworth, when Jim Parks kept out John Murray and Keith Andrew and even when Alan Knott forced Bob Taylor to wait his turn.

It is not going anywhere. That said, Foster was splendid. There is a school of curmudgeonly thought that in the old days there were always a dozen keepers in England as good as Foster. No, there were not. He has fast, soft hands, good balance and he keeps his fielders on their toes (which England need). He was a delight to watch, though he is not infallible.

The fact is, however, that Matt Prior is an authentic batsman and the selectors have to work out who can offer more in the scoreboard balance sheet. It remains an endlessly fascinating debate.

Is Twenty20 here for good?

Not half.

Ashes watch

21 days to go:

Mitchell Johnson has issued a warning to the England team, saying that he and the other Australian quick bowlers are swinging it both ways. Lucky them.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine