As we’ve mentioned many times before, we love a good stat here at 51allout. We also don’t subscribe to the notion that England simply must rip up all their one day plans, chuck them over the side of the pedalo and start again. To that end, why not have a look at where this England side stand compared to those of years gone by as well as some current international sides and see if they’re really as hopeless as some have suggested?
In the 72 matches England have played under Andy Flower, they have won 34, compared to 29 of the previous 72. It may not seem like a big change, but those stats are skewed by the three thrashings they have been on the end of under his stewardship. The most recent 5-0 defeat combined with two 6-1 scorelines against Australia mean 15 of the 32 defeats came in just three series. Indeed, they are the only one day series defeats England have suffered with Flower in charge.
Given each of those hammerings came after the high of a massive success, perhaps England fall into the trap of becoming complacent, or just relaxing having achieved the main objective of the tour. That is not to excuse their performances in those encounters, but it would suggest their failings were rather more mental than as a result of any huge gulf in class.
As an extension of that, between the two Ashes encounters, England played five series and won them all – the best run of success they have ever experienced in the shorter form of the game. Whilst records like that are both a feather in Flower’s cap and a damning indictment of the 35 years which preceded him, the important point is that this team is not anywhere near as bad as has been made out. The idea that England need to rethink their entire strategy is a flawed one, and based solely on the past fortnight.
Yes, England have their problems in sub-continental conditions, but their record against Sri Lanka and Pakistan away in the past five years reads won six, lost four, and two series wins. The truth is that England struggle against India in sub-continental conditions. Playing a really top team away from home is difficult. Surprised?
Even then it’s not as if their trials in India are particularly unusual; South Africa have never beaten India in a one day series away from home. And as they displayed so wonderfully this summer, the Indians themselves aren’t exactly world beaters in alien conditions.
There is no doubt England had a desperately poor tour, but just as Andy Flower said after the fifth defeat that it’s important not to make snap judgements about players, we should not make snap judgements about the team as a whole. The squad is made up of good players, many of whom are young and will learn from this experience. It’s worth remembering that nine of the eleven who took part in the final game of the 2006/7 Ashes played some part in regaining them two years later. Tearing up the copybook almost never works, stick with the vast majority of the current side and they may just start to go places.