Updated: Tuesday, 11th August 2020 @ 9:23am

Comment: Summer of love for English cricket not likely as winter of discontent stretches into spring

Comment: Summer of love for English cricket not likely as winter of discontent stretches into spring

| By Amy Lofthouse

The look of shock on Stephen Parry’s face when he was left stranded in the middle of the pitch as England slumped to a 45-run loss against the Netherlands yesterday summed up a dismal cricketing winter.

England arrived at the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh as the underdogs and if possible they leave with their reputation shattered even further.

It was a frustrating and at times inept performance from England across the fortnight, one made even more perplexing by the depth of talent within the squad.

Lancashire’s Jos Buttler has long been touted as the answer to England’s limited-overs struggles but he has been badly used by a management that has floundered across the winter.

He has either batted too low, when his specialist array of ramp shots and reverse-sweeps can’t be used to their full effect, or he’s been left with too much to do.

The problem with having a reputation as strong as Buttler’s is there can be a tendency to over-rely on him when he does arrive to bat.

More than once in the tournament a senior batting partner has taken a single and left Buttler, who is usually fresh at the crease, to power England to victory.

It is unrealistic to expect so much of him, no matter how talented he is, especially in conditions as alien as those in the sub-continent.

Despite this the batting has been the strongest point of England’s tournament, which hints at how appalling the other elements have been.

The spin cupboard looks worryingly bare. Parry was given just one game against the Dutch, hinting that England do not place a lot of trust in his ability to slow the run-rate.

Moeen Ali is a batsman who bowls a bit and not the fully formed spinner England need while James Tredwell can slow the run-rate but lacks the penetration of Graeme Swann.

Jade Dernbach’s England career must surely be nearing an end: he has been expensive, over-reliant on slower balls that on Bangladeshi pitches have been far too easy to hit and by the final game he looked out of ideas.

Tim Bresnan was clearly kept in the team for his experience in England’s victory in 2010, because his performance has hardly merited continued selection.

There have been some bright sparks, most notably Chris Jordan, but as a bowler and a captain Stuart Broad has disappointed.

He is unwilling to bowl himself in the powerplays which is a time when his pace and bounce would be most effective and as a captain he has looked lost.

The fielding too has been dreadful. Despite continued practice with a damp ball to replicate the evening conditions on the ground England have let far too many chances go begging.

They were admittedly not helped by the pre-tournament mess surrounding Kevin Pietersen’s exit from the England set-up, or by Graeme Swann’s sudden retirement.

But that is no excuse for the performances they put in.

At times England were downright woeful. The batting against the Netherlands smacked of complacency, as though England felt they would win purely because of who they are.

The win against Sri Lanka appears even more out of the ordinary now.

So where do England go from here? They have a month before the summer season begins and they are still unsure of their Test line-up.

They have no permanent coach – although it appears certain that Ashley Giles will get the job – no opening batsman, no number three, no third seamer and no spinner.

Simply preying on Sri Lanka and India’s insecurities on English pitches is not enough.

The fans deserve better: having been kept in the dark about the Pietersen saga they have had to watch England go from bad to worse over a four-month period.

Broad, in his final press conference of the tournament, spoke about a new era for English cricket.

That new era seems to be taking a long time to materialise.

There are, however, some positives for England fans as the women’s team go from strength to strength in the Women’s World T20 Tournament.

Maybe the men could take a leaf out of their books.

Main image courtesy of ECB via YouTube, with thanks.