England head to Bangladesh for their first game in the Twenty20 World Cup against New Zealand next Saturday but do so after a 2-1 series defeat to the West Indies in Barbados.
Despite the defeat, England will have learned quite a lot from their three match series. They will have learned that they still have a long way to go if they are to be the World Champions again.
The West Indies are an experienced unit so a 2-1 defeat was not necessarily a surprise for England and victory in the final match will have helped build their confidence ahead of their opening game in Chittagong. Even though the Windies were without the likes of Chris Gayle for the dead rubber.
Some individuals did themselves more good than others though.
In Bangladesh spinners will play a big part in games and England seem to have a good combination with Tredwell, Parry and Moeen Ali offering plenty in that department. Joe Root will be missed as he proved to be more than useful in the 50 over series with his off spin, not to mention his batting.
England will have been happy with young Chris Jordan who has been impressive all winter despite England's woes. His performance with the bat and ball, not to mention a fantastic catch in the outfield, will have given him the confidence to believe that he can be an International regular across all forms for many years to come. Ravi Bopara also did well during the series and his bowling could be crucial for England in Bangladesh especially with his variations.
There will be concerns for England particularly around the form of Luke Wright who looks seriously out of sorts. They will also be wary of the fitness of crucial players in their squad, such as Stuart Broad and Eoin Morgan. The struggles of Wright could be a blessing in disguise for England as their star player Jos Buttler could be moved up the order as a consequence therefore exposing him to more overs than normal. Buttler can be destructive when at his best so for him to be batting higher in the order is not necessarily a bad thing.
Jade Dernbach is another player who many critics are still unsure about. England are clearly showing their faith in him allowing him to open the bowling and also bowl the last crucial overs. Supporters are split over Dernbach and he can at times be expensive and inconsistent. His last over in the third match against the West Indies showed that; he did see England home but he also made it a nail biter at the same time.
As a team England need to improve as a collective in certain areas; firstly they still need to improve dramatically against spin bowling and find a way to dominate spinners more. This is an age old problem for England in any form of the game and I don't expect them to solve it in the next week.
Secondly, England, despite players such as Buttler and Morgan, still do not possess a team full of batsman who are capable of continually clearing the ropes. To win what is now a major tournament they will need players who can hit sixes almost at will. Most other teams in World cricket possess these types of players and will therefore stand more of a chance.
Clearly England still have a long way to go in their development of what is a youthful squad and therefore I am not optimistic about their chances in Bangladesh. However, if they can return home with one or two notable victories it will stand them in good stead for the future and may go some way to cementing Ashley Giles as the new team coach in all disciplines.
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