Ashley Giles has stressed that, while results are always important in international cricket, he is more concerned about building the foundations for a tilt at World Twenty20 glory in Bangladesh during the current tour of the West Indies.
England started the tour with a disappointing 15-run defeat in Antigua and must win today’s second one-day international to keep the chances of a series victory alive going into the final clash on Wednesday.
After that, the teams will head to Barbados for the Twenty20 leg, where Ian Bell will join up with Giles’ squad as cover for injured duo Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan.
Giles wants to see his side head there with an ODI series victory, but will measure the overall success of the tour on the improvement shown by his players going to Bangladesh.
He said: “It’s always worrying when you lose games of cricket but looking at the positives, we probably played the best cricket for 70, stroke 80 overs (of the first game).
"It’s disappointing to lose a game from there and there’re obvious areas we need to improve but if we’d lost that percentage of the game I’d be more worried.
“There’re some good signs with a relatively young side. I thought we played some positive cricket.
“Winning is a habit, of course, but a lot of these guys are young and inexperienced and they need to be put into these situations time and time again to get through them.
"We’ve done it a little bit now - the last couple of one-day internationals - Adelaide we got it wrong at the end with the bat; in this game probably with the ball and the bat in different stages we didn’t quite get it right.
“We can learn from the way West Indies did things at the back end of their innings and our innings and that’s all we can do, try and learn from that and move forward for the next game.”
The squad in the Caribbean is T20-orientated, with many first-choice ODI players left at home. Again, Giles pointed out that this way would be far more beneficial for this month’s World T20, while giving fringe players vital 50-over experience with a year left to plan for that World Cup.
He added: “If I was that concerned about results, why wouldn’t (James) Anderson, (Alastair) Cook, Bell be here during the one-day series? This is about preparing the side as best we can for the T20 World Cup and at the same time we’re seeing guys like (Michael) Lumb and (Moeen) Ali get opportunities in one-day cricket and already there are some positive signs.”
Giles has admitted his interest in leading England in all formats of the game, but he is adamant he is thinking solely on his job of improving the limited-overs sides during this tour.
“What I can’t do is coach this side right now with a view as it being a job interview, if you like,” he said.
“I’m here to get the very best out of this team, create the right sort of environment and win games of cricket for England.
“We are in a sort of rebuilding phase and a development phase and I have to try and concentrate on my job and I think I’m doing that pretty well.
“My job here is to try and create an environment where these guys can learn and flourish. We are in the business of winning games of cricket.
"We’re always judged on those results but for me, as I’ve done in my other roles as a coach, it’s working bottom up and we’ve got to get the other stuff right first and then the outcome will take care of itself.”