Flower wants batting bloom
Andy Flower has targeted much improved batting on England’s return to India for another one-day series in early 2013.
Team director Flower’s tourists suffered a humbling 5-0 whitewash, completed yesterday by a 95-run defeat at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens during which they lost all 10 wickets for 47 runs inside 17 overs.
Although England must recover for Saturday’s one-off Twenty20 international at the same venue, Flower is already looking ahead to their Test, ODI and T20 tour of India next winter.
“It was a horrible defeat for us,” he reflected. “What I can say is that it’s important that we learn things from this tour.
“England sides historically haven’t done well out here and we come back here in 14 months time for a seven-match one-day series and we have have to be better.
“So, with a little of time to reflect, we’ve got to come out here with a different set of batting skills to deal with their spinners in the middle order.”
India’s slow bowlers dominated the collapse - Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin sharing seven wickets - offering harsh lessons to England’s batsmen.
“The pitch started to turn a lot more, firstly, so it’s important that everyone recognises that it’s not easy out there,” Flower continued.
“But we weren’t skilful enough in either delivering those skills or indeed in handling the pressure of that situation.”
“I think, considering the start that we’d had, we should have been able to build partnerships, however difficult it is out there and certainly, if not win that game, get very close to winning it last night.
“The batsmen will reflect on that and understand that and be very disappointed that they couldn't do better.”
England’s slide came out of the blue after Alastair Cook and Craig Kieswetter began positively in pursuit of 272, making 63 and 60 respectively.
Although it was not the heaviest defeat of the series, it was nevertheless difficult to take for Flower.
“It’s been a very disappointing tour,” he said. “The manner of last night’s loss was not pleasant to be involved with.
“After such a great start by our two opening batsmen, Cook and Kieswetter, who played superbly and got us into a position to win the game, it was very disappointing to capitulate as we did.”
Flower vowed to analyse the mistakes England have made on this trip, but mentioned the encouragement brought about by paceman Steven Finn who has impressed en route to eight wickets in the series.
“I think any review should come up with some concrete decisions and, as I say, talking a good game or talking about learning is one thing; actually doing it is another and a lot trickier and tougher and that is what we’ve all got to do,” Flower added.
“My belief was that our preparation was good and looking back at a 5-0 defeat I’ve got to question that and we’ve all got to take personal responsibility for this result.
“I head up this tour so it’s got to start with me and I’ve got to question how we have prepared our batsmen for this series.
“In saying that, I think there are a few good things to come out of it. One most obvious one being Steven Finn’s performance and his use of reverse swing last night is really encouraging and that was an outstanding performance in these conditions.
“He should actually only get stronger and better in conditions that will help him even more.”