Flower expects England response
Team director Andy Flower says he is looking forward to seeing how England bounce back from their recent setbacks when they take on Pakistan in limited-overs cricket this month.
After suffering a 3-0 whitewash in the Test series, England are now preparing for four one-day internationals and three Twenty20s in the United Arab Emirates.
Flower is under no illusion about the obvious difficulties which await a squad containing seven of those beaten over the past three weeks - and another two who had to sit and watch it happen at close quarters.
“This’ll be a really challenging series for us,” he said. “In our last one-day series in sub-continental conditions, we lost badly [5-0] to India.
“The batsmen are lower in confidence after the Test series against this type of bowling, so it will be a serious challenge for us.”
Even so, Flower is relishing the test that lies ahead.
“It will be really interesting to watch, and really interesting to be involved in - trying to turn things around.
“I expect better things from the batsmen, and I really expect to see us improve with our knowledge and method of how to combat their spin.”
The influx of England Lions players such as Jos Buttler, unscarred by defeat here but also inexperienced at international level, is another factor which enthuses the coach.
“It’s really exciting,” he said. “I was really glad that the Lions came out with a win in that series against Sri Lanka A.
“To win that series against good cricketers with international experience was a really good effort out there.
“It was nice to see some of those guys have good success, Buttler especially. He’s shown he can perform under pressure. He’s done it for Somerset, and for the Lions now.”
England will take on a Lions team in Abu Dhabi on Friday as part of their final preparation to face Pakistan.
“I and the other coaches and the other players are very excited for the two groups to be merging, to play against each other in the warm-up game,” Flower said.
“It will be interesting to give those guys chances, and see if they can perform in international cricket.”
Flower is looking forward then, as he must, but he is much too shrewd to ignore the lessons of the past month.
“We’ve been soundly beaten, and it’s been a very disappointing result for us,” he admitted.
“We came out here with high hopes of carrying on our great form in Test cricket, and we haven’t been good enough to do that.
“There’s a lot of work to do, both in the lead-up to this one-day series - which is very short - through that and then on into the Sri Lanka (Test) tour.”