Flower searches for Twenty20 solution
Andy Flower admits England are still "a long way" from finding a successful formula in Twenty20 cricket.
England's stand-in coach watched his charges extend their barren winter with a six-wicket defeat in the Twenty20 international against West Indies in Trinidad yesterday.
The tourists were comfortably second best for much of the match, bowled out for just 121 before West Indies cruised home with two overs to spare thanks to Ramnaresh Sarwan's rapid 59.
“In Twenty20 cricket I think we're a long way from having a successful formula and the results have borne that out in the Twenty20 cricket we've played,” admitted Flower.
“You're certainly a bit restricted on tour compared to your normal Twenty20 selection options, but in one-day cricket I think we've got a clearer idea.
“We had some success against South Africa at the end of last season. We also went to India and, even though we were soundly beaten in India, our batsmen were quite consistent and I think we have a better idea of how we to go about playing one-day cricket than Twenty20 cricket.”
England have only two more scheduled Twenty20 games before their opening match in the World Twenty20 against Holland at Lord’s on June 5 - warm-up matches against Scotland at Trent Bridge on June 2 and West Indies at Lord's a day later.
“It does leave us short of time, but this one-day tournament can help us identify the people that are going to be successful in the shortened format of the game," stressed Flower.
"Of course we'd like to play more Twenty20 international cricket to investigate and get experience doing it. A lot of our guys in county cricket have played a lot of Twenty20 cricket - it's probably our international guys that are more inexperienced."
Ravi Bopara and Steven Davies opened the innings at the Queen’s Park Oval, England’s 11th opening partnership in 15 Twenty20 matches.
Though Flower admitted it was hardly conducive to a winning formula, he added: “As the coach in charge at the moment that's my first Twenty20 game, so it's a little hard to make that comparison. But in English cricket terms, though, yes those are the facts.”
England have also used 40 players in those matches - including eight different wicketkeepers and seven players who have only featured once, not counting the three debutants - Davies, Gareth Batty and Amjad Khan - from Sunday's defeat.
England's last World Twenty20 campaign included several specialists who had excelled in the domestic Twenty20 Cup, including Darren Maddy, Jeremy Snape, Chris Schofield and James Kirtley, and Flower admitted the selectors may look at doing the same again this summer.
"You definitely need Twenty20 specialists, but usually your best players are your best players. There are instances where you get specialists in Twenty20 cricket, definitely," he said.
He challenged his players to banish the memory of yesterday’s defeat by winning the five-match one-day series, which gets under way in Guyana on Friday.
“This series is very important. It's coming on the end of a long, hard winter where we've had no success and it's vitally important.
“It's important for us to have a good one-day series because we are representing England.
“It's been a long, hard winter, but we look at these five games now as a separate tournament and we want to win this section of the tour."
Having returned from the pre-Christmas tour of India without a win, England players must cast their minds back to the one-day series against South Africa on home soil last August for their most recent competitive victory.
It is a run that is building pressure on England's squad, and Flower admitted: "It gets more difficult. We are desperate for a win, definitely.
"The good thing about sport is you put yourself on the line all the time and that's the exciting thing about it. In the one-day game there is no grey area - you're either going to win or lose, take the plaudits or take the hits.
"As an international cricketer, you're always under a certain amount of pressure. As a team, you're under pressure to win the game and, as an individual, you're under pressure to succeed and selection matters put you under pressure.
"You cannot hide from that and players have to find their own way of dealing with the pressures of international cricket. If you can, you'll have a successful career but if you can't, you won't."