Consistency is the key - Anderson
James Anderson has urged England to stick with the winning Twenty20 formula they struck upon over the winter in the ICC World Twenty20.
England have pulled off two notable victories in their four competitive Twenty20 internationals since last summer, beating South Africa in Johannesburg and defending World Twenty20 champions Pakistan in Dubai.
That they lost the follow-up game against both demonstrates the need for consistency that England must strive for in the Caribbean, but they signalled their capacity to beat the best with a morale-boosting World Twenty20 warm-up win over the Proteas on Thursday.
Anderson, who led England’s attack last year and is set to do so again after missing February’s games against Pakistan, put his finger on the problem.
“We just seem to produce a mixture of Twenty20 cricket, either brilliant or not very good,” said the 27-year-old Lancastrian.
“We’ve just got to try to find a bit of consistency. That’s key when you want to compete for any trophy, and progress in tournaments like the World Cup.”
England meet the Windies again this year, this time in the group stage at the Providence Stadium in Guyana tomorrow.
The next day Anderson & co face their other Group D opponents Ireland, who reached last year’s Super Eights, at the same venue.
“We’ll be trying to figure out what the best way to win games is for us, and then just try to produce the goods,” Anderson confirmed.
“You’ve got to try to be consistent throughout a tournament. You might not be able to do it over six to 12 months - but over a two or three-week period in a tournament, you should be able to do it.”
Anderson’s own role is likely to be key.
Having sat out the tour of Bangladesh to rest an injury in his right knee for two months, he pronounced himself raring to go for the new season and hoping to play his part for England throughout a hectic and high-profile 12 months.
The World Twenty20 is followed by summer assignments at home to Bangladesh, Australia and Pakistan - with the Ashes to come down under next winter, before the World Cup.
It is the Caribbean assignment which must dominate plans for now, though, and Anderson will do well to deal with the pressure of leading an attack which has an inexperienced look to it following a raft of injuries to pace bowlers such as Graham Onions, his Durham colleague Liam Plunkett and Ryan Sidebottom.
Graeme Swann lies in reserve for a Plan B with spin. But the stakes are high with the new ball in Twenty20, with batsmen intent on cashing in on early fielding restrictions.
Anderson knows what he is up against, and will not panic.
“You’ve got to get it right from ball one,” he acknowledged. “But that’s the nature of the game, and we know exactly what to expect.
“It’s the same for the batsmen as it is for us bowlers - they don’t have much time to get themselves in.”