Gatting hoping for revenge
Mike Gatting insists England will have to improve on their performances in the Caribbean if they are to snatch back the Wisden Trophy this month.
Last winter England failed to recover from being thrashed in Jamaica and eventually slipped to a 1-0 series defeat despite putting themselves in match-winning positions in both Antigua and Trinidad.
Gatting says England's players will be hurting from losing a series many thought they would win and the Tests at Lord's and Durham gives them the perfect opportunity to gain revenge.
"Everyone expected them to do better than they did," said Gatting when interviewed for episode five of the TwelfthMan Podcast.
"Having lost the first Test they came back very well and had a chance of winning the last three matches. It was disappointing to lose the series but we ended up getting some face back.
"The boys will be disappointed. There was a lot of rebuilding, a calming of the waters, in the West Indies - you could see the team strengthening their resolve. Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower started to work well together. You could see in the selection of some of the sides they have their views and thoughts about what went on in the West Indies and are prepared to have a look at other people.
"The pitches are going to do a bit, for us and them. They have some decent bowlers. We have to be at our best. If we are then we can beat most teams."
Flower's first squad since his full-time appointment as team director certainly raised a few eyebrows with Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan joining the squad for the first time and Ravi Bopara winning the race for the number three position.
But Gatting is pleased with the selection of all three.
"Tim has been around for a long time," he said. "He's been in one or two one-day squads.
"I have only seen Graham bowl once or twice but I like what I've seen. He runs in, swings it out at good pace and has a little bit of Northern grit about him. He wants to bowl, he wants to play, he wants to run in. Playing for England has realised his dream after playing second XI cricket last year. He's got wickets early on. When he got the call he responded with six wickets.
"Ravi is a very talented player. I like the way he plays. He's a confident young lad. Number three is a difficult position but let's see how he goes. It will take some technique in May when it might be doing a bit. They have some good bowlers - Fidel Edwards and one or two others who get it there or thereabouts. He might have to battle for a little while.
"Number three is a very interesting place to bat, a nice place to bat. If you get off to a good start, coming in at number three, the main bowlers are off, the ball is older, it's not doing so much. If you get in early it will get easier from there. You have to battle, sometimes you can go and play, sometimes you can go in against a spinner straight away. It's a question of having a plan and working at it."