Swann looking for improvement
England have had to digest back-to-back defeats against Sri Lanka but off-spinner Graeme Swann revealed they have an alternative method of assessing their NatWest Series performances.
After triumphing at The Kia Oval, Alastair Cook’s men have since suffered defeats at Headingley and Lord’s but England have an extra means of pinpointing where they have gone wrong, and slid 2-1 down in the NatWest Series going into tomorrow’s fourth match of five at Trent Bridge - courtesy of bowling coach David Saker’s ’Matchswing’.
Since Saker’s arrival, just before their victorious ICC World Twenty20 campaign last year, England have been invited at each post-match debrief to check how they rate on his patent scoresheet.
’Matchswing’ - kept under wraps inside the dressing room, until Swann chose to go public today - penalises bowlers and fielders for unforced errors.
“We’ve got a scoring system called our ’Matchswing’, and it’s been off the charts in the last two games,” said Swann.
“It’s a system we’ve got, a way of marking how you’re performing. It’s a team thing - our own little way of marking our own performances. I can’t go into it. It’s not been good.
“It is not a particularly complicated system - it can’t be... because the bowlers have to work it out.
“It is a simple way of logging your performance. It is for the whole team but it’s driven by the bowlers.”
’Matchswing’ appears to operate on a collective points differential, offsetting mistakes against successes.
The scorebook from Sunday's defeat at Lord’s records 10 English wides - a factor doubtless replicated in their ’Matchswing’ total.
It is unclear whether the rating system requires pen and paper - or maybe more modern technology but it has typically indicated a pleasing level of consistency
“Our one-day record has been very good, so our ’Matchswings’ have been good,” said Swann. “Saker’s belief is that you cannot win a match if you have a very bad ’Matchswing’.
“In the World Cup they veered wildly, because one day we were ’filthy’ and the next we were world-beaters. It is all about getting back to being world-beaters every game.”
England aspire to a new 50-over era under new captain Alastair Cook. However, Swann knows that they have not done themselves justice in the series thus far.
“The Sri Lankans upped their performance and now we have to match that performance if not surpass it to beat them. We’ve bowled too many wides, a few misfields and extra balls,” added Swann.
“Since The Oval, where we were as on the money as we could be, we’ve been off the mark. It’s that same inconsistency our one-day team has shown for a long time.
“It’s something we’re desperately trying to eradicate, but we’re not panicking this time around.
“It would be very easy to panic, make widespread changes and get different personnel in. But it’s up to the 11 guys out there to up their performance.
“At The Oval, there were no such problems - so we need to revert to that and try to put Headingley and Lord’s out of our system.”