Swann pulls no punches
Graeme Swann offered an honest assessment of England's failings after they slipped to a shock 25-run defeat against West Indies in their final game of the summer, the second NatWest International T20 at the Kia Oval.
A youthful side, who romped to a 10-wicket win against the same opponents at this venue on Friday, endured a torrid time with the bat this evening as they failed to chase down a modest target of 114.
Left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin, one of three new faces in a similarly inexperienced Windies line-up, did much of the damage in returning 3-9 from four overs with the new ball, while four of England’s last six wickets fell to run-outs.
Swann, standing in as captain in this format for the injured Stuart Broad, admitted: “Let’s face it, to not chase 113 in international cricket is unacceptable.
“For half of the game we were exceptional and we put ourselves in a position where we should never ever lose a game of cricket.
“It’s a mixture of things: a bit of pressure, a bit of inexperience and a bit of ineptitude. It all added up to a horror show.
“West Indies bowled and fielded well but not well enough to bowl a team out for 88.”
The tourists profited from skipper Darren Sammy’s bold decision to open the bowling with two debutants in the form of seamer Krishmar Santokie, who bowled Alex Hales with a superb slower ball, and Mathurin.
Asked about the latter’s remarkable impact, Swann added: “You can't argue with 3-9, but the three guys who got out to him (Craig Kieswetter, Ravi Bopara and Jonathan Bairstow) will probably look at the shots they played and be pretty horrified.
“We allowed him to get exceptional figures and he did catch us on the hop
“I would hope each batsman who got out will look at it and think ‘I won't do that again’.”
Despite Mathurin’s success, England retained hopes of victory heading into the closing overs of their innings.
“We were still in the game at six, seven down (with the required rate) at a run a ball,” Swann acknowledged.
“The wickets that fell, very few were caused by the ball deviating. It was poor shots and poor execution of those shots.”
England’s unexpected defeat ensures they finish a fabulous international summer, in which they remained unbeaten against India in all formats, on a low note.
Swann continued: “It is disappointing because we said it would have been a great cherry on the cake to round things off here.
“We did that for 50% of the game. If someone had said, 'You'll keep them down to 113', there wouldn't be a single person in world cricket who wouldn't take it.
"I've never played a T20 where such a small total has been defended and that has to be a sore point for our team today.”
Swann could at least take heart from the performance of Durham leg-spinner Scott Borthwick, who returned figures of 1-15 on his international Twenty20 debut.
The 21-year-old accounted for Windies opener Johnson Charles with a superb googly and also showed admirable maturity with the bat before being run out after Swann called him through for a run, only to send his young partner back.
“Scott Borthwick on debut, we couldn't have asked for more,” said the skipper.
“Only going for 15 and getting his first wicket with a googly through the gate – that was a great start for him.
"To be fair, he was the one guy with the bat who didn’t do something crazy because I’m more than happy to hold my hands up and say I ran him out by a country mile. It’s a very positive debut for him.”
If Borthwick’s first England appearance in this format was encouraging, Mathurin enjoyed a dream night after receiving his maiden international call-up.
The St Lucian, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Friday, said: “I’m really, really ecstatic. I believed in myself and I’m normally a really confident person.
“The English people haven’t seen me before so I knew I could go out and get the job done. We have a good team unity going on and the cohesiveness just worked.
“In domestic Twenty20 I’ve been opening the bowling for Windward Islands, so it was nothing new.
“I had some nerves, but if you don’t have nerves you’re not human, especially at international level. I just tried to shut that out and move on from there.”
Mathurin believes his side answered many of their critics with their performance and admitted: “We had a point to prove.
“England played really well on Friday so we were playing for some pride and then we were coming back hard at them. We knew we could do it.
“When we went into the dressing room (captain) Darren (Sammy) is always someone who is confident, and he was cheering us on and telling us we can win.
“Hopefully this shows everyone the energy and enthusiasm and hopefully everyone sees what we can do. In the first game the guys were a bit rusty, but as an international team you expect to bounce back.”