England will bounce back - Swann
Graeme Swann is confident England can put their “unacceptable” NatWest International T20 defeat at the hands of West Indies behind them as they look to build on an otherwise impressive summer.
Swann’s team suffered a surprising series-levelling reverse at the Kia Oval yesterday after being bowled out for just 88 – their first two-figure score in Twenty20 cricket.
England’s abject batting display was all the more surprising considering they had romped to a target of 126 inside 16 overs and without the loss of any wickets on the same pitch 48 hours earlier.
However, Swann, who led a youthful team for a second time in the absence of regular Twenty20 skipper Stuart Broad, is sure there will not be a repeat performance.
“It’s just a case of knowing what we have done wrong and making sure it never happens again,” said the off-spinner.
“We’re a very honest team and a very honest group. It’s a harsh environment in international cricket and you find out a few things about people when they are under the pump.
“One or two guys didn’t respond that well, but I’m sure, knowing this team as I do and the way they have trained, it’s a mere blip.
“I wouldn’t write off any of this XI who have played, or indeed any of the 14 in the squad, because they are all superb cricketers.”
With the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan missing from England’s line-up, it would be easy for Swann to point to a lack of experience.
The inclusion of Alex Hales, Ben Stokes, Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Scott Borthwick ensured five members of England’s top eight had a combined total of six Twenty20 caps prior to Sunday’s match.
However, Swann is adamant such a statistic cannot be used as mitigation for his side’s failings.
“I'd love to find an excuse for them and say they're inexperienced, but they're not inexperienced in Twenty20 cricket,” added the skipper.
“I'm not just blaming the top six, I'm blaming the 11 players with the bat because we were pretty appalling.
“Everyone will be honest in this team. They will hold their hands up and look at their dismissals and say ‘I did something wrong there that I shouldn’t have done.’
“If you don’t have someone putting their hand up and winning the game, if all 11 of you don’t bother putting your hand up, then it’s going to be very difficult.”
The dramatic nature of England’s collapse made it easy to overlook another superb display from the hosts in the field as they restricted the Windies to 113 for five.
Borthwick’s figures of 1-15 from four overs on debut were particularly encouraging, while Samit Patel and Jade Dernbach also impressed en route to 2-22 and 1-19 respectively.
Reflecting on England’s efforts with the ball and their decision to field three spinners, Swann said: “In the future, somewhere down the line over the next 12 months, we may very well play on wickets that dictate that we need a lot of spin options and that was a massive positive. I think the whole bowling performance over the last two games has been a huge positive.
“Dernbach, at the end again, has proven to be a world leader in what he does. Scott Borthwick was exceptional in the middle and Samit at the top I thought was excellent.”
West Indies’ star performer was undoubtedly Garey Mathurin, a previously unknown left-arm spinner who returned 3-9 from four overs after being entrusted with sharing the new ball on his first international appearance.
At 28, Mathurin could have been forgiven for thinking his chances of representing the Windies had passed.
Yet he said: “God works in mysterious ways. Everybody has their turn and it’s just that my turn came at the age of 28. I’m just trying to make the best of it and move on.”
Mathurin believes his close friendship with skipper Darren Sammy, a fellow St Lucian, helped him to conquer any nerves.
“I’ve been playing with Darren from a very tender age,” he explained. “We made our senior debut for our countries at the same time, we’re basically best friends and we’ve been playing together for a very long time.
“It’s a good feeling with him leading. I felt more comfortable and was able to go out there and do what we were meant to do.”