World at their feet
Bob Willis gives his player-by-player assessment of England's ICC World Twenty20 Champions.
Last Updated: 17/05/10 10:56am
England's victory in the World Twenty20 final is not just a fantastic boost for the national side but a massive lift for the national game too.
It's very important that cricket tries to stay in the public imagination during this very busy footballing summer and winning an ICC world title will do their chances no harm!
England's attitude to one-day cricket has undergone a complete transformation from five or six years ago when they just paid it lip-service.
Much of the credit for that has to go to Andy Flower, who has met every challenge that has come England's way with meticulous and thorough preparation.
He's put a very, very tight unit together. Even in the adverse conditions of Bangladesh one could see at first hand that this was a very united team and that was underlined in the West Indies.
The selectors must also take plenty of credit. They had the courage of their convictions about Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter when the Lions pair were outperforming the England openers in the Emirates and they didn't have any hesitation in giving them their shot.
And most importantly one has to give the players their due. With that in mind, here's my player-by-player review of England's World Champions...
Michael Lumb - 137 runs at 19.57
Gaining impetus at the start of the innings has long been England's problem; that was the job he was given and it was one he succeeded in, all be it without posting a score above 33. He didn't always get the rub of the green, the final being a clear example when he smacked the ball like a bullet to David Hussey. Overall, he has slotted in very well and his experience in India at the IPL has clearly helped him grow in confidence and stature.
Craig Kieswetter - 190 runs at 31.71
A batsman with no fear but also a conscientious cricketer who works very hard at his game and has always had his eye on representing England. He knows that he has a long way to go with his wicketkeeping if he wants to challenge for five-day honours and it was good to hear he is looking forward to working hard on that at Somerset so he can mount a stronger case. I wondered if he had the game to play the faster Australian bowlers and he proved he could in the most decisive way possible with 63 off 49 balls to add to impressive knocks against New Zealand and South Africa.
Kevin Pietersen - 248 runs at 62
England's talisman was quite rightly player of the series - he remains an outstanding talent despite his recent injury problems and subsequent dip in form. He's come back with a real bang in this tournament. We all knew the class was there and that his difficulties were no more than a blip in his upward graph. There doesn't seem to be anything he can't achieve with the bat and that little pinch of arrogance helps him along the way. I think he's been accepted into the team completely now; he is a team player and he makes a point of stressing that in interview, which is good to hear.
Paul Collingwood - 61 runs at 10.16, 0 wickets (one over)
His first taste of one-day captaincy didn't go so well so I was pleased to see him in the spotlight because he's led the team in a refreshing manner and set the standard in terms of fitness and athleticism. It's so easy to become stereotypical about field placings in one-day cricket but Twenty20 isn't formulaic - the fielding positions and bowling styles have changed so you have to have your wits about you all the time and he equipped himself very well. Along with Flower and fielding coach Richard Halsall, he's done wonders in terms of lifting England's performance in the field. He's got incredible athleticism and hands and set such a high standard that even the least mobile of players have come on leap and bounds. If you think that England's best all-round fielder James Anderson didn't even make the team, it underlines the hard work the others have had to do.
Eoin Morgan - 183 runs at 36.60
The most innovative Twenty20 cricketer in the world at the moment. Before the tournament I thought he would be key to England's chances and with Kieswetter and Pietersen performing so well there wasn't the same sort of pressure on him as there was for instance on Mike Hussey, who tried to do a similar type of job down the Australian order. He set the tone with a fifty against the West Indies and dug England out of a hole against Ireland and the faultless performances just kept coming. I just hope he can go back to Middlesex and make a strong case for playing consistently in the four-day game. It's a bit of a mystery why he hasn't got the runs he should have.
Luke Wright - 90 runs at 30, one wicket at five)
A tremendous competitor who has they type of 'thuggery' you are looking for with the bat down the order in this format. Fearless, unselfish - he wants the team to perform and is happy to give his wicket away if that is what is necessary. His whirlwind 45no off 27 balls in the first match against the West Indies announced he is a force to be reckoned with and while his bowling still needs some work there is plenty of potential there, which makes him a really valuable team member.
Tim Bresnan - 41 runs at 20.5, three wickets at 52.66His form has been a revelation to me. The work he did in Bangladesh in the worst possible bowling conditions was impressive and really paid off in the Caribbean. He can surprise batsmen because he's capable of bowling one that's a bit quicker than you expect and can also change pace downwards too, using the slower-ball bouncer to great effect. It takes some nerve to use different grips on the ball against the best attacking batsman in the world but he did so to great effect and when called upon can give it some handle as well. He'll never be as spectacular as a Flintoff but he may end up being as valuable a player.
Michael Yardy - four wickets at 34, eight runs at four
I'm a big fan of his and fully expect Sussex to win most of their one-day and four-day games once he, Luke Wright and Ed Joyce are reunited in the side. Yardy is a real workhouse. He knows he has limited ability and was probably surprised to get a second taste of international cricket but he's grabbed it with both hands and proved a good foil for Graeme Swann. It's great to see that slow bowling has such a major part to play in the shortest form of the game. Whereas Swann is all out confidence, attack and variation Yardy's style is more miserly, he doesn't give the ball a lot of air but tries to tangle the batsman up - the old-fashioned way of keeping runs down if you like.
Graeme Swann - 10 wickets at 14.40, seven runs
He bowls at such a high standard these days in any circumstances and conditions against any opposition. Any challenge you throw down to him he accepts and comes out with flying colours. The impact he has had on the international stage is quite remarkable and the guy's adrenalin and confidence is infectious. Getting hit out of the ground doesn't bother him at all - he just comes right back at you with more variation. He's got the nerve to bowl it even higher and slower. All in all, he is a tremendous asset to England and they are very lucky to have him at the moment.
Ryan Sidebottom - 10 wickets at 16
Whey Ryan left Bangladesh, a lot of people were thinking that could be the final nail in his career but he's a tough character and he's proved it on this trip. He bounced back to dislodge Anderson from first-choice and you have to give credit to Andy Flower for having the nerve to do that. He did a terrific job because it's not easy setting the tone with the new ball - it's all too easy to get your line slightly wrong and gift the opposition a flying start. If you look at the England attack, with Yardy complementing Swann and Sidebottom's left-arm over complementing Stuart Broad and Bresnan, it looks a very balanced.
Stuart Broad - eight wickets at 17.50
He picked up some key wickets in this tournament - most noticeably Mahela Jayawardene in the semi-finals - to prove that he is continuing to make steady progress with the ball. I was talking to Marcus Trescothick at Taunton on Saturday and he said that Broad is the only bowler who got his juices flowing in the old days - he really had to be on his mettle to face him. Broad's pace is getting better and he is clearly prepared to experiment but he needs to keep an eye on his batting because he has dropped below Swann in the Test order now. A bit more work in that area is required but he is undoubtedly a fine all-round competitor and looking forward an important component in the squad as England prepare to retain the Ashes.
Ravi Bopara - nine runs
It's a shame that his only chance came when Pietersen was on paternity leave but people always have ups and downs in their career. He's still young enough to come back and build on the impressive start he made to his international career before Australia intervened but for now he has to grit his teeth, go back to his county and try to pile on the runs. There doesn't seem to be an immediate opening for him in either form of the game at present so he must bide his time and hope that he doesn't become another Owais Shah.