So much of the fallout from Sunday’s World Twenty20 final defeat has focused on all-rounder Ben Stokes and England despair, but Eoin Morgan’s side deserve a huge pat on the back for getting that far in the competition.
This England team is starting to become something very special. Getting to the final proved that, it’s just unfortunate that such a feat has been overshadowed by a freak ending to a match, which saw Carlos Brathwaite smash four successive sixes.
The way West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels has carried on since, taunting Stokes in a post-match press conference for instance, has also taken the attention away from what was achieved.
They were so close to arriving home as heroes, just as the victorious England side did from Australia after winning the 2010/11 Ashes Down Under when people used to stop and congratulate us in the streets.
But there is every chance this group of players can get to more finals in the coming years and win white-ball silverware. This team has come such a long way in a very short space of time and it’s not just the odd individual.
Every member of that team put their hand up at some stage. Take Moeen Ali against Afghanistan, if it wasn’t for his batting performance in that clash England would have been knocked out and it would be back to the drawing board almost.
David Willey had a great final, Jason Roy an amazing semi-final, Moeen, as I say, showed glimpses of handling real pressure situations, Adil Rashid started to bowl really well, Chris Jordan came into his own at the death and Joe Root gets better and better.
Stokes, too, should be given a lot of credit for taking on tough situations, being the guy who bowls pressure overs and the fielder on the boundary who has the ball flying towards him. That cannot be forgotten.
He’s an obvious person to throw criticism at because of what happened in that final over and it’s not going to be an easy few weeks for him – there are bound to be idiots who say something stupid – but he has proven over the last year he’s a class act.
The ICC Champions Trophy is being staged in England next year and in 2019 it’s the 50-over World Cup, also on home soil. England are in such good stead for those competitions.
In fact, in all formats they are not far behind the best teams. In Twenty20 and 50-over cricket, England are as good as any side in the world. In Test cricket, they aren’t far away either – they’re in the top three in my opinion.
So while it could so easily have been very different on Sunday, that crazy final over should not cloud the considerable progress which this side has made and continues to make.