I think England‘s inexperience has shown as they have lost the last two Twenty20 internationals in New Zealand to slip 2-1 behind in the five-match series.
Six players went on the tour without a cap to their name and all of them played the most recent game on Tuesday, which England conspired to lose when it seemed they were in complete command of the chase.
T20 can be a cruel format for bowlers and I feel for Saqib Mahmood, who has returned figures of 1-46 and 1-49 in his first two games.
Mahmood has done well for Lancashire and deserved his call-up, but short boundaries in New Zealand and quality, powerful batsmen like Colin de Grandhomme and Martin Guptill can punish you.
I wouldn’t look too much into his first performances though. T20 is a batsman’s game and one bad over can wreck figures, so everyone can go for 40 or 50 runs every now and then.
Mahmood should look at his team-mate Tom Curran as a positive example to follow. Curran made his England debut at the same age as Mahmood, 22, and has honed his skills massively since to improve as a cricketer.
The same goes for Pat Brown, who has received some tap across the three matches. The Worcestershire bowler’s variations are very effective on the slower wickets back home but on truer pitches and against batsmen who have done their homework on his deliveries he can go the distance.
Brown’s confidence will have been boosted, however, by the news this week that he has been picked up by Melbourne Stars for the upcoming Big Bash season.
As Jofra Archer showed at Hobart Hurricanes, it only takes one brilliant season in T20 cricket to become hot property. I think he’s a smart buy from the Stars as the size of the MCG outfield should suit Brown’s signature slower-ball nicely.
It hasn’t just been about new faces in New Zealand. Having not been involved in the World Cup, Chris Jordan has perhaps been forgotten about a touch, but his performances in the first two games when he returned figures of 2-28 and 3-23 reminded us of his talents.
Jordan has slipped behind the likes of the Curran brothers, Chris Woakes, David Willey and Liam Plunkett in the white-ball bowling ranks, but I think he would be a good selection for the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
He is a brilliant death bowler, useful lower-order batsman and athletic fielder with a lot of experience of playing franchise cricket around the world.
Captain Eoin Morgan mentioned England’s “lack of experience” after their 14-run defeat in Nelson and it’s true that the team only had 142 T20I caps between them, but it was the experienced players who were mainly to blame for the loss.
Dawid Malan and James Vince will take confidence from their scores of 55 and 49, yet they, Morgan and Sam Billings in the middle order should have led the side home and not exposed the inexperienced tail-end to a pressure situation.
As it was, England, who needed 44 runs from 34 balls, lost five wickets for 10 runs to fall short of their chase.
I’m sure there is frustration in the camp and they need to respond with a better performance in the fourth T20 in Napier on Friday.
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