T20 win ‘a boost’ for Ashes

T20 win ‘a boost’ for Ashes

Shane Warne admits England’s ICC Twenty20 final win against Australia has given them a psychological advantage ahead of the forthcoming Ashes series.

By (Agencies)

Published: Wed 19 May 2010, 12:28 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:45 AM

Paul Collingwood’s side defeated Australia by seven wickets on Sunday to end their 35-year wait to win a major global tournament and former Australia leg-spinner Warne believes that success could be influential in the Ashes later this year.

“England will have taken a small psychological advantage from Sunday’s final. Australia were just starting to build a bit of momentum and find some consistency in the aftermath of losing last year’s Ashes. But the first time they came up against England in a final they lost,” Warne said in the Daily Telegraph. “That will send a message to Australia that they have to play very well to beat England now in any form of the game. But the Ashes in Australia is very different. It is the hardest series to win and England were embarrassed last time around. England’s planning must be to go out there and beat them every time to keep the momentum going.”

Warne was impressed with the way Collingwood’s men took the fight to the opposition in every match and singled out England spinner Graeme Swann for special praise. “He is adding a lot to all forms of England’s cricket. I have been very impressed. He is the most improved cricketer in the world,” Warne added. “What has struck me most is that as an off-spinner there are only certain ways you can get people out. But he has more than that, he really changes his pace well. Normally when spinners bowl faster they lose their spin. But he can bowl quicker deliveries and still turn it. It is a very good gift and he can adapt it to all forms of the game.”

However, England coach Andy Flower has insisted his side will keep their World Twenty20 final win over Australia in perspective ahead of the upcoming Ashes series with their oldest foes. England, who hold the Ashes after a 2-1 win on home soil last year, beat Australia by a convincing seven wicket margin at the Kensington Oval here on Sunday to win their first major international limited overs title. They now face home series against Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as several one-day internationals against Australia, before heading ‘Down Under’.

England have not won a Test series in Australia since 1986/87 and, with several of the personnel on both sides in the five-day format set to be different from the respective Twenty20 teams, Flower was wary of reading too much into Sunday’s success.

“The Ashes tour is six months away,” he said here on Monday ahead of England’s departure from the Caribbean. “Every time we come up against Australia it does have some sort of shift in the balance of power,” the former Zimbabwe international added. “But we do know they have been an incredible side for a long time and we know that when we go to Australia we will have a huge fight on our hands. There are no illusions in our camp about that.”

Meanwhile Flower, while proud England had belied their reputation as a modest one-day team to win the third edition of the World Twenty20, made it clear there was still room for improvement. “I think there is a long way for us to go,” said Flower, thrust into his post in January last year after a row that cost star batsman Kevin Pietersen the England captaincy and Peter Moores his job as England coach. “This is one form of the game. But if we talk about the England team we talk about all three forms of the game.”

However, he insisted there would be spin-off gains for England from their Twenty20 triumph. “I think one of the greatest things we will get out of this is growth in our self-belief,” Flower said. “The players should believe in themselves — because they have played some outstanding cricket.”

Flower also praised the influence of Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood, leading the side because Test skipper Andrew Strauss has opted out of international cricket’s shortest format.

“He has got a lot more confident about what he is doing,” Flower said. “He feels more comfortable. He has led from the front — I don’t mean his batting but in his attitude. He has always been a bit of a driver of the environment, because he is a nuggety Englishman who will have a go at whatever is thrown at him.”

Strauss will be in charge, with Collingwood set to be back in the ranks, when England face Bangladesh in the first Test at Lord’s, which starts a week on Thursday. Flower was confident the handover would be a “seamless” transition.

“I think the number one option would be to have one captain for all three forms of the game,” he said. “We haven’t had that opportunity and we have had to make do and make the best of a situation as it is. Luckily we have got some really good people who have grown as leaders. Strauss certainly is and Alastair Cook handled himself well in Bangladesh (where he captained the side while fellow opener Strauss took a break) and is good back up for Strauss now. Collingwood has grown. Strauss coming back is not a problem. He is highly respected in our dressing room. He is a good man and it will happen seamlessly.” —

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