I FEEL a bit sorry for Ashley Giles.
England’s defeat against Holland on Monday was embarrassing, and it capped a poor winter.
But was it the coach’s fault?
I don’t think so.
Now I’m not wanting to have a go at the England men, and there are certainly some fine players within their team, but they haven’t done themselves justice.
There’s only so much a coach can do. He can prepare the team, and help pick the side, but after that it’s down to the players.
The coach can’t go on and bowl, and he can’t go on and bat.
Giles (pictured) couldn’t do any of those things against Holland.
We had the game on in the dressing room during our match against Kent and managed to catch glimpses of it.
It didn’t make for good viewing from an English perspective.
The batsmen have done really well in the tournament before that, scoring 172 against New Zealand, chasing down 190 to beat Sri Lanka, and scoring 190-odd against South Africa, but the batting was awful against Holland.
Too many players looked as though they just wanted to go home.
A lot of people use coaching as an excuse when things go wrong, but the players have to take responsibility.
Take the fielding for example. England have built up a reputation over the last few years as being a top fielding team, but there were far too many dropped catches during the World T20, and it was all very sloppy.
That’s an area that Paul Collingwood – who has been helping Giles out as assistant coach – has been very good at himself over the years, and he will be disappointed and hurt by that.
He sets his standards high, especially in the field, but the players just couldn’t reproduce them.
There weren’t many positives to come out of the tournament for England, but the main one was certainly Alex Hales.
He hit a fantastic century to beat Sri Lanka, and looks like he could be a real star in the side for years to come, but unfortunately there was no one else who really stood out.
In a big, high-profile competition like the World T20, you’ve got to make at least the semi-finals, and England will be massively disappointed they’re coming home early.
But it comes back to the Kevin Pietersen situation.
If you’re not going to pick your best player for an international tournament, you’re never going to stand a chance of winning it.
As for Giles, there is some suggestion that this experience may have harmed his chance of getting the England head coach role, but I think the decision has already been made and this won’t have changed that.
PRE-season is great for blowing the cobwebs away, but it’s also important to develop a winning mentality and developing strategies for the coming season.
This last few days we’ve been down in Canterbury playing against Kent in a couple of limited overs games.
It’s good to get time out in the middle, and good to get time outdoors.
We had an excellent run-out in Abu Dhabi against the MCC in the four-day format, and it’s been good against Kent to play a one-day game and Twenty20 match.
But what we really need to do now is start building up some momentum going into the season.
We lost the four-day game in Dubai and were beaten by three wickets in the one-dayer against Kent.
Everyone has now had a good run-out. Batsmen have spent time in the middle and bowlers have had some long spells.
And while results don’t matter too much, it’s important we get that winning mentality back.
It’s not just that, though.
Pre-season games such as these are also good for laying down a blueprint of how we want to play this season, looking at bowling to different fields and developing a way of playing.
We’ve got one more game to get ourselves tuned up in, a three-dayer against the University starting on Monday, and then it’s into the defence of our Championship crown.