‘England’s T20 WC win won’t be remembered’
London: Former captain Mike Atherton hailed England`s Twenty20 World Cup triumph as assertion of their potential but said it will not be remembered in the country`s cricketing folklore for long as it was not achieved by an "English" team.
"No one could argue that England did not deserve their triumph in Bridgetown. They were outstanding, as they have been throughout," Atherton said.
"It was Australia who looked the nervous outfit as England`s bowlers bowled quickly and straight and fielders, athletic and alert, boxed them into a corner. England`s attack has more variety and fewer weak links than other countries. Once England negotiated Australia`s new-ball attack, the result was a formality," he wrote.
By winning the Twenty20 World Cup, England bagged their maiden ICC tournament title but Atherton said the triumph could be forgotten quickly.
"Principally, because there is widespread recognition that it (Twenty20) is not the pinnacle of the game ? not at international level, at any rate. Cricketers still regard 50-over World Cup as pinnacle of one-day game," he said.
"Nor can success in a Twenty20 tournament be equated with success over a five-match Test series against Australia. Ask the players involved in both series -- Paul Collingwood and Graeme Swann -- which challenged them more.”
"There is another reason why the achievement of Collingwood`s team would not have gone down in English folklore: people do not generally regard this England team as an `English` team. What is English is a profoundly difficult question ... England`s `foreign legion` have the opportunity and freedom to make their careers here. In that sense, the team do reflect something of the country.”
"But the public are not fools. They know that the team are not representative of the health of the English game in general, and that without Michael Lumb, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen, who learnt their cricket elsewhere, England`s batting would have a far more anaemic look. In that sense, they will not be loved as the heroes of 1966 (World Cup football winning team) were," Atherton said.
Meanwhile, former captain Mike Gatting praised England`s positive mentality in the final against Australia.
"Towards end of the final, they could have nudged their way through to win by one over. But no, they carried on in positive manner, won with three overs to spare against a strong Australia side," Gatting said.
"That`s something we`ve been missing in all our cricket for the last 10 years. We`ve managed to beat sides, the best sides at times, but we`ve never had that consistency that the West Indies had through the 80s and Australians through the 90s."