The 2016 World Twenty20 had brilliant skills on show.
The power of Gayle, Fletcher, Braithwaite was incredible yet it wasn’t always a tournament for the power hitter. The variety of playing surfaces surfaces meant that we had different batting skills on show at different venues. Players like Root, Kohli and Amla all flourished too.
The ability to deliver excellent yorkers won England their semi final yet the slower ball made its comeback in this tournament. Dwayne Bravo revelled in pitch conditions that held the ball up slightly.
Spin played its part.
Some of the catching was breathtaking.
It was a fascinating World Cup that gives hope to all types of players for the future.
West Indies’ Day
Congrats to the West Indies: Double World Champions on the same day. It was great to be sitting at breakfast in sunny St Lucia and watch the Windies girls dancing and celebrating. It’s what sport is about.
However, it was less fun being an Englishman watching the second final.
The ebbs and flows of the game, starting with the second ball of the game, were quite incredible. I lived and breathed each ball with the players even though I was thousands of miles away from Kolkata.
I cast my eye across to my left hand side and watched another Englishman do the same. We both cheered, we both held our head in our hands at some points and ended up sitting in silence at the end of the game. Feeling broken.
As the last ball sailed over the boundary, I placed a beer in front of him, put my hand on his shoulder and told him how proud I was of him.
The Englishman next to me was Andrew Strauss.
Strauss and England
A year ago, the two of us sat in the same resort discussing the state of English white ball cricket. It wasn’t in a good place. We had made poor choices in our selections, had awful strategies, we were fearful, over analytical and edgy as a team.
This all reflected in the performance at the 2015 ICC World Cup.
Straussy was asked if he was interested in the MD role during that very week.
A few days later, he was appointed and quickly put to bed the Kevin Pietersen situation before setting about appointing a coaching team to push English white ball cricket forward into, and beyond, the 2019 ICC World Cup.
12 months on and England have a side that almost - thanks! Carlos Brathwaite - won a World Cup. The side are great to watch, full of character, fearless, smiley and love playing cricket under massive pressure as a unit.
It feels as if the English public is back in love with its team and that makes me feel very positive for the future.
How did Straussy do it?
He appoint a world-class coaching team.
The coaching team are supportive, innovating and yet are happy to sit behind the team rather than stand out in front of it. This coaching team reminds me of the one that worked under Duncan Fletcher in the early 2000s.
Trevor Bayliss says little but when he does he nails it. He is like a father figure to the likes of Buttler, Stokes, Root and Ali. Trevor has had significant success on the international stage in white ball cricket with Sri Lanka and has won the IPL as a coach. He was a great Strauss appointment.
Paul Farbrace is the guy who gets around the team, builds rapport with all the players and motivates. Farby won the T20 World Cup with Sri Lanka.
Ottis Gibson is the bowling technician, master planner and man manager of the England bowling unit. Ottis coached the West Indies to their first T20 World Cup.
Paul Collingwood is the link between the coaches and the players (still being a player himself). He has added massive value to the support staff and Colly is still the only England Captain to lift a World Cup above his head.
Now that is a team, behind a team. One which will continue to propel England to white ball success. I have a good feeling about 2019.
Great people achieve great things.
Get your people right and good things happen!
The quiet workers, the exciting team.
What I love about the way Straussy and Bayliss have done it over the past 12 months is that they go about their business quietly. They never talk about how important they are or what role they play.
They project others and not themselves.
I wish more coaches did this.
It really annoys me to hear coaches and leaders who tell everyone how “unique” they are or how “important” they are in ‘their’ players lives.
These two leaders quietly put the strategy in place whilst empowering players to make their own decisions. They encourage boldness and risk taking. There is no consequence placed on the player on the rare occasion that it’s goes wrong.
Look how Ben Stokes has been supported over the past 3 days. Stokesy has already come through the other side of a tough situation. There is no doubt that Ben will come back stronger as a result of this brilliant support.
Can we learn from the Strauss example?
It has taken Andrew Strauss less than 12 months to repair a totally broken ship before kickstarting England’s cricket Renaissance.
He has set a very clear vision (to win the 2019 ICC World Cup on home soil).
He has made great appointments and selections in line with his white ball vision.
He empowers his staff and players.
He does his business confidently, yet quietly and is not interested in his own press.
If your club is struggling to find its identity and vision then could someone or a group of people follow Strauss’ lead and achieve some special things?
I’m sure there are.