18th February 2011

England have now won consecutive One Day (sort of, almost) Internationals. Naysayers who claimed the two Andy’s lacked a master plan for the World Cup may have to eat their words. Not the kind of rude words Jimmy Anderson makes out of alphabetti spaghetti he gets from room service, but the doubting, my eyes, my eyes, make it go away, words, written during our 1-6 Australian jamboree of underachievement.

Because now the pieces of an elaborate jigsaw are falling into place – even if the picture emerging looks suspiciously like an Escher optical illusion.

The changes made are there to been seen. Stuart Broad has had his head shaved so he looks to the opposition like an angry lesbian rather than a coy schoolgirl. Paul Collingwood has been taught to turn his bat round so as to play shots with the flattened surface. And KP has been convinced that if he opens the innings his will be the only pictures making it back to England in time for the evening papers.

But look deeper at the way the 500 runs scored in our two warm–up games only contain four sixes and the game plan management laid out for us is obvious. England are going back to their limited overs virtues of old: batsmen with South African accents nurdling ones and twos. If there’s one thing the opposition won’t be expecting, it’s for us to play in exactly the same way that’s failed at every other World Cup.

Management’s plan is not without risks of course, but Andy Flower has stepped up to the plate and agreed to take the rap if we fail.  Thus, should England win the World Cup it will be down to the ‘Andrew Flower Masterplan’; Andrew taken from the captain’s name and given prominence, Flower taken from our coach and mentioned second to reflect his support role. Whereas if we’re knocked out in the group stages, emphasis will be reversed and blame placed firmly on the ‘Andy Strauss Gameplan’.

It takes a man to carry the can like that.

Well done, Andy Flower.