22nd October 2011

It can be a thankless task being England head coach. Take today for example. How is Andy Flower supposed to raise our spirits for the fourth of a five match series when we’re already three-nil down?

It’s not like he can give a rousing speech about one last chance to avoid a whitewash. That has to wait until the game next Tuesday. Instead, tomorrow’s match feels more like Custer’s penultimate stand, or the next to last supper – the one where Jesus had some hummus with the family and complained about Judas looking at him “in a funny way”.

So it’s hard to know what Andy can say to us. There’s no point asking our batsmen to relax and be their natural self at the crease. How the hell will that clear their minds? They’ve no idea who they are. Most of them took until their mid-twenties to work out their own nationality.

And how can he ask the bowlers to ‘bond as a unit’ when we haven’t had human contact since the release of Pro Evolution Soccer 2012? Place a pixelated avatar of Lionel Messi over Steven Finn’s face and I’ll high-five him. Not before.

Instead, Andy will probably fall back on reinforcing the message of sticking to our plans. That’s Plan A obviously. The one England having been using on the sub-continent for the last 20 years. There’s no way we’ll go to Plan B. What would be the point? If Plan A wasn’t working we’d have already moved on from it by now.

Just imagine how much worse our results would have been if we had…