England today flew home from the World Cup with mixed emotions after their winter of vastly varying fortunes.
Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss will hold a management debrief in which they can reflect on what went so right in the Ashes but must also ponder what went not nearly so well on the subcontinent. When that discussion takes place Flower will doubtless revisit the themes he has already expressed in the aftermath of England’s 10-wicket quarter-final trouncing by Sri Lanka.
He regrets a lack of consistency and a fearful mental approach. Strauss may cite more forcefully England’s impossible winter schedule - mitigation he has been reluctant to voice for fear of making excuses.
Whatever conclusions drawn - Strauss’ future as one-day international captain will be at issue, for example - both men will be honest in their appraisals. Flower was just that as he assessed how England had come up we so short against the co-hosts.
“We came here to win a World Cup and we are not going to do that” he said. “To lose out in the quarter-finals, even though we’ve been beaten soundly, is very disappointing - and we didn’t want to go home right now. We’ve been pretty inconsistent in our limited-overs performances in recent months.”
There have been memorable moments, in England’s eventful campaign over the last six weeks - delivered by endeavour, durability and no little skill but rarely by brilliance. “We’ve played some decent stuff, but in the main we’ve not done enough to get in the final weeks of the tournament,” added the coach. “To be honest, we didn’t deserve to get there - because we haven’t played well enough.”