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Strauss and Flower ready for England World Cup inquest.

Byline: DavidCLough

ENGLAND flew home from the World Cup with inevitably mixed emotions after their arduous winter of vastly varying fortunes.

Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss will hold a management debrief in due course, in which they can still reflect on what went so right in the Ashes but must also ponder what went not nearly so well on the sub-continent.

When that discussion takes place, after a sensible springtime cooling period, coach and captain will characteristically shirk no issues. 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, rather than fearless, mental approach.

Strauss may cite more forcefully England's impossible winter schedule - mitigation he has been reluctant to voice publicly for fear of sounding like a beaten captain making excuses.

Whatever other points are made and 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 scrambled into the knockout stages, and then come up well short against the co-hosts.

"We came here to win a World Cup and we are now 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 Flower.

"To be honest, we didn't deserve to get there - because we haven't played well enough."

England were lauded just under a year ago for their meticulous planning and execution of the required skills as they at last won a maiden International Cricket Council trophy, at the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, but they never looked likely to follow up that achievement here.

"They're different forms of the game, obviously, and the 50-over game is more like a game of chess than the Twenty20," said Flower.

"This match was a very good example of playing with fear.

"We were very tentative; we had a very poor start, and now we have paid the price for that tentativeness."

Flower, who always says only what he means and wants to say, knows the value of thought before utterance - and he will wait before he specifies why he thinks England failed again at the World Cup.

"I don't want to talk too much about those reasons right now," he said.

"I think it's best that we travel home, clear our heads and then we can look back on the last few months and review it properly - and probably with a cleaner set of eyes and a clearer mind."

Strauss, broadly, reads from the same script.

He welcomes the future rescheduling which means that never again will England, or fellow quarter-final losers Australia, be asked to play an Ashes and a World Cup in the same winter.

But he will not be suckered into dressing that up as the reason for another early departure by England from a competition they have still yet to win after 10 attempts.

"It's a huge amount to ask players to tour Australia for three months, the highest-intensity cricket for an English team, and then go straight into a World Cup without spending any time at home," he said.

"The scheduling is not good and doesn't give you the best chance.

"But that's not an excuse for not doing well here.

"You've still got to go out and play, and each team starts at nought for nought at the beginning of the game.

"But clearly lessons have been learnt, and that cycle is changing. It would have been good if it had changed before this one."


England captain Andrew Strauss watches another Sri Lankan boundary fly past him
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Mar 28, 2011
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