Andy Flower hopes England will flourish before World Twenty20

Andy Flower believes sub-continent pitches will help England defend their Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka this year AFP

Abu Dhabi: Feb 26, 2012

Coach Andy Flower says England’s youthful side have gained vital experience against Pakistan which will help them in their bid to defend their World Twenty20 title later this year.

England levelled the three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan with a comfortable 38-run win in the second match in Dubai on Saturday, setting up an intriguing final game here on Monday.

And Flower believes the experience on the sub-continent like pitches will leave them in good shape to defend their World Twenty20 title they won in the Caribbean in 2010.

“The experience that those guys will have gained in a pressure situation against a very good opposition in these conditions will be absolutely vital to their growth and to our growth as a side,” Flower told reporters here on Sunday.

Pakistan, 2009 World Twenty20 champions, won the first game by eight runs on Thursday – also in Dubai.

Flower stressed his team need to concentrate on the Sri Lanka event.

“We have to have, at this stage, an eye on the World Twenty20, which is in six or seven months time and therefore how we play against these spinners in these conditions and how quickly we learn is vital to our chances in Sri Lanka,” said Flower.

“Most of our Twenty20 matches are now in England, so it will be different cricket and we have to make the most use of this next one which, no doubt, we will be aiming to do. But this experience out here has been great for us.”

Flower praised newcomer Jonny Bairstow who smashed an unbeaten 60 to help England to 150-7 before paceman Steven Finn’s 3-30 kept Pakistan down to 112.

“I thought Bairstow s innings was outstanding; very skilful, firstly against some reasonable spin bowling and against a very good bowler in Umar Gul. And very powerful as well. That s a very good combination to have.

“Our quicks have shown high standards throughout this tour and it was no different last night, they were excellent. And (Graeme) Swann is an outstanding T20 bowler; he again squeezed them in the middle overs,” said Flower.

Flower said the current tour has been fascinating.

“Probably it s been surprising that we lost the Test series 3-0 and then won the ODI series 4-0, which is exactly the opposite of what most people would have expected.

“I think we ve learned some good lessons from the Test experience. I think you can see some of the learning coming out in some of the batsmen at the moment which is great to see, it would be very disappointing to go through those tough experiences and not come out the other side as better players.”

Flower hoped Finn, who took 13 wickets in the one-day series, will get his Test place back.

“There s no doubt he will play Test cricket and quite a lot of it, I d think. When and in which circumstances and how hiscompetition for a Test place play – will determine how quickly that happens.” (AFP)