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'Hellish' England are there for the taking in May . . .

England's cricketers have spent so much time recently plummeting downhill, skating on thin ice, and indulging in public sledging that perhaps they should have applied to compete at the Winter Olympics.

Mudassar Bukhari and Wesley Barresi celebrate the Netherlands' victory over Engalnd in the World T20. Picture: Getty Sport
Mudassar Bukhari and Wesley Barresi celebrate the Netherlands' victory over Engalnd in the World T20. Picture: Getty Sport

They could hardly have fared any worse in Sochi than at the World T20 tournament, where they were soundly beaten by the might of the Netherlands yesterday in Chittagong. Yes, the same Dutch collective who relinquished their precious one-day international status after finishing outwith the top six of the Associate nations at the 2015 World Cup qualifying event in February.

The result was comprehensive and while England had already been eliminated from the tournament, the manner of this latest debacle sparked a diatribe of criticism. Stuart Broad, who has lost his cheeky-chappy persona, described the batting effort as "shocking", which, given how his side were skittled for 88 chasing a 134 target, was merely stating the obvious. Michael Atherton dismissed the notion that his compatriots had been "complacent", on the grounds that the word implied they had hitherto been enjoying rich success, and David Lloyd summed it up as "hellish".

Less than eight months ago, England were dismantling Australia and coasting to a 3-0 triumph in the Ashes. The future seemed positive, promising and laced with potential. Yet, in the intervening period, they have lost their coach, Andy Flower, such talismanic performers as Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott, and there has been so little interest from the planet's elite in the England role that Ashley Giles, Peter Moores and Mark Robinson are the triumvirate in the frame for what should be an elite post.

Giles probably feels as if he has lost the dressing room before he has even got the job. Moores, for his part, has already been in the post, prior to a conscious uncoupling with Pietersen. As for Robinson, who has fulfilled his duties at Sussex with an attention to detail and meticulous care, he is probably not a big enough name at the moment. Hence the sense of another impending crisis.

None of this pays sufficient credit to the Dutch. On a crazy day when wickets elsewhere tumbled like an explosion in a stump factory, they managed 75 from their first 10 overs, while England only struck four 4s in their entire occupation of the crease.

None of their batsmen managed 20 - Ravi Bopara top-scored with 18 - and they had no answer to the canny Mudassar Bukhari and Logan van Beek, both of whom claimed a trio of victims. They were also assisted by some tremendous fielding and catching, something which could not have been said about England.

But the loss demonstrated that, in Twenty20, if you master your basics, have faith in your ability, resolve to play the ball not the bowler's reputation, and have one or two genuinely belligerent hitters, anything can happen. The same applies, albeit to a lesser extent, in the 50-over format.

All of which should provide Scotland with reasons to be quietly confident when they confront the ECB's finest at Mannofield in Aberdeen on May 9. There will be no KP, no Swann, and the chances are that several other leading luminaries will miss the contest to focus on their build-up to the summer. England will be favourites, but the Dutch have now defeated them twice, Ireland have gained several significant scalps.

If the other Associates can do it, the Scots have to put their name on the board as well.

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