- World T20
'We can beat anyone in the world' - Bresnan
There was a time when Tim Bresnan was considered a lucky mascot for England. He tasted victory in each of his first 13 Tests - a record only bettered by Adam Gilchrist - and picked up a winner's medal at his first major tournament when England won the 2010 World T20 in the Caribbean.
The last couple of years have not been quite so rosy, as injuries interrupted his progression and then England entered a tailspin almost as soon as they touched down in Australia. He began that tour recovering from a back injury, missing the first two Tests, but alongside Stuart Broad he has been practically everywhere with England across three continents over the last five months.
Reliable as Yorkshire tea, Bresnan is still one of the players England can wheel out to provide some pithy wisdom when the chips are down. They have endured a horrendous run, losing 17 matches out of 21 in all formats, but Bresnan is the sort of man who can say England believe they can win three in a row if they need to at the World T20 and sound like he means it.
"We're still confident," he said. "Things haven't gone our way over the last few months but we still believe we're playing good cricket, turning out good performances. But stringing together everything at the same time is a problem for us. If we can find that spark and everything clicks, we can beat anyone in the world."
"A couple of lads have been having good games, but you need three or four players to influence games and get you the win. We haven't really been able to do that."
England's next game is against Sri Lanka, who have won two from two and are one of the favourites for the title. There were some encouraging signs against New Zealand before rain - fractionally after the thunder and lightning - saw England end up on the wrong side of the Duckworth-Lewis equation again. The squad have been playing together for the last month, having toured the West Indies in preparation for the tournament, and Bresnan thinks they are not far from clicking.
"It's more of a mindset is T20. We certainly have the power players, we have everything in the armoury to win games of cricket," Bresnan said. "We just can't put our finger on why we've not been able to piece together a good performance.
"We've been playing six weeks of T20. It's been good, we've gelled as a team. I think we're still confident in the dressing-room despite not winning many games. I think we all realise we need that win to kick us off - and we'll be off and running."
Much has been made of England's regeneration and Bresnan put as positive a spin as possible on their travails over the winter. "They say winning hides a multitude of sins and it can do that in your own performance as well as the team's. It's only when you lose, that's only when you analyse in-depth stuff that has actually gone wrong or stuff that might have been going wrong for a while."
Questions have been asked of England's skills in this format, which appear to have slipped as players from other countries hone their abilities in the more high-octane franchise leagues around the globe. Their somewhat frantic attempts to clear the ropes in the opening game against New Zealand were a partial success, with England recording the highest T20 score on the ground, but it still lacked one batsman stamping an indelible mark with a sizeable innings.
"I don't think that is the case," Bresnan said, when asked if England were falling behind. "I still believe we're doing the right things. We're always analysing the footage of the good sides and seeing what the other lads are doing. It's not necessarily trying to emulate them, it's trying to put our own twist on a winning formula. We're looking to do that over the course of the next three games."
Although the bowlers did not get much of an outing on Saturday, they will be under just as much scrutiny as the batsmen against Sri Lanka. A video compilation called 'When Yorkers Go Wrong' is surely waiting to be compiled and uploaded to YouTube but Bresnan is confident the delivery can be an important tool for England, even if bowlers are often accused of forgetting how to bowl them.
"Yorker is the ball if you can get it right. As we've seen if you get it wrong it can disappear or go for an inside edge for four," he said. "You have to practice but it is more mental than anything. It is a difficult ball to bowl when the pressure is on. You're aiming at a four-inch square in front of the stumps and it's not very easy to hit. I feel as though it is one of my biggest weapons and the more I can get it right, the more successful we will be."
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here