The squad England has assembled for the Twenty20 World Cup has all the elements for success, but has been poorly managed both in terms of selection and match tactics.
The worst example of this has been the batting orders, which have failed to reflect form or common sense. Prior is not a ODI opener, much less a Twenty20 opener. He does not have the ability or the nous to fulfil this role, yet has been a permanent fixture in it. Luke Wright, though he has potential, has failed to find form so far and is cruelly exposed at the top of the order.
What is needed is someone who can hit over the top and improvise to maximise run output while the fielding restrictions are in place. To my mind there is no better hitter in the team than Mascarenhas. With only two fielders allowed out of the circle in the first six overs he has the ability to hit over the top and cause early carnage.
Even if he failed to build on a quick start, he would almost certainly score at such a rate that England would have the foundation to build a big innings or chase down a formidable total.
He could ideally be partnered by Maddy, who keeps the scoreboard ticking over as well as having the ability to hit boundaries. Solanki may have been another option, but he has not played in the tournament so far. It would be foolhardy to throw him into the competition in such a key position with England desperate for victories, though he should merit serious consideration in the middle order.
With Pietersen at three and a middle order of Collingwood, Shah and Solanki, England would be well placed to build on a quick fire start. Prior and Flintoff could add some late blasting, if required, without being under the pressure their current batting spots generate.
There can be little doubt that if England are to progress in the competition they need some ruthless pruning of their underperformers and a radical rethink of their batting order.