Anderson’s full of hope


Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

James Anderson believes England can pull off an opening-night shock when they begin their World Cup against favourites Australia in Melbourne on Saturday.

England have lost all three tri-series games to their oldest rivals, including a 112-run defeat in the final, and have a woeful recent record against them in Australia.

But former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has already suggested that record will count for nothing in front of an MCG sell-out and Anderson agrees.

“There’s a genuine belief that we can surprise a few teams, we feel confident enough that we can beat anyone if we have our day,” he said.

“In a tournament like this it is all about qualifying for the quarter-finals and then you are three matches away from winning the World Cup.

“We’re really keen on getting off to a positive start tomorrow and hopefully everything else will take care of itself after that.”

England let strong positions slip through their grasp in their two most recent matches against Australia and Anderson admits that they can only hope to beat them with a more consistent performance.

“We played really well in patches,” he said.

“We know we have work to do probably in the middle periods both with bat and ball and at the death with the ball is something we’re still working really hard on.

“We’ve done some really good things in that tri-series. We got over 300 against Australia and couldn’t quite defend it, things like that are building confidence in our team.

“We’re hoping we can put things together tomorrow when it really counts.”

England will, however, not only have to take on a rampant Australia, but also a wall of sound from a capacity 90,000 crowd inside the MCG.

It was at the same venue that a 20-year-old Anderson, with tints in his hair, made his England debut – and more than a decade later he knows fully what to expect.

“I’ve played here a few times before and the atmosphere that 90,000 people can create, you want to play in front of crowds like this, you want to play in front of big crowds and show off your talent in front of them,” he said.

“The 20-year-old version of me was just happy to be there and enjoying the occasion. The abuse at the time was a bit of a shock and tomorrow it won’t be a shock.

“I know now you have to enjoy occasions like this – this is something a player dreams of.”

If Anderson is expecting a verbal volley from over the fence – he laughed off a suggestion that the Valentine’s Day date might soften any Australian barbs – he is not expecting any tetchiness on the field.

The International Cricket Council has suggested before the tournament it would clamp down on poor on-field behaviour, with Australia opener David Warner apparently under the spotlight after his recent run-ins with India.

Anderson denied England would look to bait the hot-headed left-hander, saying: ” Having played against him in the past I’m not sure he needs too much encouragement.

“We’re going to concentrate on what we do. Our job is to get him out, not to rile him up.”

Despite having his own much-publicised on-field spat with Michael Clarke last winter, Anderson believes tensions with Australia have actually simmered this time around.

“I think so. We’ve played three games already against them in the tri-series and I thought that was played in the right spirit,” he said.

“Both teams are very competitive but played in the right manner and I presume that will continue tomorrow.”

Clarke will be missing at the MCG, after Australia opted not to risk him following his return from hamstring surgery, and while Anderson is wary of labelling that a positive for England he thinks it might have some effect on the co-hosts.

“I wouldn’t say I’m glad (to see Clarke miss the game) because the guys replacing him are world-class players,” he said.

“From the point of view that he’s been the leader he has for the Australians over the last few years, and what he has achieved from them, I guess from that respect it’s a good thing.

“But the guys that have come in have done a good job and we know we’re up against stiff opposition tomorrow.”

Anderson also hit back at claims from former England captain Geoffrey Boycott that out-of-form skipper Eoin Morgan is overrated.

Morgan has scored just two runs in his past four innings, including consecutive first-ball ducks against Australia, which has led to Boycott to question his ability.

“It’s rich coming from him,” Anderson said. “Morgs is a world-class player and has been for however many games he’s played.

“He’s been great for us and we’re just hopeful he can get some form because we’ve seen how destructive he can be when he’s in form.

“We’ve seen him get a hundred already on this trip against Australia so hopefully he can regain that form going into the World Cup when it matters.”

Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search