Another loss unthinkable – Farbrace

Published: Thursday 12th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Assistant coach Paul Farbrace is wary that England’s failed World Cup campaign might yet have one more shock in store and admitted it would be “horrendous” to lose their final game against Afghanistan in Sydney on Friday.

England have little to gain from a fixture that has almost been forgotten amid the recriminations that have stung them since their premature exit from the tournament was confirmed with a 15-run defeat to Bangladesh on Monday.

Farbrace conceded the mood among the squad has since been “pretty ordinary”, which was reflected in a lacklustre first training session back at the SCG on Wednesday.

England were faced with a similar situation at last year’s World Twenty20, when they were bowled out for 88 and suffered an embarrassing defeat to Holland in their final group game, after they had already been knocked out of the competition.

After the fall-out of the past few days, it is a situation Farbrace is keen not to see repeated.

“If losing the game to Bangladesh was terrible, we couldn’t possibly imagine what it will be like if (Friday) goes against us,” he said.

“That would be horrendous. Our job now is to make sure we give ourselves the best chance, clear heads and go and play proper cricket (on Friday).”

Farbrace was not a part of the England set-up when they suffered their Dutch defeat at the World Twenty20 – he was instead in charge of Sri Lanka as they went on to win the title.

Soon after the 47-year-old was drafted in to work alongside Peter Moores, whose position as coach has come under increasing scrutiny during the World Cup.

Moores has been accused, among other things, of an apparent over-reliance on statistics and, after the defeat to Bangladesh, drew criticism for suggesting he would need to “look at data”.

Farbrace, however, believes any suggestion England are too busy crunching the numbers is incorrect and revealed his Sri Lanka team were more reliant on statistics.

“There has been a lot said about the stats and team meetings – with the Sri Lanka team we had more team meetings and we looked at stats more than the England team currently do,” he said. “There’s no question about that.

“We had a team of six people working for us during the Twenty20 World Cup last year with the Sri Lanka team, in India, who were providing us with data straight away after a game and then the next morning that we then used to prepare and practice for the next game.

“That’s what won us the final, that our preparation from fantastic statistics had helped us to bowl in the right places for the last four overs and win that final.

“So I think that’s tough on Pete, but he accepts that. He knows that comes with the territory.”

England’s players each have an iPad which they can use to download footage and statistics tailored to them ahead of a match.

Farbrace denied the players were obliged to use the information, adding: “It’s up to them if they want to use it.

“Ian Bell is someone who is a very well planned and methodical bloke. He wants to know how many net bowlers we’ve got, will there be a left-arm seamer, will there be a right-arm seamer – he probably looks at his footage in detail.

“Moeen Ali will come to me and say: ‘Listen, Farb, I’m not interested in what is on my iPad – I just want to go and bat’.

“We praised him for that, and you guys praised him for that, in the way that he played against Scotland. He just wanted to go in and strike the ball.

“You have to cater for everybody – there are lots of different ways that people like to learn.

“We’re not spending hours and hours in front of a white board, we’re not spending hours chewing over stats and numbers – we’re encouraging people to go out and play the game.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board is set to conduct a review into the World Cup failure and how the national team has fallen so far behind the best nations.

England took nine players into a World Cup for the first time and have not been helped by the fact their senior players have not performed to expectation.

Farbrace refused to discuss any thoughts of a post-World Cup clear-out – with the Afghanistan game still the priority – but admitted players in county ranks might never have a better opportunity to push their England claims than during the upcoming summer.

“There’s a fantastic opportunity now for players in county cricket to stick their hands up and say, ‘there are spaces in that England team and I’m going to take my opportunity’,” he said.

“There has never been a better time, if we’re honest.”

England are set to make at least two changes for their first-ever ODI against Afghanistan after Moeen (side strain) and Chris Woakes (foot) were ruled out.

Ravi Bopara and James Tredwell are the only two players in the 15-man squad that have yet to be used in the tournament and could get their chance.

Published: Thursday 12th March 2015 by The News Editor

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