Moores: England have point to prove

Published: Sunday 8th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Coach Peter Moores has warned that England will head into their must-win World Cup clash against Bangladesh with a point to prove.

England have endured a wretched tournament and defeat to Bangladesh in Adelaide would deliver the final indignity of a group-stage exit.

It is a situation that was unthinkable when Moores’ side reached the Tri-Series final just five weeks ago.

Since then they have been completely outplayed by Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka while their only competitive success has come against a Scotland team destined to finish their third World Cup still searching for a maiden win.

A young England squad, featuring nine players at their first World Cup, has therefore endured their fair share of chastening moments, but Moores senses they have the character to stand up when it counts most on Monday.

“International cricket is played by tough men,” he said.

“There’s no compromising that and when people come into that environment they have to get used to that. We’ve got senior players whose responsibility is to be like that and help others integrate in.

“Some of our younger players are getting through that – they’ve been through some pretty tough experiences this winter. The have to adapt to them and then come back with something.

“Tomorrow is a pressure game. In our preparation I only see a lot of people excited to play and they feel they have a point to prove.

“They want to go out and start proving that and the only place you can do that is on the cricket field.”

Moores refused to give away any clues on team selection other than to say he was “pretty clear on our best XI”.

There has been a clamour for Alex Hales to belatedly be given a first chance at the tournament with Gary Ballance short on runs.

Hales would come in cold if selected – his only innings of the two-month tour came in a warm-up game against Pakistan – and Moores spent additional time with Ballance at the end of training on Sunday, throwing balls down to him in the nets individually.

“Gary is a really good player, he’s had a tough time of it,” Moores said.

“He knows that but it doesn’t mean he’s not a good player. In tournament play you are trying to get the best XI out to play.

“We know we have a really big game tomorrow against Bangladesh, one we’ve got to win. We’re pretty clear on what our best XI is and we’ll announce that at the toss.”

One area Moores will look for change is with the length his bowlers have bowled after Sri Lanka coasted to a record chase of 309 for six last time out in Wellington.

New-ball pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad have both failed to make the early inroads England might have thought would be one of their strengths at the tournament.

Broad has not taken a wicket since claiming two in as many balls against Australia on the opening night while Anderson, who has found little movement out of the white Kookaburra balls, took his two wickets against Scotland.

Swing has played a key part in this World Cup – highlighted by Tim Southee’s stunning display when England were rattled out for 123 – and Chris Woakes could therefore be handed the new ball back.

The Warwickshire all-rounder took the new ball throughout the Tri-Series final and returned a five-wicket haul when he last used it in the warm-up win over West Indies.

“What you are trying to avoid is where you slip into a mentality where you are bowling a safe length,” Moores said.

“You challenge the front pad often, but also you bowl aggressively. Swing has been important in this tournament.

“We’ve got good swing bowlers in people like Anderson and Woakes and they’ve looked at their games to see if they can get the most out of that. That is going to be another factor.

“Getting the ball to move laterally makes quite a big difference in one-day cricket.”

England have not played Bangladesh since they suffered a two-wicket defeat at the last World Cup in Chittagong, but Moores dismissed any thoughts revenge might be on his side’s mind.

“What happened in the last World Cup doesn’t really matter,” he said.

“We have a different group of players. This group of players are very focused on how they are going to play tomorrow and how we’re going to pitch up and play the best game we can.

“That’s the most important thing for us.”

Published: Sunday 8th March 2015 by The News Editor

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