Broad issues stark warning to England team-mates: Beware the minnows
22:34 GMT, 20 September 2012
England have beaten South Africa, Australia and Pakistan in the last nine days and go into their World Twenty20 opener knowing a win against Afghanistan would guarantee their progress to the next stage.
Simple Well, not when one remembers they lost to Holland in their first match of the 2009 tournament and almost did the same against Ireland in the Caribbean a year later before Duckworth-Lewis rescued them.
The shorter the game, the more chance of an upset. In Afghanistan, England face one of the better ‘minnows’ who pushed India all the way in Group A’s first match on Wednesday before falling 23 runs short.
Focused: Broad takes strike during a nets session on Thursday
How they line-up in Colombo
England (probable): Hales, Kieswetter (wkt), Wright, Morgan, Buttler, Bairstow, Bresnan, Broad (capt), Swann, Finn, Dernbach.
Afghanistan (probable): Shahzad (wkt), Mangal (capt), Sadiq, Stanikzai, Nabi, Shenwari, Shafiqullah, Naib, Najibullah, Dawlat, Shapoor.
Afghanistan have had to overcome long odds just to be here and England must hit the ground running at the R Premadasa Stadium if they are to stop them defying life and logic for a little longer.
There was a relaxed confidence about England at nets. The serene atmosphere at the historic Nondescripts Ground was summed up by a synchronised swimming team practising in the club’s pool just beyond the boundary while England went through a gentle session of their own.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight was the swimmers’ music of choice but England’s lions need to be wide awake if they are not to suffer a defeat that would leave the defending champions facing elimination almost before they have started.
Off and running: England start the defence of their title with Bairstow likely to figure but Briggs may miss out
‘Afghanistan aren’t going to hold back, that’s for sure,’ said England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad. ‘It will be important we keep our cool. You have to accept in Twenty20 that the ball will fly around at some stage, but as long as we stick to what we do well, we’ll be fine.’
This is Broad’s first chance to have a proper run at leadership instead of the odd match here and there. Already, there are signs that he will be a different captain to both Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, whose instincts are conservative. Broad, in contrast, bristles with intent and competitiveness.
‘I would say my instincts are attacking,’ said a rare example of a bowling captain. ‘I like to take wickets and in Twenty20 cricket, you have to risk a boundary to take a wicket. But it’s important for a bowler to know what he wants to do and if any of them don’t agree with the way I approach things, I’m more than happy for them to take responsibility.’
Relaxed: The England players shared a joke as they lined-up for the team photo
England won the last World Twenty20 by sticking to rigid plans. While Broad emphasised that will again be important, he insisted he will be flexible, as he showed by asking Danny Briggs to open the bowling at the last moment in their warm-up victory over Pakistan.
Whether the success of that move will earn Briggs a place remains to be seen. England are likely to buck this tournament’s trend for spin. With Broad, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach and Graeme Swann all looking certain picks, it is hard to see how the Hampshire protege fits in. Briggs will be sweating on how the wicket appears, as will Tim Bresnan and Samit Patel.
Whoever England pick, Broad is delighted with the squad. There was even the rarity of a whole press conference passing yesterday without anyone mentioning KP.
TV’s newest pundit is sensibly keeping his distance while he works for ESPN Star, with his studio and hotel an hour away from England’s base. /09/20/article-0-053BC01D000005DC-899_624x415.jpg” width=”624″ height=”415″ alt=”Dutch courage: Broad's face says it all as Ryan ten Doeschate celebrates” class=”blkBorder” />
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