England batting coach Graham Gooch thinks this England side has what it takes to go one better than he did in his three World Cup Finals. The all time England leading run scorer and current batting coach believes that the players “have got it in them to win the world cup”. He went on to tell reporters that he’s “convinced that they have [what it takes].”
This confidence must come from within the camp. This England side seems to have carried some sort of confidence through from the group stages. After losing to Ireland and then Bangladesh, it would have been easy for the players to say: (as is often the English way) ‘It’s not our year’ and give up hope.
Not this England side. Strauss, with the help of Coach Andy Flower, has installed a quiet confidence is his team. They’ve taken everything that’s been hurled at them this World Cup. Tough losses against inferior opponents and injuries to key players have threatened to break this World Cup campaign beyond repair, but to their credit the team have come out the other side of every one of those set backs.
England have shown what Gooch calls their “fighting qualities and resilience” in previous matches against India, South Africa and most recently the West Indies. Gooch is backing the players to show more of the same against Sri Lanka on Saturday in Colombo.
Sri Lanka will be wondering which England team is going to confront them this weekend on their home patch. Will it be the inconsistent team of the group stages? Gooch thinks not: “We know we’ve got better cricket within our team” he added. If England produce three good all round performances, then there’s every chance this current crop of Ashes heroes can manage to pull off the World Cup victory that eluded Gooch when he was a player.
Flower will surely be asking the advice of his batting coach when deciding the batting order for Saturday’s shown down. Prior will potentially be replaced by Bell at the top of the order, something Bell is keen to do if called upon.
England could draft replacement bowler Jade Dernbach straight into the side in a bid to give the bowling attack that added dimension that has been missing so far this tournament. The Surrey paceman is looking to bring something extra to the table. He’s known in county cricket for not only his raw pace, but also possessing variations needed to be a match winning One Day Bowler. He’s joined the squad off the back of am impressive showing for the England Lions in the Caribbean, taking 19 wickets at 15.63 a piece.
Whatever England decide to do regarding team selection for the Sri Lanka match up, come Saturday, there needs to be a sense of urgency amongst the ranks, a desire to win at whatever cost. We’ve seen glimpses and little snippets of it so far, but more of the same will be needed in this quarter final.
The Sri Lanka side is housing some true match winners and Strauss and co’ will need to find a consistent, all round performance from somewhere if they’re going to overcome the next hurdle. The problem for them is, the hurdle is higher this time round and it’s not going to be as easy.
Gooch will be hoping his batters can unleash their full potential, similar to that of the Indian performance. That’s not all that will be needed to overcome the co-hosts; the bowlers need to do their bit too. Strauss will be asking for yet another fighting performance from his men. We’ll see who stands up to be counted on Saturday.