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The World Cup - More Optimistic than Pessimistic

Brett Lee celebrates
It would be easy to launch into England for their capitulation in the VB Series Final, but it would not be half as constructive as looking for the positives as the team heads for Southern Africa and the World Cup.

To be perfectly honest, we may not have covered ourselves in glory and we should have extended the Final to a third match, but the game was taken away from us by some magnificent fast bowling from Bret Lee.

There have been occasions when we have thrown matches away which seemed easier to win, but I donít think the other night can be added to that list. Lee took the match from our grasp single-handedly.

Reasons for Optimism

The Aussie nightmare is now over and there is no reason why it should continue. I can offer five good reasons why we should be more optimistic than pessimistic heading for the World Cup.
  1. Michael Vaughan is not only one of the best batsmen in the world, but he is fully fit and healthy again.
  2. The proven fitness of Andrew Flintoff adds strength to two departments.
  3. The emergence of Paul Collingwood is a major bonus.
  4. Fast bowler Jimmy Anderson has proved that he has the control to play both five-day and one-day internationals.
  5. Opening bowler Andrew Caddick seems to have found his form.

Vaughan & Flintoff
There is not an area of the field that Michael cannot find with his vast array of shots while a fit and rejuvenated Freddie will make a big difference to the squad and the make-up of the team.

Collingwood
Collingwood was not even a first choice when the VB Series started, but his performances have forced his name high up the list. He has shown an ability to perform to different scripts at the crease and there are few better outfielders in the game.

Caddick & Anderson
But if we are going to do anything at the World Cup then our openers will have to continue as they have against Australia and we are going to have to take wickets with the new ball. In a revitalised Caddick and ever-improving Anderson, I think we have a half chance of getting them.

Englands Approach to the World Cup
I am sure our game plan at the World Cup will revolve around putting a good total on the board because we just do not seem comfortable chasing a target. If you have failed in a few run chases, itís amazing just how quickly your confidence goes in that department.

Our opening three games are against Zimbabwe, Holland and Namibia and we must have a good chance of winning all three. If we do then our confidence levels will increase dramatically and qualification to the next stages should prove easier than anticipated in a very tough group that also includes India, Pakistan and Australia.

Whatever happens, we will have to hit the ground running and fast.

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