from further embarrassment in the VB Series against Australia
and Sri Lanka.
Nobody has been more disappointed and frustrated at his slow recovery
from a double hernia operation last summer than Freddie himself.
But nobody could have worked harder at getting his body into peak
Freddie has been working four to five hours a day one-to-one to
get his body back into shape and his work in the nets has been
increasing over the last month. So much so that the ECBs
chief medical officer was very impressed with his conditioning
when he supervised a fitness test earlier this week.
It looks like Freddie will get some action with the Academy side
at least if England fail to qualify for the finals of the VB Series.
He can not wait for the chance to do what he does best getting
the ball to fizz at the worlds best batsman and dispatching
the deliveries of the games greatest bowlers to all corners
of the pitch and grandstands.
The Importance of Vaughan to the England Team
Freddies ISM colleague Michael Vaughan could also help Englands
cause again after benefiting from 10-days rest following his player-of-the-series
heroics during the Test series.
Michael is another England must-have for South Africa because
our one-day batting after the opening pair has been anything but
consistent. The Yorkshiremans injured shoulder and knee
have recovered sufficiently, but his return may have come too
late to prevent further one-day disappointment.
The Adelaide pitch for Fridays game will suit Sri Lanka
more than the fast, bouncy tracks they suffered on in Perth and
Michaels presence in the batting order would give a considerable
boost to any side and England have never wanted it more than now
as they bid to recover from a couple of red-faced defeats.
Our discipline in all three departments has let us down. The number
of extras conceded means we have been virtually playing against
12 men every game. Between 20 and 30 is far too many. It makes
an enormous difference to a batsmans psyche when he goes
out to chase a 250 target rather than 275.
There can be no criticism of our opening pair, but batsmen who
score 70 or 80 must somehow ensure that they turn those totals
into a ton plus to ease the pressure later. England have so far
been let down chasing when the pressure is at its greatest so
somebody has to stick their hand up and say: I am the man
for the job.
The hardest part of one-day cricket is closing a game out and
England have not had anybody consistently capable of assuming
that role. Unfortunately we have been making the same mistakes
over and over.
I believe Steve Harmison has a big part to play in Englands
Test future, but I am not as convinced about his one-day contributions.
Unfortunately he does not bowl straight enough in the shortened
game to produce the required economy.
At the moment, England have not batted, bowled or fielded well
enough to send out an early World Cup message. The return of Flintoff
and Vaughan may just change that.
Lets hope so.