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The VB Series Finals - England leave for South Africa Early?

Marcus in Action
Looking at form both current and past and comparing respective team strengths leads me to just one conclusion on the eve of the VB Series best-of-three final. Australia will win the first two matches and we will head off to the World Cup wondering how on South African earth we are going to beat them.

If my head says Australia in two then my heart leans a little towards England if for one reason mainly our run of losses against Australia has to

end somewhere. We haven’t beaten them now for 12 matches, but sure as eggs are scrambled, poached, boiled or fried we will do at some stage and what better time to start than immediately before the one-day game’s biggest competition.

Seeing the Team Home to Victory - Potential Match Winners
One thing is certain if we are to entertain hopes of embarrassing the Aussies on home soil, we will have to hold our nerve when we get into a position to win. On too many occasions here and elsewhere we have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. From a series of solid bases, we have lacked somebody with the guts and know-how to get the team home.
In this department, I feel that Paul Collingwood can step forward and assume the role of match-winner. He has impressed me significantly on this trip because he has shown an ability to play whatever innings the situation demands.

Against Australia in Adelaide we needed somebody to hang around and that’s what he did in scoring 60-odd and then when we needed quick runs he scored 20-odd in 18 balls against Sri Lanka. Prior to those knocks he rescued the innings in Perth before Christmas by claiming a century when we were in trouble.

Micheal Vaughans Return
At least England will have another proven match-winner to fall back on in the Final because Michael Vaughan’s return brings a three-dimensional edge to the team. Not only is he the world’s second-ranked batsman, but he’s a good ground fielder and can turn his arm over very effectively when necessary. Michael just needs to know his role in the team because if we just want him to smash away inside the first 15 overs then we lose the impact he might have in the overall picture.

We also need Andy Caddick to continue the kind of form we have seen since Christmas rather than that of before. He’s a difficult proposition with the new ball if he can and he seems to have found an ally in James Anderson, who is coming on very quickly at this level. His one for 12 off 10 against Australia was the most economical ever and what a bonus he is proving.

Freddie's Recovery
England may not have the services of Freddie Flintoff for the first match, but he should be ready for the second if his recovery continues as it currently is. He has been proving his fitness in a four-day game for our Academy side against Australia Under 19’s. More than 150 runs from two knocks and with plenty of overs under his belt seem to suggest he is fit and ready to go again with his new Woodworm bat.
Heaven knows we need him.

Neil Fairbrother Signature

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