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Coach says Australia can all but eliminate England
April 06, 2007 12:45 IST
World champions Australia believe they can all but eliminate England from the World Cup on Sunday in their final Super Eights match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Australia, who travel to Barbados and Grenada for the remainder of the second round after Sunday's match, top the Super Eights standings with six points. England have only two.
Coach John Buchanan told reporters after practice on Thursday the 2-0 loss to England in the tri-series final this year had been relegated to history after his team's victory in a 13-a-side warm-up match in St Vincent.
"We have got a very, very important game and if we manage to come out on top of that we virtually eliminate another side out of the tournament," he said.
"Every game for them is a knockout game which puts a bit of a razor's edge on their team so that means they come really well prepared to compete against us."
He said England had a deep batting order and identified number three Ian Bell as their best batsman at the moment.
"I think one of the players who is impressing at the moment is Bell. He has come in at three and really played a pretty pivotal role in England getting the scores that they have done."
Australia must decide this week who they select in place of injured all-rounder Shane Watson, who left the field in last Saturday's match against Bangladesh with a minor tear in his left calf muscle.
Batsman Brad Hodge, who scored a century in the first round while Andrew Symonds was out of action, is the likely replacement while Queensland all-rounder James Hopes has been put on standby in case Watson does not recover at least in time for the semi-finals on April 24 and 25.
Buchanan said the selectors were still undecided whether to include a batsman or a bowler on Sunday.
"Both combinations present some real strengths and a couple of weaknesses," he said.
"I think the upside of that is that it is actually making us think those through. Through the course of the tournament there may be a need to rejig what we want to do for whatever reason. It could be through injury again or it could be through the team we are playing or it could be due to the ground, big ground, small ground, or wicket types.
"It is actually making us rethink although obviously the preference would be to have a fit Shane Watson."
Buchanan said he did not know whether Symonds would be fit enough to bowl his medium pace as well as off-spin on Sunday, which would ease the selectors' concerns about the bowling if Hodge plays.
"I think it is probably a little bit early for him to do at this stage that but Andrew is Andrew and once he has taken the field and he thinks he needs to bowl medium pace he will be talking very strongly to the captain to say give me the opportunity to do it," he said.
"His progress has been very good so that is very encouraging."
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