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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview > Nick Knight

'India have a good all-round side'

February 25, 2003

Nick KnightNick Knight has been viewed primarily as a one-day player for England. Putting the disappointment of failing to make his mark at the Test level, Knight went on to become one of England's finest one-day players.

His average remained impressive and his big scores at the top of the order helped England win several tournaments. He averaged 50 just before the 1999 World Cup but after a drop in form was axed from that World Cup squad.

With fine performances in Australia against the hosts and the Sri Lanka in the VB Series, Knight is one of the key players for England's in this tournament.  He spoke to Faisal Shariff in Durban on the eve of the India-England encounter.

Despite a great run in the one-dayers, you failed to make a mark in the English Test side?

Yeah, I am very much a one-day player. I mean, over the years I have played a bit of Test cricket. I scored runs and got my case across. I scored heavily this English summer. You have to score runs and try to push your case and that what I have done.

Have you had a conversation with the coach and the skipper about your technique or temperament?

Not really. You get to a stage in your career, where you know what areas you need to improve and you constantly work on them and try and get to a position where the coach and the selectors say, okay we are ready to pick you. I am constantly updating and trying to work on my game and will be ready if I get the call.

England plays the maximum cricket back home but in the one-day version you guys aren't really world beaters.

When I first started playing back in 1996, I think we had three one-day internationals in winter and three in summer. So we were playing six matches while other countries were playing 20-30.  Now we are playing more - one-off trips to certain countries to play five games and getting our team together. Hopefully, we will be a competitive team.

What do you reckon is the strength of the Indian one-day side though it is very apparent that it is the batting that they bank on?

They have got an all-round side. I think obviously their batting stands out, with some fine players. They have couple of decent bowlers - their left arm pacemen have bowled well. Also, obviously their two spinners play a big part. They also have Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif coming in and they are obviously good fielders as well. So, they have a good balance in the side.

Who do you think is the real threat in this tournament?

I think this tournament is quite exciting because any team can beat the other teams. Australia are obviously a strong unit. They are playing well at the moment so they have come here with some confidence. South Africa is also a confident side. India and Pakistan are tough too. It's impossible to pick one particular side. If we play well, we fancy our chances too.

What do you reckon is Nasser Hussain's contribution to English cricket in the last three years?

Nasser and (coach Duncan) Fletcher have created a very competitive unit. They have tried to minimize squad disruption, where players are changed constantly. Now we have a nucleus of a side, with some guys who have been playing together for long. They feel part of the team and the results are showing. I think Duncan and Nasser have got a lot to do with the team that they have created.

What do you think England lack as a one-day unit?

I don't think they lack anything. I think in this tournament we have had a handful of injuries, which have given opportunities to other players. That hopefully adds depth to the squad. We started rebuilding the team last year. We have built a squad and stuck with that pretty much. It is creating consistency and having players who know their role in the team will work for us.

Do you think of improvisation in your one-day game?

I play one-day cricket as one-cay cricket needs to be played. If you go back and watch me play in four-day championship cricket for Yorkshire - my domestic team - you will see a different player. In the first 15 overs you need to be explosive, you need to find a method to exploit the fielding restrictions.

Any one bowler that stands out in one-day cricket?

Glen (McGrath) is consistent and gives you nothing. The Indian spinners on their day are hard to score off. Even the raw pace of Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee causes problems.

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