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Champions Trophy defeat will serve England well at World Cup – Farbrace

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England’s experience of “messing up” in the semi-final of the 2017 Champions Trophy should serve them well in the World Cup, Paul Farbrace believes.

England were the only side to progress through the group stages of that Champions Trophy without losing a game but, faced with a used Cardiff surface and the pressure of a big knock-out game, they appeared to suffer an attack of stage fright. In fairness, they also came up against an accomplished Pakistan side which went on to beat India in the final.

The semi-final saw England limp to 211, with their final wicket falling to the penultimate delivery of the 50th over. Tellingly, two of their most aggressive batsmen played uncharacteristically cautious innings, with Ben Stokes making 34 from 64 balls without a boundary, and Eoin Morgan making 33 from 53 balls. In reply, Pakistan raced to victory with eight wickets and almost 13 overs in hand.

While England’s failure to adapt to that used surface – low and slow as it was – was thought to be a key factor at the time, Farbrace feels the pressure of expectation was more relevant. And Farbrace, England’s assistant coach at the time, believes the experience should prove helpful ahead of the World Cup. In particular, he feels it should serve to enforce England’s policy of playing fearless, attacking cricket.

“The experience of messing the semi-final up in Cardiff has been a really good lesson,” Farbrace said. “The team will have learned a lot from that experience. It was almost a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.

“The message coming off the pitch that day was that it wasn’t a great surface and we only needed 180. So instead of saying, ‘right: let’s try to get 180 as fast as we can and risk being bowled out with 12 overs to go; we don’t mind that because we’re trying to play in a certain way,’ we stopped trying to play in that way.

“We went back to playing old-fashioned one-day cricket. We went back to trying to bat the 50 overs and thinking that, if we did that, we would have a score. We went against everything we had tried to do in the previous couple of years.

“That makes it even more frustrating and disappointing. If we’d been bowled out for 170 in 32 overs and lost, we could have lived with that, because that’s how we set out to play. But the fact we tried to play a different way and lost is even more difficult to accept.”

Partly as a result of that experience, there has been more talk in the England camp about acknowledging the expectations people will have of them this year and trying to embrace that experience.

“We have spent a lot of time talking about the experience of being a favourite going into a home World Cup,” Bayliss said. “There’s a been a lot of talk about embracing and enjoying the tournament. Not locking themselves away, but watching it, reading it, getting involved and trying to enjoy it.

“The team are quite comfortable with being favourite and being at home. They are comfortable with the high level of expectation that goes with it.

“They genuinely are a favourite. They’ve been No. 1 for 15 months. They’ve played excellent cricket and earned the right be No. 1.

“One of the goals we set was to be in the top two or three in the world going into that tournament. We know teams outside that have very little chance. We proved that last time: we were ranked No. 7 going into that and it was no surprise we finished where we did.”

Meanwhile, Farbrace confirmed Warwickshire would continue not to play football as part of their warm-up routines. While the England sides under Bayliss and Farbrace have continued to play the game before almost every training session and game, Warwickshire’s former director of cricket, Ashley Giles, banned it from the club as he felt it presented too strong an injury risk. As the new director of the England’s men’s teams, Giles is also expected to ban it at that level at some stage.

But while Farbrace is an enthusiastic footballer – he used to coach the game and describes himself as “a huge Chelsea fan” – and England continued to play it on the recently-concluded Caribbean tour, he will not go back on Giles’ decision at Warwickshire.

“Football is off limits here,” Farbrace said on his first day as director of sport at Edgbaston. “I love football and a few of us staff might play.

“But the club policy has been for players not to play and that won’t change. Not for the moment, anyway. They came to that decision a little while ago.”



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Don’t care if I’m judged on not winning the IPL – Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli has chuckled at the suggestion that not winning the IPL is a frustration for him, and said it doesn’t matter to him if his legacy is judged based on that.

Kohli has been with Royal Challengers Bangalore since the team’s inception and their designated captain since 2013. Royal Challengers are among the three active teams – Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab are the other two – who have never won the title, although they have been runners-up on three occasions. Under Kohli, they were in the play-offs in 2015 and runners-up in 2016. However, they have finished eighth and sixth in the last two years.

This middling record prompted Gautam Gambhir to say earlier this week that Kohli was ‘very lucky‘ that Royal Challengers had retained him as captain for so long, and that he had a long way to go before being spoken about in the same bracket as multiple-IPL-winning captains like Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni.

“Obviously, you want to win the IPL,” Kohli said on the eve of the IPL season-opener in Chennai. “I am doing what I am supposed to do. I don’t care whether I am going to be judged on this [not winning IPL] or not. There is no real, sort of, parameters you set. I try to perform wherever I can. I try to win all the possible titles, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. We have to be practical about why we haven’t won one. That boils down to bad decision-making in pressure situations.

“If I think like people from outside, I can’t even sustain five games. I would be sitting at home. I know people talk about it a lot and they like to grab opportunities to talk about these things. But I have a responsibility here and given a chance, as a captain, I would love to win the IPL for my team. We all are motivated to do so.”

Kohli reiterated the point he made last week that decision-making in pressure situations had cost Royal Challengers in big matches, adding that he sees enough proof that his team are contenders this year.

“It [winning the title] has not happened and that’s the reality,” he said. “No excuses for that. Only acceptance of the faults that we made in the past. The fact that we played six [five] semi-finals means that we have been a side who are always in contention. If we make better decisions, we can go further than that. That’s how I see things.”



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Concerns for Mumbai’s pace attack as Adam Milne pulls out of the IPL

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New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne is understood to have pulled out of the IPL. ESPNcricinfo understands Milne, who was signed by Mumbai Indians at the IPL auction for INR 75 lakhs (USD 104,000 approx on the day of auction), has a swollen heel.

Milne’s pullout means Mumbai have lost a second overseas fast bowler in quick succession. Lasith Malinga has opted to skip the first six matches of the IPL to fulfill the condition set by Sri Lanka Cricket to play in the domestic 50-overs competition in order to qualify for World Cup selection.

Although there has been no statement from the franchise on Milne’s injury, Mumbai are believed to be keen on roping in the young West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph as a replacement. Also, as per IPL rules, the amount a franchise can pay the replacement player cannot exceed that paid to the original player. So any player that replaces Milne cannot be paid over INR 75 lakhs.

Mumbai, who play their opening match at home on Sunday, against Delhi Capitals, currently have three overseas fast bowlers: New Zealand T20 freelancer Mitchell McClenaghan and the Australian pair of Jason Behrendorff and Ben Cutting.



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Prasadani Weerakkody, Udeshika Prabodhani left out of Sri Lanka’s T20I squad

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Sri Lanka women decided to stick with more or less the same squad that was whitewashed by England in the ODI series, making only a few tweaks for the three-match T20I series starting on Sunday. Hansima Karunaratne, Sugandika Kumari and Inoshi Priyadharshani retained their spots, having been brought in for the ODIs, while the uncapped 24-year-old Madushika Meththananda also found a place.

Making way were teenagers Tharika Sewwandi and Kavisha Dilhari, and the veteran pair of Prasadani Weerakkody and Udeshika Prabodhani. Weerakody and Prabodhani have played 93 T20Is and 106 ODIs between them, but poor form meant both players were left out of the playing XI by the end of the ODI series.

Following a forgettable T20 World Cup campaign in November, the Sri Lankan selectors had voiced their desire to give younger players a chance, which could bode well for Meththananda and the 17-year-old Umesha Thimashini.

Thimashini had been left out of the ODI squad but retained her place in the T20I setup where her offspin may be of more use. Meanwhile, Meththananda, who bowls right-arm medium-pace, has been part of several squads in the past is yet to get a game. With Sri Lanka’s bowlers having thus far struggled to trouble England to any reasonable extent, and with the team playing just one seamer in the final ODI, Meththananda may find herself with some game time this time around.

Just like their ODI record, Sri Lanka’s T20I record against England is not promising. The two sides have faced each other five times in T20Is with England emerging winners on each occasion.

All three T20Is will be played at the P Sara Oval.

Squad: Chamari Atapattu (capt), Umesha Thimashini, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hansima Karunaratne, Hasini Perera, Sugandika Kumari, Harshitha Samarawickrema, Sashikala Siriwardena, Nilakshi De Silva, Inoshi Priyadarshani, Imalka Mendis, Achini Kulasooriya, Madushika Meththananda, Inoka Ranaweera, Oshadi Ranasinghe



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