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No 'sweeping' reforms for England

Coach Fletcher has advocated the use of the sweep shot in spite of the Kotla debacle.
None | By Press Trust of India, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 30, 2006 05:42 PM IST

England lost five players to sweep in the first one-dayer but coach Duncan Fletcher on Thursday said he had not banned the players from using the shot again in the series against Indian spinners.

A consistent advocate of playing the sweep, Fletcher said his confidence in the shot had not been shaken by the reversal in the series-opener but his advice to the players was to use it selectively.

"In the sub-continent, sweep is a very effective shot against spinners. It is just that at the end of the day they have got to be more selective in using the shot," he said after a three-hour workout in the nets by the England team ahead of the match at Faridabad on Friday.

England lost Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Geraint Jones, Matt Prior and Ian Blackwell to the sweep shot to be bundled out for 164 while chasing India's 204 in the first match at Ferozeshah Kotla, leading to widespread criticism of their batting strategy.

But rather than the shot, the Zimbabwe-born coach blamed inexperience of his squad for the defeat while promising to pull up their socks in Faridabad.

"We have a young side. There are five new players and there are some who are relatively experienced at the county level. Some of these players need to know how to adjust to certain conditions, the thing is what happened in Kotla could have happened in a final," Fletcher said.

"We were vulnerable in one match, there are still six matches to go," he added.

Asked about the pitch at the Nahar Singh Stadium, he said "I have had a look at it. It looks to be a pretty slow wicket. It has a bit of grass but you never know how it will behave exactly. We will have another look at it tomorrow morning."

Fletcher also sought to defend the decision to practice at the Kotla instead of Faridabad, saying they would have lost close to three hours in travelling.

"We planned to have it here as we would have lost three hours in travelling. Travelling in a bus for three hours for a two-hour practice did not make sense. We thought it is better to practice here and get ready for the game."

Asked whether the team would open again with Matt Prior, he said, "we will decide on it tonight as we have been doing throughout the tour."

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