England see virtue in Gymkhana experience

England are out to make their experience of the Gymkhana Club conditions count when they face up to South Africa in their ICC Knockout quarter-final here on Tuesday.

England are out to make their experience of the Gymkhana Club conditions count when they face up to South Africa in their ICC Knockout quarter-final here on Tuesday.

Coach Duncan Fletcher and captain Nasser Hussain are agreed there is a significant advantage to be had in knowing exactly how to play at the home of the mini World Cup.

South Africa, who arrived yesterday, fresh out of their own domestic competition, have played at the ground before but since then a new groundsman has been shipped in to prepare fast and bouncy pitches for this competition.

England believe they learned much from Thursday's easy qualifying win over Bangladesh. "It was a good exercise for us, because we were tested to some degree," said Fletcher. "We had to go out and better 232 - and the bowlers bowled very well. We now know what is required on that wicket. It was a strange wicket for us to play on and the boys now know what line and length to bowl.

"South Africa probably play on very similar wickets but what is good is that we have had a game on there. I would have hated to go into a big match without that. If you had not played on it you would have thought we were bowling badly. But it is just a pitch where a lot of fours get hit. You will not play on a much better one-day wicket than that.

A new face will be arriving in the England camp today in the Essex all-rounder Paul Grayson. The 29-year-old's call-up as cover for the injured Ashley Giles was somewhat surprising because Robert Croft is on the official stand-by list.

The Glamorgan off-spinner spoke out petulantly when he was first omitted from the winter tour plans but Fletcher insists the decision to bring in Grayson - a county team-mate of Hussain's - had been made purely on tactical grounds in the belief that his left-arm finger spin will be more effective than the right-arm variety.

Responding to the suggestion that Croft may have talked his way out of contention, the coach said: "That has got absolutely nothing to do with it. As soon as we got out here we thought we would look for a left-armer and now we need cover for Ashley Giles."

England's quarter-final opposition are still having to deal with the aftermath of the match-fixing scandal which ended the career of their former captain Hansie Cronje.

His replacement, Shaun Pollock, dutifully faced another series of questions about the consequences of the affair for his team, especially with the King Commission charged with investigating the matter due to report again soon.

The defending champions' captain admitted: "It has been difficult for us in the last few months. But what the guys have done is put it behind them now. We are enjoying just getting out on the field to play cricket.

"Once the Commission has come to its final conclusion we can get on with restoring cricket to what it should be."

* New Zealand Cricket is to compile a report of all available research on bowler's back injuries in a move prompted by recurring problems with three of its bowlers. Daniel Vettori and Dion Nash have been hit by flare-ups of old injuries while Geoff Allot is still with the team but under close medical scrutiny. The panel will collate all research relating to risk factors for bowlers, including information on conditioning, technique, bowling loads and intensity, the recovery schedule post-game and the number of games the players take part in.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world