Fletcher's belief fired by Arctic explorer

England's unexpected but welcome success in Australia highlights how fickle one-day cricket can be. Two- and-a-half weeks ago, in the wake of the team's humiliating nine-wicket defeat to Australia in Adelaide, England's World Cup plans appeared to be in tatters.

But now, after three majestic wins over the world champions, there is a belief by many that England could possibly surprise everyone and win international cricket's biggest prize in Barbados on 28 April. The team who outplayed Australia will be strengthened by the return of Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen and James Anderson, and with the confidence and momentum gained, who knows?

Prior to the team's doomed Ashes campaign it was Ricky Ponting's side who had been labelled as "Dad's Army", but the introduction of Paul Nixon and Malachy Loye to the England's one-day series line-up, and rumours that Darren Gough was about to be drafted into the World Cup squad, made Corporal Jones seem cool, calm and collected under pressure when compared to the nation's selectors.

But after watching their bag of Liquorice Allsorts turn into an embossed box of truffles, this group have every right to sit back in an armchair and look down on their critics. The only problem for the selectors is that the World Cup begins in a month's time and nobody can be sure which England side will turn up.

One of the attractions of one-day cricket is that there is no middle ground. Everything is black and white. You either win or lose. Emotions are immediate and raw, and the game's helter-skelter nature causes even the most composed of men to panic. These are factors that ensure crowds continue to flock in.

There are formulas that work and the best team normally leave as victor, but results are far more unpredictable than Test cricket. This is because one player can change the course of a limited-over game, whereas it takes at least three or four to manufacture a Test win. Ed Joyce performed this task in Sydney 11 days ago and Paul Collingwood continued the fine work in England's last three games.

When a team get on a winning roll they believe they can triumph from any situation, yet when defeat becomes the norm negative thoughts spread through the side like a highly contagious disease. Somewhere among all of this somebody has to try to keep a level head, and for England, in the absence of Vaughan, the responsibility lies with Duncan Fletcher, the coach.

After the Adelaide disaster, Fletcher was being told by the British public to pack his bags and catch the next flight back to Cape Town. The criticism hurt but he gained support from Alan Chambers, the former Royal Marine and adventurer, who led the first unsupported walk to the North Pole from Canada.

Fletcher used Chambers to deliver an inspirational, leadership and team building talk to his side before the 2005 Ashes and he has kept in regular contact with him since. "I am quite philosophical about[the criticism]," Fletcher said. "Alan Chambers has been very good to me. He has sent me a few emails and he has been the most positive person to speak to me on tour.

"We call him the iceman and he gave me a great statement by the late Mother Teresa. From that I've just looked at it all and you can see what's happened. His statement was basically this: 'Mother Teresa said that when you're successful you win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies'. I'll leave it at that." So it was inevitable that he wore an air of smugness when he spoke about his side's success.

"If you are a positive coach, you wouldn't think otherwise," said Fletcher in response to a question asking whether he thought the turnaround was possible after Adelaide. "If you are a coach and you believe in your players, you believe they can do anything. It rates as one of the best wins we've had in my time, considering where we were and where we've ended up.

"With young players you don't know what the limit is. I've often seen young sides put it together. These young guys can do it. I sat watching them make basic mistakes, but I knew the potential was there.

"It was tremendous. I had belief in the youngsters. I said it was an area where they could grow and they showed it in these four games. I also believe there is still a huge improvement to be made. Hopefully, they can produce that at the World Cup.

"Four wins have lifted the side. Nobody can deny that. To beat Australia, what I like about it is that they have been solid performances. We could have scrambled in with overthrows and the last ball of the game and not deserved to win. But you can't turn round after those four games and say that we did not deserve to win all four. They have been top-class performances.

"I've said before that maybe the World Cup was a year too early for them, but suddenly they've done something and I don't know where we are. Maybe it is six months too early. Or we might get to the World Cup, do something, and say we are bang on target."

Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
i100(More than you think)
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game