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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Fletcher eyes Australia match-up
P Collingwood
Face in the crowd - Paul Collingwood negotiates a path through
England coach Duncan Fletcher believes an ICC Trophy victory over Australia would give an important psychological edge ahead of this winter's Ashes.

The teams meet in Group B on 21 October and Fletcher recalled England's ICC triumph against the Aussies in 2004.

"That was the first time we had beaten them convincingly," he said.

"From that semi-final we showed a marked improvement, we have an improved record against them and it would be nice to continue with that record."

Winning the final two games to level the one-day series against Pakistan last month ended England's run of 11 matches without a one-day win.

"That fightback showed real character," said Fletcher, arriving in India to begin preparation for England's opening match against the hosts on 15 October.

"They were under pressure to perform and in the circumstances some of the older players were now looking over their shoulder whereas normally they might have come straight back into the side."

My fitness is good... It's not something I'm worried about

Andrew Flintoff

England landed in Delhi on Saturday amid a predictable maelstrom of local media interest after a flight via Dubai.

Skipper Andrew Flintoff is hopeful that his team can put in a strong performance in the tournament, as they begin by seeking to avenge a 5-1 defeat in the one-day series against India last winter.

"We believe we can beat anyone, we don't fear anyone, we go out to express ourselves," said Flintoff, who has not played since ankle surgery in July.

"My fitness is good," he added. "It's not something I'm worried about. I've been batting in the nets at home but I'm not one those players who feel they have to bat, day in day out."

England have a formidable task to qualify as one of the top two teams from Group B, beginning with a match against hosts India on October 15 and also facing Australia and a qualifying team.

"There's a lot of good young players in the side, a lot of talent," Flintoff said of his 14-man squad.

SEE ALSO
England's one-day woes
07 Oct 06 |  England
Flintoff fully focused on Trophy
06 Oct 06 |  England
Flintoff undergoes ankle surgery
27 Jul 06 |  England
Champions Trophy team guide
05 Oct 06 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2006
25 Sep 06 |  Cricket


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