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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 18:29 GMT
Agnew's World Cup verdict - England
AustraliaSri LankaNew ZealandPakistanSouth AfricaEnglandEnglandIndia

By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

England
When they announced their squad, I made plain my reservations about Michael Vaughan and I still feel his position as captain is the over-riding issue.

The team management must work out if he's physically up to this challenge or not.

Chairman of selectors David Graveney has been saying other competing nations have injury worries.

They do, but not with the captain. Vaughan is an outstanding captain, but not an outstanding player in one-day cricket. It would be terrible for the team if he had to fly home early with injury.

I am also concerned about the bowling, which is very inexperienced. Jon Lewis and James Anderson need to be fit.

ENGLAND: SEEDED 7
Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff
England have hosted four of the previous eight World Cups, and been beaten in three finals
They failed to get out of the group stage in 1999 and 2003
I'm not sure the conditions will necessarily suit either of them very much, because they'll want the ball to swing and I'm not sure it will very much.

But at least they have been around the block a bit - Anderson was in the side in the last World Cup and Lewis has been a county pro for many years.

Of the other bowlers, Liam Plunkett is only 21, a real kid. Sajid Mahmood is inconsistent and Monty Panesar has only played half a dozen one-day internationals.

Both Plunkett and Mahmood have potential and I expect Monty to bowl well in the Caribbean, but you can still imagine a situation where if a couple of players get in and thrash the bowling around, the captain's going to be looking at where to turn to.

It may be that people like Kevin Pietersen and even Ian Bell have to do some bowling just to relieve the others.

The top three in the batting looks one-dimensional. Other teams have got people who take on the bowlers and smack it over the top. England have got Vaughan, Ed Joyce and Ian Bell.

To give him his due, Bell did start to hit over the top in the power play overs in Australia, but it will be especially important to have that skill in this tournament and none of them are the most adept at it.

We know England are not a great one-day side. They have had these confidence-boosting wins in Australia but their one-day cricket, overall, has been horribly inconsistent for about 10 years.

If they can suddenly nail it down now that will be terrific but they will have to play at the standards they reached at the end of the Australian tour.



SEE ALSO
Bopara confident of Cup success
15 Feb 07 |  England
England - Players to watch
14 Feb 07 |  England
World Cup form guide - England
21 Feb 07 |  Cricket
How the World Cup evolved
15 Feb 07 |  International Teams
Cricket World Cup records
14 Feb 07 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2007 schedule
20 Jul 05 |  Cricket


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