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Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Sunday, 9 January 2011

England coach Andy Flower targets World Cup victory

ENGLAND LIMITED OVERS SERIES IN AUSTRALIA
Date: 9 January - 6 February
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio and Live on Sky Sports


Andy Flower
Flower's side face the Netherlands in their opening World Cup game

England coach Andy Flower believes his team can win the World Cup, but says the limited-overs series in Australia is not the ideal preparation.

Having won the Ashes series 3-1, England begin their World Cup against the Netherlands on 22 February in Asia.

But first England face Australia in two Twenty20 and seven one-day matches on hard pitches that are different to the spin-friendly ones found in South Asia.

"I think it is possible, but it's going to be very difficult," said Flower.

England's Ashes victory was their first series win in Australia in 24 years and Flower is confident they can take their Test form into the limited overs version of the game.

606: DEBATE

"I'm not sure where we're rated in one-day internationals but I think the brand of cricket we're playing, we've got a chance," added Flower.

"We'll have to switch on to the sub-continent conditions and thrive very quickly. Even the Bangladesh conditions will be very tricky - they've just beaten New Zealand 4-0.

"That's going to be a tricky match in itself."

England are pooled in Group B for the tournament where, among others, they will face India and Bangladesh on their home soil.

With that in mind, Flower says the matches in Australia will provide a completely different challenge to what they will face on the sub-continent, where the twin-spin threat of Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy is more likely to prosper.

Flower, though, does not diminish the importance of playing Australia, the three-time defending world champions, before the World Cup as he looks to fine-tune his side.

"We're playing against a good side - the number one ODI side in the world - and that's great opposition leading up to the World Cup. That's a big plus," he added.

"But the conditions are very different so it makes things slightly tricky because the make-up of the side could be different. It makes the lead in not perfect but we'll make the most of it.

"In training definitely we'll be combining it with looking to the World Cup, it's pertinent."

He added: "It's a strange run-in, yes, we'll be playing one-day cricket but in Australian conditions.

"The type of cricket we'll need to win in the sub-continent will be different, different skills, different make up to the side maybe, perhaps a slightly different batting order."

With England's Ashes success still fresh, Flower has little time to focus the minds of his players for a limited-overs programme that holds such significance with the World Cup so close.

The match against the Prime Minister's XI on Monday (2245 GMT), who will be led by new Australia Twenty20 vice-captain Tim Paine, will at least allow them the chance to ease back into the shorter formats.

Flower will, however, call on an under-strength pace attack will the injured Stuart Broad out for the entire series, while James Anderson will be rested for the opening three games to manage his workload as he was the only seamer to play in all five Ashes Tests.

"If we don't rest him right now there is a significant chance he will break down," Flower warned.

"He has just played five Tests in a row and that's a magnificent achievement in itself. So he has to rest now."

But without two of his key bowlers, Flower is expecting a tough series against an Australia side smarting under the weight of public criticism following their Ashes humiliation.

"They are the number one ODI side and we are languishing in mid-table," he added.

"It is a huge challenge for us and we won't have two of our premier strike bowlers in Anderson and Broad, so it's a challenge for our bowling attack, but also an exciting opportunity for them and for us."

Andrew Strauss will be rested for Monday's warm-up match in Canberra, with the skipper set to fly to Melbourne where he has a house, meaning Paul Collingwood will lead the team.

Strauss will rejoin the team for the second Twenty20 in Melbourne on 14 January.

We've got to keep the momentum going, that's crucial, and it's important we start well in the practice game on Monday

Paul Collingwood

That will mean Collingwood will be in charge of the side for the next three games and, after leaving the Test scene on a high, the Durham player admits he will attack the captaincy with plenty of enthusiasm.

"I'm feeling very, very happy. I've got a big smile on my face," he said.

"The reason I play the game is to contribute to the England cricket team, and to go out on a note like that in front of huge English support - at a real traditional ground in Australia - and have that kind of result is literally the perfect way to go.

"I'm a very happy man. I've been waiting a long time to do something special like this out here in Australia, and it feels absolutely perfect.

"With the camaraderie that we have in the changing room, it's important we have a beer together and talk about the games and enjoy it.

"That is exactly what we did last night."

He added: "It [the Twenty20s] have come round quickly, straight after the Ashes, but that's probably a good thing. I'm looking forward to it.

"We've got to move forward. This is an important series coming up with the T20s - we don't get a lot of opportunities to play them on the international stage.

"Then we've got to keep the form going, moving on to the one-dayers and the World Cup.

"We've got to keep the momentum going, that's crucial, and it's important we start well in the practice game on Monday."



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see also
England yet to peak, says Strauss
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England seal Ashes series triumph
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Anderson to miss ODI series start
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England in Australia 2010-11
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