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ustralia coach Darren Lehmann

is saying what a lot of people

often think during the Cricket

World Cup it needs to be shortened.

Lehmann’s squad has a seven-day

gap between its opening victory

over England and its next Pool A

match against Bangladesh in

Brisbane on Saturday, cyclonic

winds and torrential rain permitting.

Australia’s third group match,

against co-host New Zealand in

Auckland, isn’t until February 28.

“I think we can condense the tour-

nament a little bit, to be honest,”

Lehmann told a Melbourne radio

station. “A week in-between is a

long time.”

The logistics of conducting a

World Cup in 14 cities across two

countries makes scheduling matches


In the only match yesterday, for

instance, Zimbabwe played for the

second time in four days and beat

United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the

last of the 14 teams to play its first

match – by four wickets.

Zimbabwe, coming off a loss to

South Africa, reached 286-6 with

12 balls to spare in reply to the

UAE’s 285-7.

Lehmann’s point about the schedule

is well taken. The World Cup group

phase involves 42 matches in a

month, followed by quarter-finals

and semi-finals before the March

29 final. All up, more than seven


Lehmann is by no means the first

to question the length of the tourna-

ment. Then International Cricket

Council chief executive Malcolm

Speed said, during the 2007 World

Cup in the Caribbean, that seven

weeks was too long.

While New Zealand prepared to

take on England on Friday at

Wellington, Australia’s match on

Saturday against Bangladesh –

which is coming off a win over

Afghanistan in Canberra on

Wednesday – remains in doubt

because of a cyclone off the

Queensland state coast.

World Cup too

long, says




atting coach Mark Ramprakash played

at and missed a straight one yesterday,

when he seemed to suggest the England

line-up at the World Cup isn’t “up to speed

with 50-over cricket and the modern way of


Ramprakash had been asked an

unthreatening question at a news conference

on the eve of England’s Pool A match

against New Zealand about the success of

his efforts to encourage the English bats-

men to play with freedom and express


He said he is “happy with the direction”,

but referred to “the mentality for England to

get up to speed with 50-over cricket and the

modern way of batting in this format”.

He was forced to play some staunch

defence when asked whether he was

suggesting England players are out of

step with the game.

“Well, what I mean is that I set the bar

very high,” Rampraksash explained. “So

you judge yourself against the top, top


“I think it’s fair to say, and I think the stats

show, that England right now came into the

tournament as an underdog.”

Ramprakash said the England squad

lacked the experience of some of the leading

contenders in the tournament, and some of

“our players are finding their way.”

“The exciting thing is that they’ve shown

they can learn quickly,” he said.

Ramprakash said England’s approach

was to try and ensure their top batsmen

faced the largest percentage of the 50-over

innings “because they’re the guys that will

do the damage”.

He said players were starting to learn

when to adopt an aggressive policy in the

first 10 overs and when, if conditions

favoured bowlers, it was better to absorb

pressure and counterpunch.

Coach Ramprakash backs batsmen

Morgan: No panic in England

squad after two defeats



ngland captain Eoin Morgan

says there won’t be any panic

and probably no recrimina-

tions in his squad after their

humiliating eight-wicket loss to

New Zealand at the Cricket World

Cup yesterday.

England have had heavy defeats in

their opening games against the tourna-

ment co-hosts – after their 111-run loss

to Australia in their opening game – and

have only two days to prepare for their

next match against a Scotland team that

narrowly lost to New Zealand earlier this


Morgan said he didn’t expect major

selection changes as a consequence of

yesterday’s loss.

He, however, admits England will

have to act quickly to repair their many

faults before their World Cup campaign

runs entirely off the rails.