Commonwealth Bank Series / News

Australia v England, CB Series 2nd final, Sydney

Fletcher hails his comeback kids

Cricinfo staff

February 11, 2007

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England's late one-day charge has given Duncan Fletcher something to take from the Australian tour © Getty Images
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Duncan Fletcher has hit back at his critics after England completed their 2-0 victory in the CB finals. His earlier calls to have faith in a 'young side' often resulted in derision from many quarters, but he can now reflect on a team that has beaten Australia in its own tournament.

"People didn't believe me when I said the growth in this side can go anywhere and it's really pleasing to see the young players come through like that," he told Sky Sports News.

"To withstand the pressure and beat Australia three times in a row is quite an achievement and there's no better place to produce that than in Australia in a one-day series."

Whereas a matter of weeks ago England's planning for the World Cup almost revolved around picking random names out of a hat, Fletcher now says there is a clear plan heading into the tournament.

"We've got a side that have won here and done very, very well and yet we are still missing people of the calibre of [Michael] Vaughan and [Kevin] Pietersen who are two very important players for us, so it's still going to be very difficult for us [to narrow down the squad]."

"But we're a lot clearer than we were at the start of this series. We really believe in the side now, four in a row is a great achievement and we've just got to continue with that momentum."

Fletcher, himself, received a special mention as Andrew Flintoff relished his first success as captain. "The one person I really want to thank is Duncan Fletcher," said Flintoff, "throughout the trip he has kept taking the knocks for us but he has kept backing us."

"He has been our coach for a long time and he has taken this team forward. You can see the improvement of this team since he has been with us."

Last week Fletcher said Flintoff was more relaxed without the pressures of captaincy, but any job is easier when you are winning and Flintoff soaked up the moment. "To take some silverware home is a great thrill. The past four games has been as good as I have seen an England side play. It's been unbelievable.

"From where we were at in Adelaide to come back in the manner we have done is credit to the team. We knew we could get better and knew we had to."

Sounding a lot like Michael Vaughan, Flintoff said he knew what the team was capable of. "Two weeks of cricket is a long time, we knew we had it in us, it took a while to come out but I am pleased it has done. We can also take a lot of heart from beating Australia three times on the bounce. It shows what this team can do and we will take a good spirit to the World Cup."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Tournament Results
Australia v England at Sydney - Feb 11, 2007
England won by 34 runs (D/L method)
Australia v England at Melbourne - Feb 9, 2007
England won by 4 wickets (with 3 balls remaining)
England v New Zealand at Brisbane - Feb 6, 2007
England won by 14 runs
Australia v New Zealand at Melbourne - Feb 4, 2007
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 10 balls remaining)
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England won by 92 runs
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