January 18, 2002

England under prepared for India one-dayers, says Fletcher

Sumali Moitra

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - England are not fully prepared for a six-match one-day series against India, which starts on Saturday, due to lack of adequate practice, coach Duncan Fletcher has said.

Fletcher had complained earlier in the week about poor facilities in this eastern Indian city, where the first match of the series will be played.

"We are pretty under prepared for the one-day series. The reasons for that are obvious," Fletcher told reporters after England played a practice match with a local team.

"We got some practice today. But the opposition was not too difficult, though they did try their best," he said.

England bowled out the Cricket Association of Bengal XI, led by Rohan Gavaskar, son of Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar, for 150 in 42.3 overs and then achieved the target in the 26th over.

England are expected to name their team for Saturday's game after a nets session at the Eden Gardens stadium on Friday.

Fletcher declined to comment on the likely composition of the side, which could include a three-pronged pace attack of Andrew Caddick, Darren Gough and Matthew Hoggard.

But Durham medium-pacer, Paul Collingwood, 25, could have made a case for himself grabbing three wickets for 18 runs in Thursday's game despite a stomach problem.

"Collingwood bowled well. He had a good game even though he's not feeling too good," Fletcher said.

Left-handed opener Marcus Trescothick kept wickets on Thursday and Fletcher did not rule out the possibility of him getting the nod ahead of James Foster.

"Trescothick had kept wickets at the under-18 level. If needed, he will play as wicket-keeper," Fletcher said.

"That could give us more options."

Trescothick scored 240 runs at an average of 48.00 in last month's three-Test series last month, which India won 1-0. He has scored 883 runs in 26 one-day internationals for England.

The series ends in early February in Bombay, from where the England team will travel to New Zealand for a test and one-day series.