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September 1, 2006
England are in desperate need of a one-day miracle after winning only three of their last completed 16 ODIs - and one of those was against Ireland - as well as losing eight home matches on the trot.
Darren Gough told the BBC that, unsurprisingly, confidence in the team is low. "England have lacked belief in the ability of some of the players. That's down to not knowing whether they're going to be part of the squad because they're not winning and there are always going to be changes. It would have been nice if we'd got all the players who are going to play in the Champions Trophy or the World Cup and had a good run together. But since last year we've been split up through injuries and different players coming in. Everyone's been playing for places."
Kevin Pietersen also spoke to the BBC, telling them that the influx of new players had created its own problems.
"In a Test if you lose a session - or even two - you can still win a match, whereas in a one-day game with the inexperience if you lose 10 overs you lose the game. It's a case of knowing when to turn it on, when to be ruthless and when to be clinical. We've got that approach in the Test matches but we're struggling to find it in the one-dayers."
Andrew Strauss, meanwhile, explained that the policy was now to go for a steady rather than spectacular approach. "We've tried a few combinations," he said. "We were looking at the attacking opener at one stage and we've tried a couple of people in that role and that didn't quite work out for us. Maybe we've just gone back to trying to get more of an assured start and setting a platform for the middle order players.
"Marcus has played that attacking role at the top of the order for a number of years now and done very well and it's not as if the other players at the top of the order can't hit boundaries, but wickets in hand are very, very important in one-day cricket."
Pakistan, meanwhile, were encouraged by their Cardiff performance after the problems of the previous ten days. "We have fielded well, certainly bowled well ... I'm not sure how well we've batted yet," Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach observed. "What has happened in the past we want to put behind us. Cricket is the most important thing for all of us at the moment, and we will be concentrating on that. But I suppose it is an interesting psychological motivating factor for the team. They are very determined and are playing some very good cricket. This is an interesting time in Pakistan's cricket history."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.