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May 15, 2010
Andy Flower has urged his team to be competitive but avoid 'petulance' when they meet Australia in the World Twenty20 final on Sunday.
England have been one of the surprise outfits this tournament, and a key force driving to them to the final has been their outstanding fielding. While the players now demand high standards from each other, they have at times looked unsupportive, with Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom and Kevin Pietersen seen admonishing their team-mates.
"There is a fine line between demanding high standards of your fielders which is a healthy place to be for a side and then stepping over that line into a petulant world, and a world that damages the team in any way," Flower said. "We are constantly on at our guys to stay the right side of that line."
Pietersen returned from a brief trip home for the birth of his first child to take his place against Sri Lanka in England's final Super Eights game and marked the occasion with a thumping 42 from 26 balls to see his side into the final and Flower is happy with the way the paternity break worked out.
"We were quite lucky with the way it fell but I suppose we got two good results in the first two Super Eights games so we made our own luck," Flower said. "I was only concerned with a bit of jet lag. But as you know he's a good professional athlete. He slept on the flight over - he took a sleeping pill on the flight over - and he was fine.
"It [the fatherhood experience] can only be a positive experience. I think anything that our guys find to keep life in perspective in this job, to keep sport in perspective is a good thing."
While a number of England batsmen have performed well - notably Eoin Morgan with 168 runs in six games - Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, recognises Pietersen as the biggest hurdle has side has to overcome if they are to win this tournament for the first time. "He's a wonderful player in all three forms of the game," Clarke said. "He'll be a big part of the final. If we can get him out early it will hold us in good stead."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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