A few days after Duncan Fletcher, England's coach, termed Monty Panesar a "second spinner", Michael Vaughan, the captain, has backed the left-arm spinner to have a major impact at the World Cup. Panesar was the only England bowler to emerge with credit during England's five-wicket defeat against Australia in the final World Cup warm-up match at Arnos Vale, with 1 for 16 from six overs.
"I see what he's done in this game and within the team in the last year," he said. "He's proved in one-day cricket he's going to be a threat. On these kinds of wickets I can see him having a really good World Cup if he continues to play like this. He spins the ball and he's going to be a real attacking option for us in the field."
Although the rest of the bowlers didn't particularly distinguish themselves, Vaughan said he had formed an idea of his attack for England's opening World Cup match against New Zealand on March 16 in St Lucia. "It was always part of our plan to give every bowler six overs today. We've done that and we feel we've got a little bit nearer to deciding what our best bowling attack is for these conditions."
Vaughan, who scored 62 in the match, insisted he hadn't suffered from the hamstring problem that kept him down to just three matches during England's recent CB Series triumph in Australia. Fletcher had said beforehand that Vaughan would field for "20-30 overs", but Vaughan was only on the field for 17.
"That was to do with batting for two hours," Vaughan explained. "Don't read anything into that. I'm fine. The week in St Vincent couldn't have gone any better for me."
However, Vaughan was far from encouraged by England's sloppy outfielding. "We didn't field well and maybe that's a little bit to do with the training we've done. We've tried to hit the guys with a lot of fitness and maybe that was an after-effect of all the work they've done. They did look a bit slow in the field.
"But the days going into the New Zealand game in St Lucia will be cricket-orientated so we'll make sure that we are really fresh going into that game."