England ready to begin title defence

Captain Stuart Broad has been impressed by England's first opponents Afghanistan

Captain Stuart Broad has been impressed by England's first opponents Afghanistan

First published in National Sport News © by

England have taken great care to cover all options for the defence of their ICC World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka.

But today comes one of the hardest parts for captain Stuart Broad and coach Andy Flower as they aim to select the right team.

Young spinner Danny Briggs has impressed many with his skill and calmness under pressure and therefore comes into the equation as a frontline bowler for England's opening Group A match against Afghanistan under the Premadasa Stadium floodlights.

The slow left-armer fared especially well on an awkward surface at the P Sara Oval, where England defended just 111 against Pakistan to pull off an unlikely second successive warm-up win. But evidence from Wednesday's two matches at the Premadasa suggested pace would be rewarded as well as spin.

"One thing is for sure, selection is going to be very tough," Broad said after England's final practice session at Nondescripts CC.

"Everyone who's been given the chance has stepped up and performed and that's what you want as a captain. You want tough decisions to make because it means everyone is on the top of their game."

Whoever England pick, Broad knows they will need to be on top of their game against the tournament minnows, who have had to be ultra-resourceful on and off the pitch to make the startling progress they have over the past five years. Broad saw enough in Afghanistan's defeat against India to conclude they are not necessarily also-rans here.

"They look a talented side. Anyone who watched will know the dangers they bring," Broad added. "They batted fantastically well against Sri Lanka A (in a warm-up match) earlier in the week. So we know they're going to be a dangerous side. I'm sure Afghanistan are looking forward to the game and I don't think it will let anyone down."

However, England have made a virtue under Flower of concentrating on their own performances rather than dwelling too long on the opposition.

"It's important we don't focus too much on that (Afghanistan) and really look at ourselves and make sure we get our disciplines right, because we've got some really good players in our unit, some powerful strikers of the ball and some skilful bowlers," Broad added.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree