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Miller in confident mood

National selector Geoff Miller is confident England have the squad to challenge for the ICC Champions Trophy next month, writes Rob Ellis.

The hosts announced their 15-man squad today for the showpiece, as well as the three-match NatWest one-day international series against New Zealand, Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan earning recalls.

With Ashley Giles in charge for his first major international tournament, Miller believes England have the potential to achieve success in the one-day format this summer.

He told ecb.co.uk: “We’re quietly confident. We’ve got a good squad, we know the conditions, so we can do well.

“But we have to be at our real best to get a long way in this competition because other sides have got some good players and good squads too.

“It’s one game at a time. We start with Australia, that’s a hard game. Every game is going to be a hard game.”

England recorded a 2-1 ODI series victory against New Zealand in March and will meet the Black Caps once more in the group stages of the Champions Trophy, which begin on June 6.

After being run close in the Test series which followed their 50-over success, Miller is under no illusions as to the threat posed by the Kiwis.

He said: “It’s not just about the Champions Trophy. We’ve got to face New Zealand first.

“We were over there this winter and they showed what a good side they can be. We certainly won’t be taking New Zealand lightly, not for one moment.”

Six of the players selected competed in the 2009 Champions Trophy in South Africa, providing much-needed experience to the squad, in addition to the exciting young trio of Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow.

All three players have reached three figures for their counties already this season and Miller welcomes the fact a number of the squad are in form.

He continued: “We’ve got a very good mix. We’ve got experienced players and we have got young players but they are players with quality so we’re confident they can all do a job for us.

“It’s nice that they have got runs, that they are in form and playing well. They are confident which is good.

“We know what they are capable of doing. It’s not always about scoring runs at that moment in time. That helps because it gives the guys confidence but it’s not all about one or two recent performances.”

With Bresnan back to full fitness following an elbow problem which ruled him out of the recent series victory, the only other decision to be made was regarding Bopara.

The Essex middle-order batsman has not featured for England since last September, but provides a useful alternative for captain Alastair Cook.

“We take decisions on what the build-up and the strength of the squad is," Miller added. “He offers us certain areas that we were looking for. Consequently, he got the nod.

“There’s two new balls now. We need a top-quality bowling attack and you need somebody who can do other things with the ball as well.

“He can do that, so if conditions are conducive, he’s there for selection if required."

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