Yardy lauds healthy competition

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Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood & Michael Yardy

Michael Yardy, right, said: “That’s why I think we’ve had the success, there’s always been that competition for places”

Michael Yardy believes fierce competition for places in the England set-up is the secret to their success.

Team director Andy Flower’s charges are unbeaten in 15 series in all formats and in the last 12 months won the World Twenty20 plus the Ashes.

Yardy, a member of England’s limited-overs teams, is one of six players to have joined the tour Down Under since the end of the Test series last week.

A World Twenty20 winner in May, the left-arm spinner is set to play in the first of two T20 internationals against Australia - at Adelaide tomorrow.

Yardy, who led Sussex as they won the Twenty20 Cup in 2009, pinpointed England’s strength in depth as key to going undefeated in series since September that year.

“That’s what good teams do,” he said. “There’s always a kind of competitiveness to try and get yourself in the team and stay there.

“There’s someone desperate to get into the team and everyone wants to be part of a successful team. I’m no different and none of the lads are any different to that.

“That’s why I think we’ve had the success, there’s always been that competition for places.”

If such competition has aided England's results, it has not been divisive.

On the contrary, Yardy highlighted the feelgood factor inside the England camp, which has immediately rubbed off on the new arrivals.

The 30-year-old made an immediate impact with three scalps in a convincing seven-wicket win over a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra yesterday, underpinned by Ian Bell’s unbeaten 124.

Ian Bell & Dan Christian

In light of yesterday's win, Yardy added: "Everyone was itching to see Belly score a hundred and they were really pleased for him when he got there"

“The boys are buzzing, obviously after winning a series like that they are going to be. It’s nice to be a part of it. You fit in very well, it’s a good environment to come into,” he added. “Everyone is really happy and enjoying each other’s company.

“There is a lot of love in the group at the moment and whether that bring results or it’s the results that bring the team closer together I am not too sure. But certainly everyone is happy.

“Everyone is willing each other on to do well, everyone was itching to see Belly score a hundred and they were really pleased for him when he got there. There is a real feelgood factor about this team.

“It was nice for me to bowl well also. I have to bowl a fraction slower over here so it was a good start.”

England tomorrow will aim for an international record eighth consecutive Twenty20 win.

The run began during the World Twenty20 and while Yardy, who has played in all seven victories, said the players had spoken about the record, their focus was on keeping up their winning form.

“It’s been discussed but I don’t think it is something that has always been spoken about," he said.

“Obviously, you want to achieve world records and it is an opportunity to achieve that, but it is not the main focus. It is very much about continuing the tour in a successful mode.”

There is an extra incentive for England’s players to maintain their good form in the shorter formats with places up for grabs in the 15-man World Cup squad, which is to be named by Wednesday.

Graeme Swann

Yardy, who may partner fellow finger spinner Graeme Swann, above, at the World Cup on the sub-continent, said: "In terms of pitches you have to be adaptable no matter where you play"

Yardy revealed, however, that the players had not spoken to each other about the prospect of earning selection for the global tournament on the sub-continent, which begins next month.

“To be honest with you it hasn’t really been mentioned,” he said.

“You talk about the World Cup but it is one of those things that is out of your control. You have to take your chances when you get the opportunity.”

Yardy could be included as a spin partner for Graeme Swann on pitches that should favour their craft.

While those in Australia are unlikely to offer him the same assistance Yardy, who does not find prolific turn in any case, thinks the upcoming games will provide a good rehearsal of his flexibility should he earn selection for the World Cup.

“In terms of pitches you have to be adaptable no matter where you play,” he said.

“I don’t think it really matters because in England you can play where it is fast and quick and then you play at Hove which is slow and low.

“I think in Australia it is slightly different in terms of maybe the size of fields, but being flexible is the key.

“You might turn up in India and it’s green and fly through. There’s a few pitches out there that you could turn up and it will turn square.”

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