Bresnan refuses to be held back
Tim Bresnan insists there are no limits to what he and England can achieve at this World Cup.
Thousands left the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday night hugely impressed with Bresnan’s contributions to the epic Group B tie against India.
He was the only England bowler able to tame Sachin Tendulkar for any length of time and thoroughly deserved his maiden one-day international five-wicket haul as he struck three times in four balls in the 49th over.
Bresnan and England must train their sights tomorrow on a less high-profile encounter, at the same venue in Bangalore, but one which nonetheless carries a health warning for their World Cup aspirations should they be off their game against Ireland.
The Yorkshire seamer is aware of the danger, but remains confident of his own as well as England’s collective potential, having watched in awe as captain Andrew Strauss responded to Tendulkar’s hundred by hitting an ODI-best 158 himself.
“We’re still looking to get out there and improve on the last game we played,” said Bresnan, who took 5-48 and also clubbed 14 in quick time as England chased 338 under lights.
“We improved in the field and in the bowling, although not everyone fired. It’s quite exciting for us that we still see a lot of improvement in ourselves from the India game.
“To perform like that against the hosts is massive for us. The batting performance was exceptional - the way Straussy and Belly [Ian Bell] played through the middle was phenomenal.”
Bresnan’s upward curve has been remarkable in all formats since his return to the England one-day side in the summer of 2009.
There is no secret formula, he confirms, but he is confident - as with England - there is much more to come.
“It’s experience, hard work - any of those things,” he added. “I think I’m still improving as a cricketer - as a bowler and certainly still as a batter.
“As I said 18 months ago, who knows where I can be when I’ve reached a level I’m happy with?”
Bresnan’s pace colleague Stuart Broad was fit enough to return to practice today, having missed the India match because of a stomach upset.
England are merely optimistic rather than confident, however, about Broad’s readiness to play tomorrow.
In any case, Bresnan sees his Yorkshire team-mate Ajmal Shahzad, who filled in for Broad at the weekend, as a very able deputy.
“Obviously Ajjy bowled well,” he said. “But Stuart’s a quality performer as well when he’s fit.
“Broady just brings us a bit of height advantage. He gets that extra bounce. He’s good at the death as well and in the powerplays.
“He’s obviously a lot more experienced than me and Ajmal, so he brings that to the table as well. But I’m just glad I’m not picking the side because Ajjy bowled really well.”
England’s pace spearhead James Anderson, however, conceded more than 90 runs in under 10 overs and boasts combined figures of 1-163 after two matches.
“Jimmy will be disappointed with his performance,” said Bresnan. “But obviously he’s a quality bowler, and we know he can bounce back from that.
“We’re all backing him to bounce back as well. That’s where the improvement lies because when we gel as a bowling unit it’s very exciting, the things we can do.”
Bresnan knows, as do all limited-overs bowlers, that there is precious little margin of error - for Anderson, or himself.
“It’s inches maybe,” he continued. “You can’t get away with anything wider than off stump. Even on off stump is all right for some players.
“It’s difficult to keep it in an area where they can’t score, especially in the powerplays.
“It’s easier to play your shots when the ball is harder and new, and that’s when Jimmy has got the ball.
“The powerplay’s a lot more difficult than at the death, because you can only have three outside the circle. It’s a nightmare, but it can be attacking as well.”
Bresnan had reason for satisfaction as well as a little frustration on his 26th birthday yesterday.
He did plenty to be proud of with bat and ball 24 hours earlier, but was also reprimanded by the International Cricket Council for swishing his bat into his stumps after being bowled in England’s run-chase.
Anderson’s search for a Bangalore restaurant serving Yorkshire pudding, to make his team-mate feel at home, also proved in vain.
Instead, Bresnan chose low-key celebrations - and made the best of it.
“It was all right,” he said. “I treated myself to a nice long lie-in, until about half past two. It was pretty good.”
He will need to get up a little earlier for tomorrow’s day-nighter, but should at least be well rested after Sunday’s exertions.