Bresnan: England ready for Sri Lanka
England have started their homework already as they plot the downfall of Sri Lanka in tomorrow’s ICC World Twenty20 semi-final.
Paul Collingwood’s team have revelled in demonstrating their exciting and canny cricket in the shortest format of the game over the past two weeks.
It has carried them through an awkward group qualifying stage in rainy Guyana and then flourished in a perfect Super Eight campaign, which ensured they avoided fellow group winners Australia in the last four.
To reach Sunday’s final in Barbados, England now have to beat Sri Lanka at St Lucia’s Beausejour Stadium, and, as when they beat New Zealand there on Monday, Tim Bresnan will be a key player.
The all-rounder, who has made giant strides since last season, does not lack for confidence in his or his team’s ability.
“If we keep playing the brand of cricket we can play, it doesn’t really matter who we play against,” he said.
“We’ll do our homework before, put our plans in place. We’ll have respect for the opposition but we won’t be scared of anyone.”
Bresnan has been trusted by Collingwood and team director Andy Flower with new-ball and death bowling and a potentially pivotal batting position of number seven.
He is relishing the responsibility as just one component in a hugely talented Twenty20 team.
“We’re quite smart as a bowling group and getting smarter all the time,” he added. “We make the batters hit into the wind, especially when the boundaries are so big (in St Lucia), and that means they’re playing into our hands.
“That will be a big factor in our gameplan.”
As for the onus on him to set the tone with the ball, Bresnan actually believes his initial task - alongside fellow Yorkshireman Ryan Sidebottom - can be a little less precarious than those that follow.
“I think the first over is almost easier than bowling the third or fourth,” he added.
“If you bowl it where you want to - back of a length and straight - with a little bit of variation, especially if it swings as well, the batsmen are just going to have a little bit of a look at you.
“By the third or fourth over, that is when the batter really starts to try to cash in. That’s when you’ve got to use your skill and nous to do something different, and keep them guessing.”
Bresnan hopes he can prove he too has Andrew Flintoff’s knack of performing for England when they need him most.
Bresnan has made it clear several times already he wants to prove himself in his own right rather than simply earn comparison with Flintoff.
Asked yet again today about his potential compared to Flintoff’s career achievements, the 25-year-old said: “He’s had some magnificent performances when the chips are down.
“I would like to do that as well. If I jump into those boots I would love that.”
England will today welcome back Kevin Pietersen after he flew to England on Saturday night to be present at the birth of his first child in London.
Pietersen missed just one fixture - in which Bresnan took man of the match honours in a three-wicket win against the Black Caps - and will be back well in time for England’s next big test.
Bresnan added: “Everyone’s happy for KP, a baby boy, his first child, a fantastic experience. He was right to be there, in my opinion.
“There have been a few photographs floating around and it’s a very cute-looking baby.”