Bresnan fires warning to Sri Lanka
Tim Bresnan insists Sri Lanka are facing a different England side tomorrow from the team that was comfortably beaten by the tourists on their last visit to Headingley Carnegie.
The Yorkshire seamer today brushed aside several unwelcome reminders of his part in England’s eight-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka, on his home ground, which completed a 5-0 NatWest Series whitewash five years ago.
As an inexperienced 21-year-old in only his fifth international, the paceman was smashed to all parts of the ground by Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga in a two-over spell that leaked 29 runs.
Bresnan failed to feature for his country again for more than two years but has since cemented his place in the side, starring in historic World Twenty20 and Ashes victories.
He now believes England have progressed as a team. “We got nailed in that series but everyone has moved on a lot since then. We are a much better one-day unit,” he said.
Bresnan was also in the England team that lost by 10 wickets to Sri Lanka in the World Cup quarter-final in Colombo three months ago.
But their home record is impressive, and they have already secured the first game in this five-match series with an opening victory at the Kia Oval on Tuesday.
Bresnan recalls seven England players making their debuts the last time Sri Lanka toured - a far cry from the stabilised squad he sees today.
“Everyone has got a lot more confidence. We have not got seven debutants. As a unit we did not have a lot of belief (in 2006), whereas now we are quite confident,” he said.
“We have our plans, and everyone knows the role - rather than have seven new guys come into the team and wonder who is doing what, when and how.”
Bresnan credits team director Andy Flower, as well as Alastair Cook and his predecessor as captain Andrew Strauss, for ending England’s days of one-day troubles.
“Fielding and fitness have moved forward a lot,” he said. “I am a lot fitter now than I was back then. If you look around the team we are quite athletic and quite ’in- your-face’ as a fielding unit.
“We are described as quite a hard team. We are under the batsmen’s skin as a fielding unit, and you can only do that if you are creating that buzz.”
“You can only do the best to your ability, and it just happens he was too good for us then. I have got a lot better as well.”
Bresnan has been an influential figure in England’s success of late and their decision to call him up to the squad as soon as he was fit again after an early-season recurrence of a calf injury shows he is an important member of the squad.
Although he is not taking anything for granted, Bresnan is delighted to be featuring in all three formats.
“I can force selection up to a point, churning out performances, but I can’t make them pick me,” he said.
“It’s up to them who they’re going to select. But we’re at a stage where I’m thought of quite highly, I think, and it’s a massive confidence for me that it’s, ’As soon as you’re fit, you’re in’.
“It shows a lot of faith from Cooky and Andy and the selectors that they’ve got in me. It keeps me confident that they’ve got so much belief in me.”