Wright wary of Scotland threat
England all-rounder Luke Wright accepts Scotland provide a much different challenge to the waiting Australia, but has backed his side to succeed on both fronts.
Having successfully dispatched Bangladesh 2-0 in the recent npower Test series, England’s focus switches to one-day internationals with a one-off meeting against Scotland followed by a five-match Natwest Series against Ricky Ponting and company.
Tomorrow’s game in Edinburgh sees the visitors go in as heavy favourites, a status they will not enjoy against Australia.
Those games are much harder to pick, with the tourists winning 6-1 in England last year but losing crucial psychological points after being outplayed in the World Twenty20 final in the West Indies last month.
After playing a leading part in England’s success in the Caribbean, Wright is expecting his team-mates to tackle both tasks with plenty of confidence.
“It’s always a challenge every time you play against sides like Scotland, as we found out in the World Twenty20 against Ireland,” he said.
“It’s a difficult challenge and you have to be at your best to beat them.
“And we all know what Australia are like. They always come back strong and they certainly want to put things right against us.
“But we have a lot of confidence at the minute and hopefully we can build on that and put in some good performances.
“We’ve come across quite a few challenges now as a squad and overcome them. Scotland are underdogs tomorrow and it’s always difficult against teams who have nothing to lose. We have to be professional in the way we go about it.
“But confidence-wise the boys are on fire right now and everyone is excited and looking forward to taking on these challenges.”
He added: “I suppose it [the World Twenty20] doesn’t count for anything because it’s a different format but any time you are winning games you are gaining in confidence and winning a major tournament helps a lot.”
Ian Bell, expected to make his return to the one-day side for the first time since November 2008 in Edinburgh tomorrow, has spoken of how he used Wright’s aggressive style as inspiration in limited-overs cricket.
The Sussex man is quick to downplay his role in advancing Bell’s game but is eager to learn more about batting in the longer form from his team-mate.
Wright, a limited-overs mainstay, has yet to be capped at Test level but remains keen to prove himself on that stage.
“We’ve been using the buddy system where you work with different people and Belly and I were together, pairing up in the nets,” he said.
“Belly’s in great form and it’s a bit hard for someone like me to be giving him tips. He’s hitting it beautifully so there’s not that much to change really.
“Test cricket is slightly different to what we worked on this week but it’s definitely something I will be picking his brain about in the future.
“I came close (to the Test side) in South Africa but just missed out. Andy Flower and the selectors have been very good and just said, ’keep working on your bowling, keep working on your movement with the ball’.
“Andy also wants to see people scoring hundreds. It’s something he’s talked about in one-day cricket and Test matches and he said if I’m doing that for Sussex, which he thinks I can do, that will push it for me.
“You always back yourself to play. If you’re putting in the performances that get you a chance then you’d always back yourself to do a job.”