We have a chance - Flower

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Andy Flower

While Andy Flower admits England's form is "poor", he insists they are capable of winning at least two of their group games

Team director Andy Flower insists England fly to South Africa harbouring hopes of lifting the Champions Trophy - despite their 6-1 defeat in the NatWest Series.

England avoided a whitewash at the hands of Australia only by winning the final match at the Riverside yesterday, and Flower admits it will take “more than a change of scenery” to right the wrongs of the last three weeks.

However, he claims the brevity of the Champions Trophy, which gets under way tomorrow and runs for two weeks, gives his side genuine hope of defying the limited-overs form book.

“The fact that it’s a very short tournament gives us a chance,” said Flower, whose side meet Sri Lanka in Centurion on Friday. “We backed the squad a month ago when it was chosen, and they’ve got a lot of experience through this.

“I know it’s not a good experience, and no-one wants to get a drubbing like this, but they will have learnt a lot.

“It will be nice to get a change of scenery and draw a line under this one-day series, but we’ve got a lot of hard work to do, and there’s some thinking and some decision-making to be done about our one-day squad.

“It was really nice to get a win under our belt before we left - no-one wanted to go down 7-0. But we want and need more than a change of scenery.

“Our form is poor - we can’t hide from that. We play three qualifying matches. If we get a couple of wins there then we’re into the semi-finals, so we have a chance.”

Flower lamented England’s shortcomings with the bat against Australia - no-one bettered Andrew Strauss’ 63 at the Rose Bowl and Lord’s - and expressed particular displeasure at the manner several players got themselves out.

But he claims there were bright spots in a largely dispiriting one-day campaign.

“Our whole batting side hasn’t functioned well,” Flower added. “There have been a number of soft dismissals throughout the series and those are more of a concern. It’s a lack of confidence.

“There have been glimpses of very good performances. Eoin Morgan played a busy Neil Fairbrother-type role in the middle - he looks promising, and struck the ball beautifully at Nottingham.

“(Joe) Denly looked the part up front as well, but all of our batsmen have got to go on to match-defining scores.

"They’ve all got in through the series, and all got out again fairly soon after, so they’ve all got to improve.”

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