| Andy Caddick poses with a Taiwanese rat snake at Fitzsimons Snake Park in Durban Monday. (Reuters)
Durban: Even though concern over Michael Vaughan’s fitness remains, the England camp is presenting a brave front ahead of Wednesday’s day-night game versus India at Kingsmead.
“Our thoughts are positive and the big win (126 runs) against Pakistan has lifted the confidence,” maintained Andrew Caddick, for whom this World Cup is his first. Speaking to the Media late Monday morning, at the Holiday Inn Elangeni, he added: “Basically, we’ve got to continue our good form.”
Caddick, of course, conveniently forgot that England have also collected eight of their 12 points at the expense of Holland and Namibia when he spoke about the Indians “not having” consistently played tough opposition. Not that a victory over Namibia should be the yardstick to judge form, but the Indians’ win was more emphatic than England’s.
However, Caddick acknowledged that India remained “a very big threat” in England’s push for making the Super Six. “I’m not looking into what’s happened in the past, but the match here should be very good. As I’ve said, we’ve got positive thoughts.”
Inevitably, there were questions about Sachin Tendulkar. While Caddick accepted it was a “challenge” bowling to him, he felt Sachin too “was human” and added: “That he is back to opening isn’t going to alter our plans much. Actually, the guys are happy they have the chance to get him early...”
Caddick said that pushing the Indians on the backfoot, via pace and bounce, will be a feature of England’s strategy.
Commenting on young Jimmy Anderson’s excellent show (four for 29) versus Pakistan, Caddick said: “It’s nice when someone at the other end picks wickets... I ended up playing a supporting role and didn’t quite mind. Am I missing Darren Gough as partner' Yes... Any world class performer will be missed.”
Asked whether, at 34, he was a father-figure for the much younger members of his tribe, Caddick replied he wasn’t looking at the present situation quite that way. In fact, he appeared a shade irritated with that question — from none other than one-time England seamer Angus Fraser.
Did the decision to forfeit the Zimbabwe game add to the already high pressure' It was touchy, but Caddick took it head on: “I wouldn’t say so... In fact, that gave us a better indication of where we stood... That we had to win all the matches. Right through, we’ve known what is to be done.”
Later, speaking to The Telegraph, Caddick dismissed a report that he would quit limited overs cricket after the World Cup. “My mind isn’t made up... For now, the matter rests there.” It’s not insignificant, perhaps, that he is contracted to the England and Wales Cricket Board through the summer.
Scan on Vaughan
Meanwhile, Vaughan underwent a scan on his right calf muscle early Monday. While the report did not reveal a major injury, it’s still not certain whether he will take the field Wednesday. If that’s how the England cookie crumbles, either Ronnie Irani or Ian Blackwell will make the XI.
Vaughan’s recovery from injuries, by the way, is known to be slow. In any case, in the past, he has been troubled in the same area.