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Mott laments lack of reserve day for England’s T20 World Cup semi-final
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Mott laments lack of reserve day for England’s T20 World Cup semi-final

Matthew Mott has said the lack of a reserve day for England’s T20 World Cup semi-final against India on Thursday would not happen in an ideal world and called on the International Cricket Council to remedy the issue for further tournaments.

While the first semi-final between South Africa and Afghanistan in Trinidad on Wednesday has a reserve day set aside in the event of rain, the second in Guyana – a day game during what is historically the country’s wettest month on average – has only 250 minutes of additional time to ensure a result.

In the event of a washout – a 10-overs per side match is required for a result in the knockout stages – India would play in the final on Saturday by virtue of topping their Super Eight group. Mott, who said the only forecasters to be accurate so far on tour were a couple of Phil Salt’s “surfer friends” in Barbados, would sooner have an extra day.

“It’s something we’ve known about since the start of the tourna­ment, so to cry foul over it now ­probably doesn’t make a lot of sense,” the England head coach said. “[But] I’m not going to lie, it would be great to have a reserve day because the weather can change from day to day. In an ideal world, it would look like that [a reserve day for both semi-finals], but maybe that’s something the ICC need to look at long term.”

Mott was more inclined to focus on the task at hand which, given India’s run of seven successive wins, is significant. Memories abound of England’s 10-wicket victory in Adelaide when the two sides met at the same juncture in 2022 en route to England securing the title, but there is an awareness that Rohit Sharma’s side are much transformed since.

“They definitely come out a lot harder in the powerplay with the bat,” Mott said. “The way Rohit has led from the front is quite obvious for everyone to see. But that also presents a unique opportunity for our bowling attack to take early wickets. We’ve had to play most of this tournament from behind and with adversity. We’d love to throw that first punch, get in front and really hammer that home.”

India’s Jasprit Bumrah is congratulated by wicketkeeper Rishabh PantView image in fullscreen

While, in Mott’s words, England have had to “scratch and claw” their way to this point, he fancies the ride has “galvanised” the side for two “cut-throat” matches. The Australian was inclined to select an unchanged XI from the victory against USA – Chris Jordan preferred to Mark Wood – but could consider a shock debut for the spinner Tom Hartley if the pitch at Providence Stadium looks conducive.

England also need an answer to the questions posed by Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian quick who has 11 wickets from six games and an economy of just 4.08 per over and who Mott considers an “all-time” great in T20 cricket. “He’ll be a big part of our planning, any way we can nullify his influence on the game will go a long way,” Mott said. “That’s something we’ve done well, taking our medicine against certain bowlers and then doubling down at the other end.

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“There will be players who think they can take him, and times where we have to box clever. I don’t see too many flaws but hopefully he has one of those off days that any bowler can have and we can capitalise on that.”

After England’s dismal campaign in the 50-over World Cup last winter, it may also be that Mott’s ­continuation in the job, along with Jos ­Buttler’s captaincy, hinges on the result. Rob Key, the team director, was with the squad at the start of the tournament and will have to decide whether their chemistry as a leadership pairing still works.

“If you get into coaching and you are worried about job security, then you’re in the wrong job,” Mott said. “Jos and I have a great combination going. We really enjoy our influence on the group. It is all positive from this end. We will be judged at the end of the tournament but we are really excited about the challenge ahead.”

Source: theguardian.com