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'England need to adjust quickly'

December 09, 2008 12:28 IST

With no match practice at all and the the fact that none in the England squad has played first-class cricket in last four months, former England batsman Mark Butcher warned Kevin Pietersen's team to be prepared for tricky readjustments to a Test mind-set.

The England team, who were not released to play for their counties by the England and Wales Cricket Board at the end of the summer, have played only limited-overs matches since the final Test against South Africa, four months ago.

Butcher identified the peculiar difficulties that the lack of practice will cause England.

"In 2001 we played three warm-up games, and we still lost the first Test match. Never mind everything else that has gone on, this is going to be enormously tough for England," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Butcher, who averaged 43 during England's three-Test tour of India in 2001, gave some tips to the team so that it could try to get things right in the middle straightway.

"In India the ball does not come on to the bat, you have to be very sure about the bat face, you have to play the ball late. Getting your head around that takes more than nets, it takes time in the middle before a batsman can be confident that he has got it right. Batting-wise, it is very difficult to adjust," he said.

"For bowlers, the length has to be a good yard further up than is typical in England, while for spinners it takes a very long time to figure the optimum pace to bowl at to make the ball spin. That's especially difficult if they haven't spent enough time over there to figure out what release speed to use," Butcher said.

As England's scheduled three-day warm-up in Baroda was scrapped in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks, coach Peter Moores has already conceded that "preparations are going to be compromised in many ways through circumstances."

"We've got a lot of work to do to get mentally in the right place, and also physically and technically ready to go," he said.

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