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Moores in good heart

England Coach Peter Moores arrives in South Africa with good vibes all round after his first season in charge of England.

With news about Andrew Flintoff's left ankle on the positive side of cautious and a first one-day international series win for him and a first for England on home soil since 2004 under the belt, there are high hopes for the World Twenty20.

Moores believes a combination of the momentum of the 4-3 NatWest Series success over India and some specialist 20-over knowledge from players like Darren Maddy, Vikram Solanki and Jeremy Snape holds England in good stead in their bid for their first silverware in a world tournament.

"It would be crazy to go into any tournament not believing you can win," said Moores. "We have a lot of players who have played a lot of Twenty20 cricket and been successful domestically.

"But we have had a different build-up to everyone else, so hopefully these seven pressurised games between evenly-matched sides will hold the squad's competitive edge."

England are up one place to seventh in the International Cricket Council rankings thanks to seeing off India so comprehensively in Saturday's decider at Lord's.

Several reputations have been enhanced as a by-product with man-of-the-series Ian Bell and leading wicket-taker James Anderson absolute shoo-ins to be awarded central contracts - they are scheduled to be announced later today along with the one-day squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.

Paul Collingwood, like his team, got better as the summer went on and has a 50% win ratio from 10 one-day matches and two Twenty20 contests since inheriting the limited-overs leadership from Michael Vaughan.

"He should look back on it and be very proud how he has developed as a captain," said Moores. "The last three or four games we have played have been very tight and he has batted and bowled very well, which shows he can deliver his own skill and still be captain.

"Tactically he has shown he is very able, the way he has mixed bowlers, been inventive at times and stayed calm under pressure.

"He is learning very quickly about the options he has got and improving all the time."

Collingwood guided England home at a canter with an unbeaten 64, along Kevin Pietersen, who finished 71 not out, in what was a clinical performance at Lord's.

Earlier in the summer the hosts flunked in a winner-takes-all showdown against West Indies.

"We had two finals in many ways and we learned off West Indies by the freedom with which they played that final, they really went at it and I thought we did the same on Saturday," said Moores. "We had a clear plan against India and what was so promising was that we went out and delivered it in what was a pressure game."

All-rounder Flintoff provided another injury scare when he left the field after bowling a five-over spell.

His left ankle, operated on three times since early 2005, felt funny but he returned to finish with a three-wicket bag after having the joint re-strapped by physio Kirk Russell.

Flintoff will continue to turn out for his country as long as he does not experience serious discomfort - on the advice of the surgeon who examined him this week - but will perhaps have to get used to the ankle never being 100% right.

"He came through with not so much pain but a bit of instability still in the ankle," said Moores. "We were a bit worried so we had it checked out by the doctors.

"It hasn't swollen up which is a very good sign, it just felt a bit strange when he was bowling.

"We have to make sure we are not doing damage to Fred's ankle.

"While he is in that situation we can keep managing it, work with it and make sure it feels right to play with, which for Fred is quite important.

"As we saw this weekend, having Freddie in the team makes quite a big difference because a first-change bowler bowling 85-90 miles per hour has a big impact."

source - sportinglife.com
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