Botham fears for England
Former England great Ian Botham fears that Michael Vaughan's team could be in for a World Cup mauling at the hands of South Africa when the two sides meet here on Tuesday.
Botham was far from impressed by England labouring to a four-wicket win against Bangladesh on Wednesday chasing just 144 and he believes confidence is low in the squad.
"There is a lack of confidence at the moment," Botham said.
"There are two or three players playing well and there are a few that are scratching around and they are looking ordinary at the moment. England today, we seem to take one step forward and three steps back in one-day cricket. I think we were a better side two years ago, or certainly a year ago, than we are now, and I don't understand why because there are better players in that side now. It has to be a confidence thing and they need to sort it out because if they go and perform like that, like startled rabbits, against South Africa, they will get crushed," he said.
Both England and South Africa are in the running for a semi-final place but Graeme Smith's side are two points better off and could be four in front by the time they face England as they take on New Zealand in Grenada on Saturday.
Botham also feels that England made very little of a fast Kensington Oval pitch that suited them rather than Bangladesh. "I would have thought this was the perfect wicket for them to play Bangladesh. It was a good cricket wicket. It swung a bit early on, there was very little seam movement and what you put in as a quick bowler, you got out."
"If you banged it in and put it in the right areas, you caused batsmen problems with the bounce. But as soon as these little left armers come on, we don't seem to know what to do. We don't seem to have a game plan. We either resort to the slog sweep or the sweep. What is wrong with down the ground? England have got to have a game plan. The top three contribute to a lack of confidence in the middle order because they continuously feel they are under the rack," he added.