|Monday, 26 November 2001|
ignore ICC row to focus on India test series
HYDERABAD, India, Nov 24 (Reuters) - England coach Duncan Fletcher says his team are not concerned about the current row over the sacking of match referee Mike Denness in South Africa and are fully focused on their upcoming tests against India.
"We have got nothing to do with it. We have got no control over it. Why should it worry us and concern us?" Fletcher told reporters on Saturday.
A major controversy is raging after International Cricket Council (ICC) referee Denness imposed a suspended one-match ban on top Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar for tampering with the ball in the second test against South Africa.
Denness, a former England captain, also penalised five other Indian players, including skipper Saurav Ganguly, for excessive appealing during the game.
But Fletcher said England, facing a three-test series against India starting in Mohali on December 3, were only concerned with their own preparations.
"We have just got to make sure we are ready to play the first test match and that we pick the right side," he said after his team's drawn three-day tour game against an Indian Board President's XI.
The tourists travel to the northern city of Jaipur for another three-day game starting on Tuesday ahead of the tests.
Having arrived in India with a depleted bowling attack, England's hopes of a good performance largely rest with their batting.
But they slumped to 163 for nine in their second innings in Hyderabad on a pitch where the ball did not come on to the bat.
"It was very difficult to score runs and they (the batsmen) just had to sit there and realise there is a fine balance between playing positive and being patient," Fletcher said.
"That is what they have got to work hard on," he added.
Fletcher said there were too many soft dismissals by the England batsmen on Saturday following an impressive performance in the morning by their bowlers.
"The bowlers didn't bowl too well yesterday," he said.
"They (the bowlers) have just got to realise they have got to concentrate off every ball they bowl."
All-rounder Andrew Flintoff has joined the squad after flying in from
Australia as back-up for Craig White, who has struggled to bowl at full
pace in the hot Indian conditions after recently recovering from back
Produced by Lake House