Assistant coach Paul Farbrace admitted it would be “horrendous” to lose their final World Cup game against Afghanistan, which was due to have got under way in the early hours of today in Sydney.
England have little to gain from a fixture that has almost been forgotten amid the recriminations that have stung them since their premature exit from the tournament was confirmed with a 15-run defeat to Bangladesh on Monday.
Farbrace conceded the mood among the squad has since been “pretty ordinary”, which was reflected in a lacklustre first training session at the SCG on Wednesday.
England were faced with a similar situation at last year’s World Twenty20, when they were bowled out for 88 and suffered an embarrassing defeat to Holland in their final group game, after they had already been knocked out of the competition.
After the fall-out of the past few days, it is a situation Farbrace is keen not to see repeated.
“If losing the game to Bangladesh was terrible, we couldn’t possibly imagine what it will be like if this goes against us,” he said. “That would be horrendous. Our job is to make sure we give ourselves the best chance, clear heads and play proper cricket.”
Farbrace was not a part of the England set-up when they suffered their Dutch defeat at the World Twenty20 – he was instead in charge of Sri Lanka as they went on to win the title.
Soon after the 47-year-old former Yorkshire Second XI coach was drafted in to work alongside Peter Moores, whose position as coach has come under increasing scrutiny during the World Cup.
Moores has been accused of an apparent over-reliance on statistics and, after the defeat to Bangladesh, drew criticism for suggesting he would need to “look at data”.
Farbrace believes any suggestion England are too busy crunching the numbers is incorrect and revealed his Sri Lanka team were more reliant on statistics.
“There has been a lot said about the stats and team meetings – with the Sri Lanka team we had more team meetings and we looked at stats more than the England team do. There’s no question about that.
“That’s what won us the final – fantastic statistics helping us to bowl in the right places for the last four overs and win that final. So I think that’s tough on Pete, but he accepts that.”