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Cricket: Success 'would lift pressure on Fletcher'

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England captain Michael Vaughan believes a successful World Cup will release much of the pressure which has built up on head coach Duncan Fletcher since the Ashes defeat.
A 5-0 whitewash in the Test series resulted in Fletcher coming in for heavy criticism, with speculation increasing he would lose his job after the tournament in the Caribbean.
Those performances prompted the England and Wales Cricket Board to appoint an independent panel to conduct a review into the ill-fated tour.
The one-day Commonwealth Bank Series appeared to be heading the same way as the Test matches until, with the help of Vaughan’s brief return from injury, England conjured up a remarkable turnaround.
From supposed no-hopers, England beat Australia three times in succession to lift the trophy.

And Vaughan, who worked closely with Fletcher in masterminding victory in the 2005 Ashes series, is confident they have every chance of further success in the West Indies.
“A successful World Cup would relieve pressure on Duncan and a lot of players,” he said.
“Duncan is the head coach and he took a lot of criticism after the Ashes. The way the players responded in the one-day series proved they are right behind him.
“He is not doing anything different from two years ago when he took a lot of the credit for us winning the Ashes.
“You have to accept that when you lose an Ashes series heavily you have to take the criticism.
“That is what the players have done and that is what Duncan has done.
“I just hope over the next six to eight weeks we can have a good campaign and come home with something special in our hands.”
England’s chairman of selectors David Graveney waved the squad off from Gatwick Airport in confident mood on Friday morning – but he also insisted success in the West Indies would not lead to a whitewash of the Ashes review.
“I wouldn’t wish to gloss over what’s happened in the last couple of months and the reviews and whatever will make their findings,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.
“But it was the first time Australia have lost that (home triangular) tournament in 14 years.
“The England guys came back with smiles on their faces and they get on the plane with some confidence.”
England face warm-up matches in St Vincent against Bermuda, on Monday, and then Australia again before opening their World Cup campaign against New Zealand on March 16 in St Lucia.
England’s recent record at the World Cup is poor. They reached only the quarter-finals in 1996 and failed to qualify from the group stage at either of the last two tournaments.
The structure of this year’s competition makes the opening clash with New Zealand, who are in buoyant mood after beating Australia 3-0 in a recent one-day series, vital if England are to challenge for the trophy.
If England win and both teams qualify from the group, Vaughan’s men will carry forward two vital points into the Super Eight stage.
Vaughan said: “It is essential to get a decent start in any tournament. We are starting against New Zealand. Some would say we may want an easier start.
“But it is sometimes a good start to be up against a good team like that.
“New Zealand are a good team. They are very experienced and in the last couple of World Cups and ICC Trophies they have always been around the last four.
“With Stephen Fleming and the experienced guys in that team they will always be very difficult to beat.
“So you win that game and it gives you a huge amount of confidence to go on in the tournament.”

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