England still have belief

Blackpool Citizen: Graham Thorpe believes England have a 'puncher's chance' in Bangladesh Graham Thorpe believes England have a 'puncher's chance' in Bangladesh

Depleted England believe they can still surprise the Twenty20 world in Bangladesh, as long as they back themselves to play bold cricket.

Graham Thorpe, limited-overs batting coach on the short tour of West Indies which prefaces the ICC World Twenty20, insists England have a "puncher's chance" of regaining the title.

To do so, they may have to reprise the battling qualities shown by Joe Root - who discovered on Monday not only that he will miss the global tournament but that he batted on to a maiden one-day international century against the Windies last week with a thumb broken in eight places.

It was mere confirmation of what most anticipated when England announced Root will not make Bangladesh because of his injury.

More alarming was the extent of the break, suffered when he was hit on the hand in Antigua by Ravi Rampaul with just a single to his name.

He went on to make 107 in an England victory, and was still optimistic afterwards he might be able to take further part in the West Indies and the World Twenty20.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will not - and will be replaced in the sub-continent by Ian Bell.

After hearing he would not be travelling, Root tweeted: "Bitterly disappointed I'm unable to make the World Cup! Want to wish the boys the best of luck and have every confidence in the whole squad."

Without him, England must first put behind them a chastening 27-run defeat in the first of three Twenty20s against West Indies - a distinctly unpromising performance, particularly because England were undone by spin.

There are further injury worries for England, over captain Stuart Broad and his deputy Eoin Morgan - both struggling with knee trouble.

Thorpe is nonetheless still optimistic about their prospects - in the absence too, of course, of Kevin Pietersen after he was axed last month from all future plans.

"The simple fact is he's not here, and he's not going to be here," Thorpe said of Pietersen.

"We have what we have in the squad, and for me it's capable ... of surprising people in Bangladesh.

"But to do that, we must be bold.

"I would rather see us go down in Bangladesh having a real good go up front and attacking, so that's at the forefront of our minds.

"We actually want to win it, and that's what we'll have to do."

England failed to get out of the group stages when they tried to defend their title in Sri Lanka in 2012, Pietersen absent then too during his 'reintegration' phase.

Few rate their chances highly of performing significantly better this time.

But Thorpe added: "At the Twenty20 World Cup, we have a puncher's chance if we get things right.

"If we can get through that group, we've done very, very well. Then we have a puncher's chance in the knockout stages.

"We will only do that by being bold and upbeat about our performances, and not getting too down when we do get beat."

A dose of realism may not go amiss either - especially after West Indies' spinners took six England wickets for 46 in 10 overs on Sunday.

The tourists will be up against the same opponents, at the same venue, on Tuesday - a must-win fixture to avoid series defeat.

A long trip east, via London, will then await them before two warm-up matches and then the start of their campaign in Chittagong.

As for their opening Twenty20 defeat against the Windies, Thorpe acknowledges England perhaps did not assess conditions as well as they might.

"We knew there would be bounce - but yes I think we did (misread the pitch) in terms of the spin option.

"Overall, would it have made a huge difference?

"Possibly not. Those are the little issues we have to address ... so we will have to look at that at selection for the next game."

One more victory here at least - England beat the Windies in last week's ODI series - would be heartening.

But it is in Bangladesh that they will face the biggest challenge.

"I don't think we will ever say we dominate in the sub-continent," said Thorpe.

"It's about remaining upbeat ... we want the guys up top to be positive."

He believes England must balance learning lessons from defeat, and dwelling unnecessarily on it.

"It can happen in Twenty20, it can run away from you pretty quickly ... in Bangladesh, we all know the footwork and shot selection are going to be crucial."

To that end, England are likely to name at least one more spin option on Tuesday alongside James Tredwell.

For West Indies, key spinner Sunil Narine is expected to be fit despite hurting his knee in the field on Sunday.

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