Former England pacer Alan Mullally will be following the fortunes of his one-time team from his house in Western Australia.
“England have a strong side, they bat deep and have good bowlers. They have players like Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Ben Stokes, who can really bat strong. It is going to be a cracker of a contest, I am sure,” Mullally told MyKhel.
Mullally, who played 19 Tests and 50 ODIs for England across mid 90s to early 2000s, is slightly concerned with the fitness of Mark Wood. “I hope Wood is fit and ready to play. Muscle stiffness…Holly Molly. Hope he gets up in time. Come on, this is a World Cup semifinal and you don’t get that chance often to play in a World Cup,” said Mullally.
But that does not mean Mullally is a lop-sided fan. He knows that India can offer strong challenge to England in the semifinal.
“I like this Indian side a lot. Remember, they have come to Australia a couple of years back and won a Test series. Figure that out, their main players were injured and they won the series with reserve players, and picked one or two guys from the net and won a series in Australia. Not many teams will do that with their first 11. How on earth!
“This team (India T20 side) is also very strong. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and that young left-arm pacer (Arshdeep Singh), all of them are very good. Hope Rohit is fine after getting hit on the hand the other day. A big player. What will we have today, I think a massive match fit for a World Cup semifinal. I think Pakistan won quite easily the other day in Sydney against New Zealand,” Mullally detailed.
As a former left-arm pacer Mullally knows a thing or two about bowling quick. What the bowlers should do here in Adelaide Oval?
“Ah! I think get that Yorkers out lads. Try to get your fielders up in the circle, fire in that Yorker at a yard or two quicker, make the batsmen play false shots. Geez! I can’t get my head around all these back of the length
“The other day that big Pakistan boy (Shaheen Shah Afridi) bowled a few good ones, Yorkers I mean, and that is the way about it. Get your full balls in, don’t give room to batters, cramp them,” said Mullally.
Mullally also has this India connection as he had made his Test debut against them in 1996 at Birmingham, the same series in which current coach Rahul Dravid and former captain Sourav Ganguly made their debut.
“Good memories. I had bagged some good wickets there, 5 in all, and England won that Test. I remember Sachin’s fine hundred in that Test, and Nasser (Hussain) too made a brilliant hundred. But it was a different time. I just hope India vs England match live up the billing of a World Cup semifinal,” said Mullally.