Farbrace insists England can beat Pakistan

England have high hopes for left-armer Reece Topley after his performance in the first ODI. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
England have high hopes for left-armer Reece Topley after his performance in the first ODI. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
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England must respond with an immediate victory against Pakistan to stay in with a chance of winning the one-day international series and assistant coach Paul Farbrace is confident they are capable of doing so.

There was little to cheer the tourists in a mundane descent to defeat by six wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday, when they gave themselves little chance after two batting collapses.

But Farbrace anticipates a much better display on their return to the same venue on Friday when, he hopes, England will be able to demonstrate they have learned quickly from their mistakes.

England are 1-0 down with three to play, so if they do not crack that code in their next match this will be a series they can only draw at best.

After one debrief in defeat, time is therefore short to bounce back but Farbrace expects Eoin Morgan’s men to confirm his high opinion of them.

“We think we have the ability and the players in our team to win this series,” he said.

“We’re not here to develop and learn and go away and say ‘well, we didn’t win the series, but we’re learning’.

“That’s not what we want. We want to win – and it’s really important we do.”

Reece Topley, in just his second ODI, was alone as an individual success in a match which saw a series of costly lapses with bat and then – to a lesser degree – ball.

Farbrace added: “It’s about winning the game… ‘what do we have to do, did we learn quickly enough about the surface the other day, did we bowl the right way on that surface, did we play the right shots on that surface?’.

“The answer probably would be no.

“I think we waited a little bit too long to bowl our slower balls and cutters and certainly some of our shots were not ones you want to be seen repeated on Friday, because if they are we’ll get the same thing.

“Last night’s conversation, which wasn’t an inquest, was ‘what have we learned, what do we need to do better and how can we make sure we win the next game?’”

That is how England’s new management intend to marry short and long-term progress.

“We have a group that need to learn quickly,” said Farbrace.

“But we’ve said many times it’s not about developing – we can’t keep talking about that – it’s about winning.

“That’s the bottom line.

“It’s up to the guys here to show they deserve to be in the side, for the long term, take the opportunities but win at the same time.”

England’s spinners again struggled in the first ODI, as they had in their Test series defeat against the same opponents.

Then, yesterday, an unusually uncertain forecast for this desert country was borne out when morning cloud cover replaced the sunshine previously unbroken throughout England’s tour.

Farbrace admits there is a temptation to consider bolstering the seam attack, conceding “that’s something you could look at”.

But, on a pitch which was sluggish and dusty at the outset and is about to be used for the 
second time in three days, even after his figures of 9-0-60-0, it is not an obvious time to leave out leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

One bowler sure to be retained is 21-year-old left-armer Topley, of whom England clearly have high hopes.

“Nobody moves forward at the same pace, but Topley is one who is learning very quickly,” said Farbrace.

“He impressed everybody right from when he came into the New Zealand series as a net bowler at Trent Bridge.

“He showed last night, despite losing his run-up a couple of times, he got the ball up and swung it and took wickets.

“He’s got the guts to bowl slower balls early on.

“He’s got the skills, can bowl over and round the wicket, out of the back of the hand, cutters – and that’s very unique to see a young bloke come in and actually have a very clear plan of how he wants to bowl. That’s brilliant.”

Pakistan, meanwhile, have dropped Umar Akmal from their Twenty20 squad and stripped Saeed Ajmal of his central contract, both on disciplinary grounds.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has acted over controversies surrounding Ajmal and Akmal’s off-the-pitch behaviour.

Akmal was not included in a 16-man squad for the three Twenty20 internationals against England later this month as the PCB is investigating reports he may have brought the governing body into disrepute by his attendance at a “dance party” in Hyderabad.

Ajmal, a 38-year-old off-spinner, criticised the International Cricket Council’s increasingly strict policy on testing suspect bowling actions after he himself had to remodel his action after being tested last September.