England are tantalisingly close to an “absolutely massive” achievement – this country’s first 50-over global tournament trophy.
After their nerve-racking ‘quarter-final’ over New Zealand in rainy Cardiff, the hosts are just two more wins away from rewriting national history by finally winning an International Cricket Council one-day international event. Almost 40 years have elapsed since England first tried to beat the world in ODI cricket – and 16 tournaments later, in what is likely to be the last Champions Trophy, they have rarely been nearer to breaking their duck.
“All the teams in this tournament are good and to beat New Zealand, who are a very tough side, was a very good result.” said England spinner James Tredwell. “We have as a good chance now (of winning this tournament) as any team in the next stage.”
The prize, that elusive first ODI global success, would be resonant among England supporters.
“That’s an absolutely massive thing,” said Tredwell.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead – to lifting that trophy, we hope – but equally, it’s something that’s in the back of your mind. The semi-final is going to be tough, but we’re two games away now from winning a major tournament. That’s how we’re looking at it. As a group of players, that’s a place we want to get to. But first and foremost, we have a big game coming up.”
Graeme Swann’s availability – a sore calf and stiff back have been the ailments which have so far curtailed his pivotal role over the past week – is in doubt for the remainder of the tournament.
England captain Alastair Cook made it clear on Sunday night that England will not be tempted into unnecessary risk, with such an able deputy at their disposal.
Tredwell, who replaced Swann against New Zealand, added: “I’m in the squad and I’m getting a game here and there. I don’t think I’ve let anyone down in the games I’ve played, so I hope that can continue.
“For my part it’s fingers crossed, isn’t it? But again Swanny’s been brilliant, hasn’t he, for a period of time. So if he’s fit, I’m sure he’ll come into the reckoning – as they say.”