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ICC Champions Trophy
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September 13, 2002
1030 IST

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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Flower backs Zimbabwe despite underdog tag

Andy Flower has acknowledged Zimbabwe will go into their Champions Trophy pool games against India and England as underdogs.

But the former captain also believes that with conditions in their favour, Zimbabwe could upset the form-book.

Andy Flower "We are underdogs against both sides as per usual," he told Reuters on Thursday. "England are playing well at the moment and still have the basis of a good side despite their injuries and India are a formidable side and a really difficult proposition.

"But I still feel we are quite evenly matched, we've not got a terrible record against either team as we've beaten both of them quite often in the past and our guys are confident about taking them on."

Flower said Zimbabwe's bowling attack may surprise their opponents, especially if the pitches are slow and low, offering some assistance for the slower bowlers.

"These conditions should certainly suit us better than South Africa, Australia or England," he said. "We've got no-one of express pace, instead we've got a few medium-pacers then some spin from Grant Flower, Douglas Marillier and Ray Price.

"It's an attack suited to these conditions rather than quicker, bouncier pitches."

Flower believes left-arm spinner Price, a late call-up after fast bowler Henry Olonga broke down with a calf injury, may be Zimbabwe's trump-card.

"I think Ray might do alright," he said. "He bowled well in India on our last tour, he is a guy that has come on well and he can bowl quite tightly."


Flower's wicket will be the one both India and England will be after more than any other.

The left-handed wicketkeeper, Zimbabwe's leading run-scorer in tests and one-dayers, needs just 13 runs to become only the 21st player to reach 6000 one-day runs.

The mantle of being the side's best player might not sit comfortably with every top batsman, but Flower is happy to take whatever pressure it brings.

"I expect to do well, but the word pressure is an overused one," he said.

"If you let it distract you then you perform below your capacity because rather than doing well you're thinking about the pressure on you to perform."

Zimbabwe open their Champions Trophy campaign against India, who only arrived in Colombo from their three-month tour of England on Thursday night, on Saturday.


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