Trevor Bayliss insists England have the capacity to thrive -- not just survive -- against West Indies’ rapid fast bowlers when the two lock horns on Friday.
Pace is the talk of the town ahead of the meeting at the Hampshire Bowl, with the Caribbean side boasting four players who can top 90mph. Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell are in particularly good form, the former terrorising Pakistan in their opening World Cup game, and the latter bamboozling South Africa in the washed-out contest on Monday.
England have a pair of in-form quicks of their own in Jofra Archer and Mark Wood and the sides split their recent ODI series – drawing 2-2 in the Caribbean.
“We can handle anything that is thrown at us,” he said. “I have not seen too many with express pace here just yet but we have a couple of good ones too so I expect it to be tit for tat. “We will have to play at our best to come away with a win. In the Caribbean, we were a little bit up and down. They bowled fast but then Mark Wood made a few of their guys jump up and down.
“The wicket here is reasonably flat and it has been in the past. There have been a few more wickets in the World Cup then there has been in the last few years so I expect the fast bowlers are rubbing their hands together.”
All-rounder Moeen Ali is pushing for a recall and Bayliss has often deployed two spinners at the Hampshire Bowl in the past, increasing the prospect that the off-spinner will come in and join Adil Rashid.
Spin has accounted for just six of the 28 wickets England have taken so far, with Moeen left out against Bangladesh and Rashid suffering a shoulder injury in the build-up to the tournament, but Bayliss is not yet concerned.
“Early in the tournament, or prior to it, he [Rashid] had a niggle in the shoulder but he has got over that and in the last couple of weeks he has not had a problem,” he added.
“What he needs is more bowling, whether that is in the nets or in the games. I don’t think the wickets have necessarily been an advantage for the spinners yet.
“As we go through the tournament, when it might be drier and drier wickets I expect he will come into his own.”