|PA Nixon, A Flintoff, DAG Fletcher, D Gough, AR Border, KP Pietersen
|Commonwealth Bank Series 2006/07
England's lack of cohesion was in the spotlight again Wednesday after wicketkeeper Paul Nixon took aim at captain Andrew Flintoff's claims about their fielding in Australia.
Nixon also contradicted coach Duncan Fletcher's assertion that the players had been training too hard, underlining the disarray in the England side during their calamitous tour Down Under. He said England had cost themselves valuable runs on Tuesday with fumbles and poor throws - even though Flintoff had said the side's fielding had "improved a lot." "The catching on the whole this tour has been slightly under par," Nixon said Wednesday, adding that some of the English players struggled with the bright conditions in Australia. "We've had a lot of fielding sessions, we've worked very hard on our fielding and gone through everything. But nothing is the same as the intensity of the game," he said. "There are a lot of young lads in the side that have been thrown into the cauldron. They need to learn from that, and we have to make sure we lift our standards every game." New Zealand all but sealed a berth in the triangular series finals with a comfortable 58-run win over England in the one-day international at the WACA Ground Tuesday. The English put on another awful display in the field, with two dropped catches and several boundaries coming as a result of fielding blunders. They also conceded a staggering 37 sundries, including 22 wides and three no-balls. Nixon rejected Fletcher's assessment that the side may have been training too hard. "I don't agree with that," he said. "If I am hitting the ball badly, I get in the nets. It doesn't just happen, I need to get my mindset right." In another sign of disarray just weeks out from the World Cup, the England management has been speaking to veteran seamer Darren Gough, just a week after he was omitted from their 30-man provisional squad for the tournament. Gough, who had been believed to be considering retirement in the wake of his omission, is currently in Australia playing in a beach cricket tournament with former greats of the game. But in a display of unity, Nixon defended star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who was criticised by former Australian captain Allan Border for being too keen to return home after suffering a cracked rib.
"It's a big call from Mr Border," Nixon said. "What more could Kevin do? He's got a broken rib and why aggravate that when you've got the World Cup coming up. Kevin has played well out here, he's stood up and been counted and really taken it to the Aussies," Nixon said. "Our world class player has been injured and that has cost us."