LITESPORT ENGLAND head coach Andy Flower has told his battered troops to toughen up and forget about Kevin Pietersen coming to their rescue. Straight from their 6-1 thrashing by Aus- tralia, England landed in South Africa this morning ahead of the Champions Trophy whichprecedesagruellingTestandODI series against, pound-for-pound, the best side in the world. Pietersen hasnt played any cricket since he hobbled away from the victory scenes at Lords with an Achilles strain, following the second Ashes Test of the summer. He was widely expected to have recovered in time for the first ODI against South Africa on 20 November, and cer- tainly by the opening Test in Centurion on 16 December. Pietersen will be given every chance to prove his fitness with the ECB this week deciding to delay the naming of the touring party until after the Champions Trophy, although Flower (below) admitted Pietersens name may not be on that list. Yesthatspossible.Werestilltakingthat daybyday.Werestillnotsurewhetherhes going to be fit or not, Flower revealed. That latest bulletin on Pietersens fitnessishardlylikelytoliftthespirits of ailingskipperAndrewStrauss,who yesterday was desperately trying to put a positive spin on Englands Champions Trophy chances. The raw statistics, however, point to another abject failure while he is unable to call on the services of the South African- born star. England have scored just three centuries in their last 25 ODIs,andPietersenwasrespon- sible for two of them -- Strauss the other. AndinthelatestODIrankingsKP is the only England batsman to fig- ure in the top 20, while fellow crock Andrew Flintoff was the only Eng- lish presence in a list of the top 20 36 Tuesday, 22 September 2009 London Lite Fergusons promising Australian supremacy CALLUM FERGUSON is hoping to build on his impressive performances against England when Australias Champions Trophy campaign gets under way against West Indies in Johannesburg on Saturday. The 24-year-old proved himself more than capable of holding down a permanent spot in Australias middle order, with his 192 runs during the 6-1 one-day series mauling coming at an average of 64 and a blistering strike rate of 93.20. Australia head into the Champions Trophy lying third in the rankings, after their loss to England in the seventh ODI at Durham on Sunday ended a brief three-day return to the top. But Ferguson said: I cant wait to get over there and Im no different to everyone else in the dressing room. Theyre fired up and ready to go. We feel like were playing good cricket and were in a good frame of mind going into it. I think India are going to be a huge challenge, not having played them before, thats something Im looking forward to. Weve been playing in England and the conditions may be quite similar in South Africa at this time of year. GROUP A AUSTRALIA WORLD RANKING: 3 PAKISTAN WORLD RANKING: 4 INDIA WORLD RANKING: 2 WEST INDIES WORLD RANKING: 8 GROUP B ENGLAND WORLD RANKING: 6 SOUTH AFRICA WORLD RANKING: 1 SRI LANKA WORLD RANKING: 5 NEW ZEALAND WORLD RANKING: 7 Top two teams into semis on 2/3 October. Final to be played on 5 October CHAMPIONS TROPHY FIXTURES Today: South Africa vs Sri Lanka SuperSport Park, Centurion Tomorrow: Pakistan vs West Indies New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg Thursday: South Africa vs New Zealand SuperSport Park, Centurion Friday: Sri Lanka vs England New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg Saturday: West Indies vs Australia New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg India vs Pakistan SuperSport Park, Centurion Sunday: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa vs England SuperSport Park, Centurion 28 Sep: Australia vs India SuperSport Park, Centurion 29 Sep: England vs New Zealand New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 30 Sep: Australia vs Pakistan SuperSport Park, Centurion India vs West Indies New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg All games live on Sky Sports Short and to the point: Graeme Smith KUMAR SANGAKKARA and Graeme Smith will start the battle for the Champions Trophy at Centurion this afternoon knowing this event could decide the future of 50-over cricket. With Twenty20 crash-bang-wallop now a lucrative alternative to the classic One-Day International format, South African captain Smith concedes: Ultimately it will be the cricket, how it is played, that will define whether this is a success or not. The good point is that it is short, to the point and can capture the imagination of fans around the world. Thats the challenge ODIs have, with all the talk about moving domestic formats to 40 overs and all. This is a crucial period for the ODI game and how this competition is a success on the field is more important than anything else. The ICC believes that the shorter, sharper format -- only eight teams, 15 matches and two venues -- will keep the fans interested. Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara said: In the 2007 World Cup the cricket was great, but lots of people thought it was way too long, too many teams. The true test of ODI is in big tournaments like this, the appeal to fans and players and how much money TV networks make from it. South Africa is a wonderful place to play and I think it will be a good tournament. STH AFRICA V SRI LANKA GROUP B, SKY SPORTS 1 FROM 1.30PM Dont wait for Kevin to come in and save your skins Missing link: Andy Flower has admitted for the first time that star batsman Kevin Pietersen may miss the tour of South Africa BY JAMES GOLDMAN BATSMEN 1. MS DHONI (IND) 825PTS 2. YUVRAJ SINGH (IND) 778 3. S CHANDERPAUL (WI) 759 4. CHRIS GAYLE (WI) 756 5. AB DE VILLIERS (SA) 752 6.MIKE HUSSEY (AUS) 749 7. S TENDULKAR (IND) 737 8. GRAEME SMITH (SA) 731 9. V SEHWAG (IND) 721 10. H GIBBS (SA) 712 16. K PIETERSEN (ENG) 665 BOWLERS 1. N KULASEKARA (SL) 731 2. DANIEL VETTORI (NZ) 694 3. S AL HASAN (BAN) 686 4. K MILLS (NZ) 685 5. M MURALITHARAN (SL) 670 6. N BRACKEN (AUS) 665 7. SHANE BOND (NZ) 656 8. J BOTHA (SA) 655 9. M JOHNSON (AUS) 645 = M MORTAZA (BAN) 645 15. A FLINTOFF (ENG) 631 ODI RANKINGS bowlers in limited overs cricket. Englands miserable post-Ashes displays against the old enemy were blighted by, amongst other things, appalling shot selection and an ina- bility to turn starts into match-winning knocks. Straussscoresof 63inthethirdandfourth games proved to be their highest. Flower admitted his sides woes with the bat had started to affect confidence as the series wore on, but he hopes a change of scenery,andopposition,inSouthAfricamay help turn their fortunes around. Our batting is short of confidence, there isnodoubt,hesaid.Iwouldsaythatthere have been a number of soft dismissals throughouttheseriesagainstAustraliaand those are more of a concern. I think its a lack of confidence. I think if you do the simple things very well you will score runs in one-day cricket. Theonlywayyoucandosomethingabout thatisfromsolidpracticeandresultsmean- ing runs and that is up to the guys in the middle. Going out to South Africa will give us a new start. There is not a lot of time in between to do anything significantly differ- ent, but yes, a change of scenery will be refreshing. 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