England ready for the spin

Congleton Guardian: Alex Hales and his England team-mates have been working hard in the nets Alex Hales and his England team-mates have been working hard in the nets

England have been preparing for trial by spin in Bangladesh by netting with specially made 'half-bats'.

The World Twenty20 is likely to be won and lost by how sides play the turning ball, and that has been a part of the game England have struggled with for some time.

A lack of so-called 'mystery' spinners in county cricket and domestic pitches that traditionally favour seam bowlers are contributory factors, leaving limited-overs batting coach Graham Thorpe to seek less conventional methods to help his charges.

In the Caribbean earlier this month, Thorpe had England practising with blades shorn of their natural edges to encourage precision and timing against spin bowling.

They lost the T20 series in West Indies 2-1 last week but have another chance to see off the same opponents - and the world's leading limited-overs tweaker Sunil Narine - in a warm-up match in Fatullah.

Opener Alex Hales explained his side's recent approach in the nets.

"The practice facilities in the West Indies were spinning and Graham had the thought of bringing out half-bats - skinny bats - to practise with, encouraging us to use our feet up and down the wicket," he said.

"I think that is going to be our mindset about playing spin this year, have a clear idea of your best options and going with it 100 per cent. That is how the best batsmen go about it.

"The logic is that you have to be very quick on your feet. It is about precision in being where you want to be to hit the ball, and attention to detail.

"I think the area we need to work on, though, is footwork, getting up and down the pitch and the half-bat I think is good practice."

Jos Buttler, England's explosive and innovative wicketkeeper-batsman, added: "It's just another training method to improve against spin, with only half of the face you have to be a little bit more precise.

"That is something we did in the West Indies and some players do it anyway by themselves. I think it is a good method and I think we will do it again over the next few days and weeks. It is a little bit annoying sometimes when you nick one but we all have those bats."

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